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Pete W

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The, ahem, economical workbench I bought these many years ago does OK, especially since I wedged it up against the wall and loaded the shelf with a ton of hardwood offcuts (eventual box-making, for the use of).

The vises, on the other hand, are junk. They are roughly (very, very roughly) similar to this Veritas one:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx ... 41661&ap=1

The end vise isn't so bad, but the face vise is appaling - the front jaw won't square up to the bench edge, either open or closed, and it racks further out of square in all axes when you try to clamp anything.

My inclination is to remove it, burn it, and jump up and down on its grave. Questions then:

1. Is there any point in attempting to fix this, and if so, how?

2. Any good pointers to books or websites with instructions/guidelines on fitting a new vice? I'm pretty sure I want a steel-jawed vise with some sort of automatic/quick-release feature, very possibly this one:
http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp? ... 41&recno=6

All thoughts welcome.
 

ydb1md

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If you don't want to buy a new vise, you can always use a clamping block http://www.lie-nielsen.com/images/stopblock.jpg to prevent the vise from racking when you clamp something.

Alternately, (my plan) you could get one of these http://www.tools-for-woodworking.com/in ... rodID=3056 , drill a hole in your vise face, thread a hole, thread a large 1" dowel and use it as an adjustable clamping block. I've always liked using clamping blocks, but it's a pain when whatever being clamped is an odd size so you have to go hunting around the shop for an appropriately sized spacer.

If I are buying a new vise (I just bought the larger of the two Lee Valley vises in your picture), why go with a metal vise?
 

Alf

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ydb1md":1drbf0kl said:
I've always liked using clamping blocks, but it's a pain when whatever being clamped is an odd size so you have to go hunting around the shop for an appropriately sized spacer.
From a recent FWW tip:



I've found it to be a pretty good solution, fwiw.

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Pete... if you're looking for reference material, The Workbench Book by Scott Landis is a worthwhile read; just might trigger a few more upgrades than the vice though.. ;)
 

Pete W

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Cheers, Mike - I'll check out Mr Landis's views on vices.

Alf & YB1, thanks for the suggestions, but I don't think I've managed to convey just how bad this vise is. I know about the racking across the face of the vise and using spare stock to keep it in line, but this thing is as bad vertically. In other words, when you clamp something securely at the bottom of the vise, there's a gap of several millimetres on either side of the board at the top.

The prompt for this rant was my attempt to handcut tenons on some short boards this afternoon. There was no way I could get the stock to sit still in the vise, no matter how tightly I wound it up.

With nothing in the vise, it doesn't sit square to the face of the bench and there's a little slop and play in all axes. Which is why I think replacing it might be the simpler option.

As for the choice of metal over wood, that's one of the things I was kind of seeking advice on. My thoughts are largely that a wooden vise will have to fit through the face of the bench where the existing mounting holes are. My (limited) understanding of metal vises is that a spacer block is fixed to the underside of the bench and the vise fitted to that. The latter seems simpler and more secure unless a new wooden vice would exactly fit the existing holes. Or is my thinking muddled here :? :)
 

Chris Knight

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Pete,

Tony's experience[/url]

shows that metal vices are not necessarily perfect.

As to fixing, there is not a lot of difference between the metal and the wood. Both screw to the underside of the top with or without spacer blocks, depending on the thickness of your top and the height of the jaws. Wooden vices(ie those on a simple metal screw) are often arranged so that the rear jaw is inset into the edge of the top as to be flush which has advantages when edge jointing boards that can then be clamped to the bench top along their length.

Metal vices can be arranged the same way if you wish. Either style of vice will need wooden jaws making for them.

Your present vice sounds bad and IIWY I would replace it. A good wooden vice (on a simple screw) or a good full metal vice should be miles better than what you have.
 

Alf

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Sorry, Pete, went off on a bit of a tangent there. I wasn't really thinking that was the answer to your problem. My Dad has similar issues with his front vice; one day (hah) we might get round to fitting the metal vice I happen to have about the place. If the hardware on the wooden one was a bit better, I might try fixing it - maybe with a support block like this to stop the front sagging. I found lining the jaws (in our case, with the sides of an old hot water bottle, but leather is more traditional) helped a bit too.

Cheers, Alf
 

aldel

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Pete,

I currently use one of Axminsters "automatic" vices, and whilst solidly built and with a very deep capacity, I can honestly say that I would never buy another one. Turning the handle anti clockwise releases the grip but does not open the jaws. You have to manually pull the jaws open which sometimes is a real pain (literally) for me. A vise with a quick release lever however does just that, allowing you to slide the jaws in and out but will also allow you to actually wind the jaws open.

Just my preference but something to be considered.

Regards, Aldel
 

Keith Smith

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I have a Record quick release vice and I wouldn't get one again. The release works well but it doesn't always re-engage properly and so when I come to tighten it it suddenly slips back into the previous thread releasing the tension. Tried cleaning/lubricating to no avail.

Keith
 

Pete W

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Hmmm, I had no idea vices were such a troublesome category of tool.

At the woodworking class I took last year, the shop benches were all fitted with trigger-operated quick-release metal vices with wooden liners on the jaws. These all seemed to work well but of course I didn't register the make; I assume they were old Records.

Tony's experience (thanks for the pointer, Chris) is one I'll bear in mind.

I already had my own doubts about the automatic release feature on some vices, so the trigger-operated models appeal more. I'll keep you posted on my experiences going forward.
 

DaveL

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Pete,

Sneak of down the local tip. :shock:

If you look at the pictures of mybench you will see that I have not one but two record vices.

I bid for one on Ebay, left it to it own devices and went off to the local tip with a car full off rubbish, on chucking an old monitor in the metal bin as instructed I saw a record vice, still bolted to a board off the front of a bench. Much to my surprise I was helped by a member of the site staff to retrieve it from the bin and it went straight in the back of the car. :D

I drove home slowly, wondering how I was going to get a 6' board with vice attached into the shop with out getting in to trouble with the LOML? :-k
As I turned in to our road, she was driving out to the local shop, yes yes yes!!! \:D/ If I had made a plan this would have been it. :tongue9:

By the time I had it in to the shop and checked Ebay, LOML was back and I owned two record vices. :whistle:
 

Pete W

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Good score, Dave. Nice bench, too :).

Looks like you made good use of the spare vise =D>
 

Pete W

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Nice tip, BB. Not sure when I'll find the time to be that organized but I'll keep it mind :).
 

Pete W

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Okay - now the fun starts :).

I've taken delivery of an Axminster 9-inch quick-release metal vice. Looks well-made and weighs a ton - which brings us to the question: how to support it while installing it?

The obvious solution is to dismantle the bench so I can get the benchtop upside down and install it from there, but I'm sure a recent Axminster magazine (Review) had a feature on just this subject recently and outlined a method of installing to an assembled bench. Naturally, I can no longer lay my hands on my copy.

Anyone have a copy they no longer want? Anyone able to scan and e-mail a copy they do want? I'm sure Review articles used to be on the Axminster website but I've searched to no avail... unless someone knows different?
 

Alf

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Heck, just what I was going to say. But I don't recall ever seeing that tip, so it must be somewhere else too? Anyway BB, charging? SuperLinkMan shouldn't charge. :shock: It's all for Truth, Justice and The Neanderthal Way. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

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