Vice Opening Depth

  • Creator
  • #123900

    Hi everyone

    I ordered a vice from eBay, had a terrible experience because it had not arrived even after three weeks.

    Anyway, it was an 8″ vice that opened to 8″ also. After purchasing that I found another vice on Amazon which is also 8″ wide but opens to about 6″. It is almost the same price and it weighs 10kg as compared to the other one weighing about 4kg which can only be good when talking about vices.

    The only thing putting me off getting the heavier one is that it opens less far. I’ve not had a vice before so I don’t really know how much I need. The wooden jaws would consume some of the space also.

    What distance do your vices open to? Do you think 6″ is big enough for most tasks?

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #123902
    Dave Riendeau


    My vice opens to 13 inches and I’ve found it to be okay, Ive been thinking of getting a larger one however.




    Hmm…probably best to reorder the lighter vice that opens to 8 inches then. 6 inches before wooden jaws is probably way too small.

    Gareth Martin


    I believe weight=strength when it comes to simple technology like a vice. The 4kg is probably a very poor specimen. If cost isn’t too great an issue I’d also go for a 9″ as well.

    Dave Riendeau


    Have a look at these.,41659

    If cost is a factor, save your pennies a while longer.

    There are other good quality vices out there but I don’t have any experience with them. Maybe others will chime in. I have the medium but would recommend the large.




    I know that Paul recommends the old Record vices if you can get them. My vice which Iurchased last year is fro Axminster, is 9in wide and opens to 10in. I am very happy with it. They are reduced at the moment. I can’t weigh it but it is very heavy and I suspect that 4kg would be rather lightweight.




    like @dave I can recommend the czech York vises (Lee Valley).
    The big one weighs 18 kilos and has a capacity of 15 1/2 inches.
    All three are made to the same quality standard and even the small one uses the same 24 mill acme screw.
    The main differences exist in jaw width (10 1/2 > 9 > 7 inches) and opening capacity 15 1/2 > 13 1/2 > 8 1/4 inches).

    Good Vises if you don’t want to spend time to look for an old one.

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.



    I don’t have that much money to spend on a vice. £30 at most.

    There is one which looks good, it is an Axminster brand vice, 175mm wide and 200mm jaw opening. Can’t see a figure for the weight but it looks fairly hefty in the picture.



    My experience of cheap vices has not been good. They don’t tend to grip well, and they break easily. I got one for $40 at a local box store, and after a short while, the front jaw completely snapped. I could ofcourse have had it replaced, but that seems like a waste of energy.

    Save your penies for a real vice. In the mean time, there are alternatives for workholding. Clamps work quite well, although they can be a little fiddly. Another cheap alternative is to buy a single screw vice like this one, and make a leg vise with it. But don’t waste your hard earned money on a dinky vice look-a-like, it’s not worth it.

    Joe Kaiser


    I have to agree on the cheap vices. I got my first 6″ vice from Home Depot for 30 dollars. It has caused nothing but headaches (Literally and figuratively) for me Let me explain.

    * The Racks like there is no tomorrow. I have learned to work around it, but it still causes problems.
    * The vice isn’t large enough. You would think 6″ would be enough, but it isn’t. Also, in my case it is only 3″ deep.
    * This is hard to explain without showing you, but it closes off square from bottom to top. What I mean is the bottom part of the jaw will grip first (by about 1/16) and tighten against the wood before the rest of the jaw. Actually, having something in there means the top 2/3 of the jaws never even come in contact with the wood. This causes the vice to not get a strong grip on anything which leads to my next point….
    *They can be dangerous! I Had a 18 inch long 2×1/2 scrap in there I was planing. Because the vice doesn’t grip well, the board came loose, the side I was planing on went down, the opposite side came up and smacked me right in the chin. It looked like I hd gotten into a fist fight.

    I understand what it can be like to not have the money to spend on an expensive vice, but do consider you other options first. Keep an eye on this Eclipse 7″ quick release vice It is out of stock, but only 75$. Maybe you can scape together a bit more money in the coming months? I bought the 10″ version last month. It is a beast of a vice and makes all the difference

    Seattle, WA



    I found that vertical depth is also important along with the amount of horizontal opening.

    I made my bench from Home Depot 2 x 4s, and it’s 3″ thick after knocking off the rounded edges and flattening. (I used Paul’s designs with my own modifications.)

    I got what seems so far to be a good 9″ vice from Rockler, but I paid no attention to an important specification: it is designed for benches up to 2 1/4″ thick. To mount it I had to put a dado under the bench top. My bench has a center well, and I had to make a dado in the well board as well. Paul showed us how to do this in his videos. I chose not to anchor in my well board so I could remove it for using clamps, and that has worked well. The vice also has vertical holes for bolts or screws only 1 1/2″ in from the rear bench face (as well as two more about 6″ in). This is an issue because the 2 x 12 skirt is in the way. I did not use these holes but did use 4″ horizontal #14 screws through the rear face of the vice, and the vice is solid so far. My plan B is to drill down from the top and plug the holes when the bolts are installed–if the vice ever becomes loose.

    My two lessons:
    1. Pay close attention to the specs when you acquire a vice.

    2. There is more than one way to skin a cat (as Appalachian banjo makers are wont to say).

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