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Help - Which Bench Vice?

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Neomorph

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Here is my second noob query here. Which bench vice would you suggest for someone (me) who only receives disability pension. As I'm only just getting back into woodcraft after a 28 year gap I'm really in the dark here.

I've been looking at loads of different vices and the price gap is incredible to me (similar looking vices can be as low as £10 and as high as £120. As I'm going to put my bench into a shed that is 10ft x6ft I don't think I'll really need that deep a high capacity vice (bench will be 51cm depth) so that will help reduce the range slightly. I'm also not sure if I will need a quick release but it would make things a little easier.

Another thing is what wood would you select for the jaws. As I don't have any hardwood at all at the moment this is going to mean a trip to the timber merchants. I think that it's best that I finish the design for the media server cabinet I'm drawing up and working out a parts list before going shopping and it makes sense to get the vice wook at the same time.
 

Paul Chapman

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Hi John,

This is my first post, so hi to everyone else as well.

My first vice, which I bought about 35 years ago, was a Record 57 Woodcraft. It was well made but never quite up to the job. I later bought two Record 52D's (with built in dog) and these have been superb.

I would always recommend getting the versions with the built in dog. However, if you get one without a dog you can always fit a deeper vice jaw and fit a Veritas round dog. I have done this with the old 57 vice (which I use on a second bench top which I use clamped in a Workmate) and found that it works well if you fit the dog as near to the screw as possible to prevent racking.

One of my 52s is quick release the other plain screw. I don't think the QR is worth having and the spring on mine broke once.

The 52s used to be made with holes for the vice jaws tapped for c/s head machine screws. They now just have plain holes. My advice would be to still use machine screws to fit the vice jaws, but you will have to use nuts as well. If you use ordinary woodscrews (as many people seem to)into the jaws there is a tendency that they will be pulled out as the vice jaws grip at the top first, thereby putting strain on the wooden jaws.

You could use almost any wood for the jaws. If someone is throwing out an old chest of drawers, the drawer fronts can be a good source of hardwood of about the right thickness.

If cost is an issue, I would suggest a hunt around second-hand tool shops. I have often seen second-hand Record vices for sale, and they last for ever.

Hope this is of some help.

Paul
 

mahking51

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John H
There are usually plenty of nice Record 52's to be had around boot sales for £15 £25 just need a clean and repaint to be like new.
regards
Martin
 

Neomorph

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mahking51":1of5orjd said:
John H
There are usually plenty of nice Record 52's to be had around boot sales for £15 £25 just need a clean and repaint to be like new.
regards
Martin
Really? That's amazing as the quick release 9" version is selling for £136.99 on the DM-Tools site which kind of gave me a heart attack when I saw the price.

Boot sales aren't very active just yet are they?
 

Jake

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They go for around £25 on ebay generally, with £12 or so postage.
 

Paul Chapman

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John,

I would second what Martin says. There is plenty of stuff about at reasonable prices if you keep looking. In my view this is partly because schools don't do much in the way of woodworking any more and lots of their old equipment seems to be finding its way onto the second-hand market. Also with people moving over to power tools a lot of the old hand tools seem to be going cheap.

As examples I recently bought two Stanley spiral ratchet screwdrivers (the middle size), old but in as-new condition, for £12 each and a Record 405 Multi-plane (complete but for a few cutters missing) for £20. There was plenty of other stuff as well if I had wanted it.

Paul
 

Scrit

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Hi John

When it comes to vices size IS important. Look for second-hand Record OR Paramo vices (or if you get a real adrenelin rush from pre-WWII stuff possibly a Parker's Perfect). Don't know about the dog because I don't use a vice that way, but big and quick release is the way to go. One source is G & M Tools who regularly have them in stock.

Scrit
 

Neomorph

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Scrit":2e6ptjgm said:
Hi John

When it comes to vices size IS important. Look for second-hand Record OR Paramo vices (or if you get a real adrenelin rush from pre-WWII stuff possibly a Parker's Perfect). Don't know about the dog because I don't use a vice that way, but big and quick release is the way to go. One source is G & M Tools who regularly have them in stock.

Scrit
lol you should have seen my Grammar school's wood workshop vices... they were HUGE. I think I might just start browsing ebay.

What actually is a dog used for as my school vices didn't have one.
 

Paul Chapman

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Hi John,

Dogs are used for clamping work flat on the bench top. One dog is fitted to the vice (or is built in in the case of, eg, the Record 52D) and the other dog(s) are fitted to rows of holes in the bench top. On custom made benches the dogs are often square in section but to fit them to an existing bench it is easier to use round section dogs - you then just have to drill the bench top with the appropriate size holes. The best ones I have found are made by Veritas. See the www.brimarc.com website and look under Veritas round bench dogs and pups.

Hope this helps

Paul
 

Neomorph

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](*,)

It's all so clear now... I couldn't for the life of me figure out how it would help clamp any work being such a small piece of metal. The fact that I was working out dog holes for my bench completely went over my head! :?

Well thanks for all the info on the vices and I've now got my eye on a vice that I'm going for...

Now all I need is a suggestion as to what wood to use for the vice faces and bench edging. I'm going to use MDF for the top of the bench with a thinner piece on top as a throwaway. Remember that I don't have a lot to of cash play with so as cheap as possible without making it crappy heh.
 

Chris Knight

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John,
For your bench top I suggest you use a piece of oil tempered hardboard (6 or 8mm thick) as the disposable top. It will wear a lot better than MDF. I have been using the same hardboard top for ten years now!
 

Scrit

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Neomorph":t2mlgv51 said:
Now all I need is a suggestion as to what wood to use for the vice faces and bench edging..... Remember that I don't have a lot to of cash play with so as cheap as possible without making it crappy heh.
Best material is still going to be beech, or at least a fine grained hardwood such as beech, whatever else you use elsewhere.

Scrit
 

Paul Chapman

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Hi again John,

There is an interesting article in the latest issue of Furniture & Cabinet Making (No.110) by Robert Ingham about his bench which now has an MDF top. He also describes what he did about vices. You might find it useful.

When I moved into my present house about 12 years ago I decided to build a large bench as the house has an integral double garage and at last I had the space. Not having the time or money to build a hardwood bench, I decided to use MDF (originally as a temporary measure). The bench is 75" long by 25" wide. For the top I used three sheets of 18mm MDF which I lipped using softwood and biscuits. After planing the lippings flush, I glued the three sheets together (using lots of G-cramps and curved cauls to even out the clamping pressure - most B&Q softwood has enough curve in it to make it suitable for the cauls!!). By this time the top was very heavy and I needed help lifting it.

The legs are made from 3"x3" softwood.

I fitted a Record 52D at the front left and another on the right end. The top was then drilled with four rows of holes to take Veritas bench pups. I used some mahogany reclaimed from shelving for the vice jaws.

I finished the bench by giving it a coat of Sadolin Classic wood preservative and I regularly wax polish the top so that glue spills are easy to get off.

Although I used MDF as a temporary measure, it has proved to be 100% successful. The bench is very heavy so it doesn't move at all and the top has remained perfectly flat. After 12 years hard use it still looks as good as new.

I hope your bench turns out equally successful.

Paul
 

Neomorph

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It's sods law but the vice I had found on ebay is being bidded on by someone who is raising the price by bidding multiple time against himself just to raise the price.

This was one of the reasons why I've steered clear of ebay in the past and I'd hoped that they would have sorted it by now. In the auction at present there were three real bids and six false ones. I assume they are false because the guy bid £10 then £20 then £25 always against himself... then when someone bidded £25.56 he bidded £27 then £30 then £35 still with nobody else bidding.

Isn't this called shill bidding?
 

Jake

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I don't think you can be right. If he isn't bidding against someone, then his max bid would be a secret - the amount of a max bid is only shown when it has been beaten by someone else.

Take a careful look at the bid record - bearing in mind it is sorted by amount of the max bid placed, not by the time at which the bid was made.
 

Neomorph

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Jake":1adv6vk5 said:
I don't think you can be right. If he isn't bidding against someone, then his max bid would be a secret - the amount of a max bid is only shown when it has been beaten by someone else.

Take a careful look at the bid record - bearing in mind it is sorted by amount of the max bid placed, not by the time at which the bid was made.
Grr... Thanks for pointing it out to me and you are right that the bids are not by time... I saw the increasing bid prices and thought they were already in sequence - Just goes to show how much of an ebay noob I am as well. The only other time I used ebay was when ordering some new batteries for my sister and my old philips mobile phones. Other than that was using the auction site for Ultima Online which is just slightly different.

My excuse is the morphine :?
 

Jake

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Forget that one if has gone above £30. There are plenty around, must be usually at least three or four a week. Wait for one which doesn't have suckers like that involved in a bidding war with each other. Do a search regularly and put them all in your watch list. Keep an eye on them and wait for one that gets into the last hour with only a bid or two on it and at £15 or so.

Then in the last minute, as close as possible to auction close, place one bid for the amount you are prepared to pay for a vice. If you look a round you can find "sniping" sites that will automate this for you, whether free or for a small fee. I would make your bid somewhere between 26 and 31 if you want one fairly quickly.

If you are prepared to wait you would eventually score one closer to 15-20, but it would take a month or two and lots of getting outbid on auctions in the meantime.

Or as Scrit says, G&M do them for £40 or so - depending on whether you can collect from them, that could be cheaper than Ebay. Look in local paper ads as well, sellers there tend to ask for less than they would get on Ebay.
 
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