• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Do you really need a vice on a bench?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Tris

What am I doing here?
Joined
28 Nov 2018
Messages
279
Reaction score
99
Location
Moreton in marsh
Hi all,
I am trying to do some 'proper' woodworking this year and have got an old Emir school woodwork bench. Now that all the 60+ veneer pins that some bored 'erbert thought it'd be fun to tap in are out I can start to get it set up.
The planing stop has been replaced, with a new bolt and washer. There is a cut out for a bench vice but as funds are limited and all decent second hand ones are 50 miles or so away it set me wondering if I really need a bench vice at all.
If I drill a series of holes in line with the planing stop and another parallel line perhaps 6 inches away, maybe another line along the apron, is the anything a vice would do that I couldn't achieve with wooden holdfasts and bench dogs?
Look forward to your thoughts.
Regards
Tris
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
3,105
Reaction score
306
Location
North West
you don't need one but it'll save a lot of messing about, I'd say get one, they are a once only purchase.
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,177
Reaction score
682
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Yes, you need one. It's just extremism and masochism to try to get by without one. In the same way that you can run marathons with bare feet but if a newcomer asks if you need running shoes to get into running the answer is unequivocally "yes, you do".
 

Tris

What am I doing here?
Joined
28 Nov 2018
Messages
279
Reaction score
99
Location
Moreton in marsh
MikeG.":3nz1h6b7 said:
Yes, you need one. It's just extremism and masochism to try to get by without one. In the same way that you can run marathons with bare feet but if a newcomer asks if you need running shoes to get into running the answer is unequivocally "yes, you do".
That's an extreme position Mike, especially as it was your wooden holdfast that inspired the thinking :lol:
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,801
Reaction score
99
Location
Suffolk
Well, if you don't have the funds, you don't have a choice., you're going to have to research the ideas mentioned above.

When you do have the funds, and if you do end up getting a vice (definately recommended), you'll be able to answer your own question, as you'll know what has become easier :)

Vices don't solve all work holding problems, but they do solve most of them. So even if you have a vice, you should still be aware of alternative holding techniques you might need one day.
 

deema

Established Member
Joined
14 Oct 2011
Messages
2,324
Reaction score
111
Location
chester
If you add a French cleat to the bench and the apron is flat, you don’t need a vice. A Nicholson bench didn’t typically have any vices and was and still is a very practical and useful arrangement.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,501
Reaction score
706
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Vice is handy, no doubt. But if I had to go without a woodworking vice or an engineering vice, I would keep the engineering vice (really big Record in my case). There is no other sensible way of holding awkward bits of metal for fettling.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
20,567
Reaction score
1,156
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
One of my Record metal vices is mounted to a board with a batten under it so it fits into the wood vice (a 53e) with its fixed jaw just outboard of the bench so it can hold angles, bars etc. upright. The other, larger one (somewhere else), is on a swivel base that again is mounted so it can hold stuff upright next to my pillar drill which is mounted sideways so it can be swung out over the vice.
We can argue forever about what is necessary - an engineer's vice isn't a huge amout of use if someone never touches metalwork. Ultimately we buy things that either do jobs easier or better - we can talk forever about how to manage without a vice, but they don't half make life easier.
 

FatmanG

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2019
Messages
316
Reaction score
22
Location
Leeds
I'm trying to build a bench at the moment without a vice and using clamps to cut mortice joints and although I am a proper woodworking novice I would say with absolute certainty that a vice is essential. Only superseded in importance by the bench itself.if you want to produce quality work.
Fatman
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
20,567
Reaction score
1,156
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Very much what I said - you CAN do all sorts of things. I built the base of mine, properly morticed etc. on the base my lathe is now on with only two sash cramps, two G cramps, no mortice gauge or anything that fancy ...... from a wheelchair. There are far easier ways of working, though, which is why we buy stuff. :D
 

ED65

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2015
Messages
3,593
Reaction score
1
Tris":1qvttxeo said:
The planing stop has been replaced, with a new bolt and washer. There is a cut out for a bench vice but as funds are limited and all decent second hand ones are 50 miles or so away...
Are you by any chance looking on eBay only? If so well worth checking Gumtree and other peer-to-peer sites, including Facebook's Marketplace if you're on Facebook already.

If the prospect of a vice is just a little in the future it's absolutely doable to work away without one for some months until a good, inexpensive, one comes along. Old woodworking vices are abundant in the UK to say the least, and they generally are being sold for much less than they're truly worth (I'm thinking car boots and Gumtree most especially). So with a bit of patience most there can acquire a quality vintage vice for under 50 quid and sometimes much less within the first year of trying. Only yesterday I saw two new listings for Woden vices, both QR and one a very early model, which were each only 30 quid.
 

ED65

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2015
Messages
3,593
Reaction score
1
FatmanG":2zoyqfmi said:
I'm trying to build a bench at the moment without a vice and using clamps to cut mortice joints and although I am a proper woodworking novice I would say with absolute certainty that a vice is essential. Only superseded in importance by the bench itself.if you want to produce quality work.
Neat introduction to a point I wanted to include: it's worth bearing in mind that in other woodworking traditions, such as in Asia, they don't have a vice proper... or even a bench to mount it to!

For those of us who do use a bench or a convenient stand-in, there's no denying how handy a vice is – to the point where once you do have one you might well wonder how you ever got along without it! But you can get along without any vice, well enough to do work of almost any type or level, and the creative problem solving that you occasionally will have to do can stand you in good stead for oddball workholding situations the future.
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,177
Reaction score
682
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
ED65":jsmnyarp said:
..........Are you by any chance looking on eBay only? If so well worth checking Gumtree and other peer-to-peer sites, including Facebook's Marketplace if you're on Facebook already...... Old woodworking vices are abundant in the UK to say the least, and they generally are being sold for much less than they're truly worth.......
It's worth looking at old benches, too, as a source for vices. Benches can sell for well under the value of the vice attached to them, and even if the bench itself produces nothing but scrap wood, you get a vice for peanuts.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
20,567
Reaction score
1,156
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Yes. I bought a huge 13' solid beech bench, badly abused and full of worm for £30. No one wanted to move it. Two weeks firewood. Oh, and on it was a pair of 53e's. :D
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
492
Location
Bristol
I bought my very good Record 52 1/2 on eBay for £50 on a collection only listing. The vice was the only item in the heading and the thumbnail photo.

Only if you clicked into the listing and read the rest of it would you have seen that it also came with a toolbox and contents!

I think I was the only bidder. The box contained dozens of good old chisels, gouges, wooden planes, saws and other bits and pieces.
It was my introduction to old woodworking tools and the gateway drug leading to many more than will fit into the box!
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,801
Reaction score
99
Location
Suffolk
On a side note though, how clever is that scissor vice thing in that woodwright video?
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
572
Location
Pembrokeshire
AndyT":2lfqyd3z said:
It was my introduction to old woodworking tools and the gateway drug leading to many more than will fit into the box!
In that case, you're the heroin addict of the woodworking world! :lol:

In a good way :wink:.

Actually, I can't say anything when I've got 30+ books that pertain solely to old-world wood machining can I? 8-[
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
492
Location
Bristol
transatlantic":3eordqdn said:
On a side note though, how clever is that scissor vice thing in that woodwright video?
Indeed! If you can get round the problem of holding and shaping it - as demonstrated - and decide what size to make.
It's one of those things I have never got round to though. If I do need to hold a thin board on edge, on top of the bench, I already have several options.

I have a bit of plywood with a triangle cut out and a wedge to go in the hole:



Or I could hold it steady with a handscrew and use the bench stop:



Or I could just hold it in the vice... :)
 
Top