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Talk of new benches has got me wondering

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Cabinetman

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Now whilst I don’t need a new bench, mine have always been long, 2 feet deep 3” Beech and fastened to the wall, but recently talk of people building their own benches has got me got me thinking it would be fun to make a new one, freestanding this time - without a well, but with a planing stick. I have a couple of assembly tables and find I work on those nearly as much as my bench as they have a larger flat surface, not into MFT style.
And so I have been doing a little research and the question I want to ask is.
With the reliability and ease of use of a quick release Record vice, why would you want - and what are the advantages of, a wooden thread leg vice. The sliding deadman I understand and would like one next time. Ian
 
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Orraloon

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I think the leg vice is the current in thing. A nice wooden screw one does look good however. My very first vice was a leg vice as my dad had a few laying around. I could have had a bench but did not have room so I took the leg vice and put it on the small bench I had in a very small garden shed. It was wood screw and likely over 100 years old back then. Just the bottom rail with holes and a peg as there were no scissor arrangements then. It did the job but when I moved and set up again I got a clone of a record vice on that bench and thought it was a step up. One thing a leg vice does give you is it holds deep sections as the screw is a fair bit below the bench top. It wracked more than a metal bodied vice if the work was to the side of the screw.
Regards
John
 

clogs

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just fashion.... a Record and a few sash cramps would be better regarding conv and time saved.....
but make one if u have the time and inclination.....
I quite fancy making a big long wodden thread...like an Achme.....but there's a long list in front of it.....
 

Cabinetman

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I think the leg vice is the current in thing. A nice wooden screw one does look good however. My very first vice was a leg vice as my dad had a few laying around. I could have had a bench but did not have room so I took the leg vice and put it on the small bench I had in a very small garden shed. It was wood screw and likely over 100 years old back then. Just the bottom rail with holes and a peg as there were no scissor arrangements then. It did the job but when I moved and set up again I got a clone of a record vice on that bench and thought it was a step up. One thing a leg vice does give you is it holds deep sections as the screw is a fair bit below the bench top. It wracked more than a metal bodied vice if the work was to the side of the screw.
Regards
John
Thanks for that, interesting about it racking which thinking about it, obviously it would, I suppose the depth being greater down to the screw would be handy sometimes. Cheers Ian
 

Cabinetman

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just fashion.... a Record and a few sash cramps would be better regarding conv and time saved.....
but make one if u have the time and inclination.....
I quite fancy making a big long wodden thread...like an Achme.....but there's a long list in front of it.....
Ah, fashion, never been a follower of fashion so that makes life easier.
How long would you make it and what would it be for? Or just because!
 

Jacob

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Thanks for that, interesting about it racking which thinking about it, obviously it would, I suppose the depth being greater down to the screw would be handy sometimes. Cheers Ian
Main advantage of the leg vice is the leg. One end stands on the floor. This means you can bash at things being held and the load is taken by the bench and the leg. They are back in fashion along with other retro stuff but a Record 53e far superior in so many ways - the load is taken by the bars instead.
 
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Cabinetman

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Main advantage of the leg vice is the leg. One end stands on the floor. This means you can bash at things being held and the load is taken by the bench and the leg. They are back in fashion along with other retro stuff but a Record 53e far superior in so many ways - the load is taken by the bars instead.
Thanks Jacob, I’ve never used one so I hadn’t considered that. Another aspect goes into the consideration pot. Ian
 

thetyreman

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I'm going to have to upgrade my vice to a no53e now, I use a 52 1/2 and it's fine but there's just the odd time where I've wanted more reach for very wide boards.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I was fortunate. About twenty years ago I bought a bench in an auction. Beech, about 13 feet long and completely fubar. The auctioneer was an acquaintance, and as we turned it over to get it on the trailer he said bloody hell, look at the size of those vices. I said you didn't think for one moment I paid £30 for the bench, did you?
One 52 1/2 and one 53e, nice and clean. I had free firewood for a week and later sold the 52 1/2 for £45.
 

D_W

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purely related to the hand tool woodworking (I can see the QR vise being better than a leg vise for someone doing heavy work elsewhere), there are a lot of operations when you're breaking wood down with hand tools only (especially the frame saw, but really resawing anything) where you'll appreciate the ability of a leg vise to get a long death grip on a board and prevent it from rotating.

Most of the rest of the time, a good wood screw is quick (you have about 2 threads per inch - I wouldn't favor something like a 6 tooth acme screw) and has nice touch on lock up (it has "stick" when tightened wood to wood and tight is a huge range of tension). It's only a little slow if you were to do something like use it for random thin and wide things one after another.

Out of laziness, I put a QR vise on the end of my bench with leg vise on front. I prefer the leg vise - especially on anything irregular shaped where getting the QR vise to recognize that I'm trying to release can be a pain. You can probably find a good vintage QR vise there inexpensively, though, and a 2 1/2" wooden screw and garter here is generally not cheap (figure $200-$250).

The leg vise has a pretty strong level of indifference to slightly tapered items (like tool handle blanks, etc), btw, which makes it much nicer to use than the QR vise that I have on the end - again, a general PITA when it sort of has tension on something but isn't totally tight or loose.
 

Inspector

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Maybe a way out idea but assuming you can get around your freestanding bench what stops you from putting both types on it? The Record on one side and a leg vice on the opposite corner. It's not like you can't take one off in the future if you never use it. 😉

Pete
 

Jacob

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Maybe a way out idea but assuming you can get around your freestanding bench what stops you from putting both types on it? The Record on one side and a leg vice on the opposite corner. It's not like you can't take one off in the future if you never use it. 😉

Pete
Good idea. Compare and contrast. I'd bet that if there was much work going on the leg vice would get very little use.
 

D_W

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Maybe a way out idea but assuming you can get around your freestanding bench what stops you from putting both types on it? The Record on one side and a leg vice on the opposite corner. It's not like you can't take one off in the future if you never use it. 😉

Pete
If building something specific, arranging the dog holes to suit the vise could be beneficial on both sides, too.

For example (I know this isn't typical), I build planes on my bench, so the QR vise on the end has a row of dog holes in the first board. Lots of the planemaking stuff is done right at the edge of the bench plane set on sides for hand clearance and to work through. This probably doesn't make sense for most other things else there would be more dogs in the first board.

A vise on the opposite side could have a more standard arrangement.
 

thetyreman

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it's worth mentioning moxon vices as well, they are a good alternative to both the leg vice and the metal QR type.
 

D_W

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it's worth mentioning moxon vices as well, they are a good alternative to both the leg vice and the metal QR type.
I never use that type (too lazy), but anyone with back problems should consider something like that for lots of dovetail work. The one that I have was overbuilt, which is deterrent to using it (it's heavy, but it was also a large laminated straight router fence at one point when I had a router table).

the one other thing to mention about a leg vise is that it has some depth above the screw so you can plane things that are "through" the length of it (they can be seated to some comfortable depth and also past both ends of the bench and be held well. If a bench is going to get a whole lot of use from rough wood, then a leg vise is a better idea. If not, I'll yield to the folks who use QR as I have no concept of what it's like to not use a bench often for dimensioning.
 

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