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Vice types and selection.

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bp122

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Hi All

I am contemplating getting a different vice for my second workbench.

The one I have on my main bench is a standard Record 52 1/2 E Quick release vice.
I was wondering as to what is the real world difference between the cast iron metal jaw vices like the one mentioned above and the ones which require wooden jaws and have a wooden handle (the veritas / york or Axminster trade ones - with quick release without having to squeeze the trigger)

1. Is it merely the feel of the wooden handle as opposed to metal handles?
2. Is the ability to not have to squeeze the quick release trigger a benefit?
3. Are the metal jawed versions more durable and / or have better clamping force?
4. Is one type better than the other in terms of racking?
5. I have seen some vices on American YT channels where they have Record style metal jawed vices with wooden handles - is that a good compromise? If yes, are they available here in the UK?

Any experience shared will be deeply appreciated.


Best regards
BP122
 

ED65

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I hate to say this but I think you need to narrow it down to a specific model rather than just asking about the wooden ones in general, so everyone is comparing oranges to oranges. Vices of the type you ask about are by no means uniform as to quality and features; second part of 3 and 4 in particular vary loads from one example to another.

1. Tradition/what individual users are used to or prefer.
2. Opinion.
 

Jacob

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...
Record vices are the best by far.
Various wooden vices are basically exercises in retro style and are never going to work as well as your Record - unless you need a specially designed vice for a particular purpose, but I'd still keep the Record as the main vice.
Is the ability to not have to squeeze the quick release trigger a benefit?
You don't have to squeeze it on the Record if you don't want to - you just wind it in or out with the handle. They are very useful however and you are better with one rather than without.
 

Blackswanwood

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It is arguably a bit of a sweeping statement to say that Record Vices are the best by far. Undoubtedly they are very good but it depends what you want/need. A friend of mine has a Benchcrafted leg vice ... very expensive but engineered to the highest of standards.

Richard Maguire has a few interesting blogs on the subject. https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/wo ... face-vice/

I have a Record Vice and I also have a wooden face vice with two wooden screws. The advantage of this is that it can easily hold items which are tapered. I made it myself, enjoyed doing it and it does the job imho as well as the Record or my friend’s Benchcrafted thing of beauty!
 

ED65

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Blackswanwood":3vjj961z said:
It is arguably a bit of a sweeping statement to say that Record Vices are the best by far.
Presume this is in response to something in Jacob's post? Sweeping statements are his stock in trade, pay 'im no mind.
 
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I have a small bench and previously had a York 9" (non quick release) vice, specifically this one. Asside from the fact that it was WAY too bulky for my little bench, not getting quick release was a big mistake.

So I am now selling it, and have instead picked up one of these. Much more compact, and the quick release is very nice. Half a turn to release, two turns to lock again. The one big drawback is that it racks pretty bad, but I knew this before hand, and it was a compromise I was willing to make. I've had to build one of those racking jigs (several layers of thin material held togeather with a bolt).

But I still prefer it to my previous vice.
 

AJB Temple

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I have a big Record 53A and it is good (quick release). Inly recently got got that, to replace a knackered vice on my bigger bench. I also have a bought (two decades ago) Sjoberg bench with wooden vices and wooden screws that I regard as a pain to use. Slow and stiff. Would not do that again.

I will be making my last bench at some point in the next year or so and it will without doubt have a Moxon or Benchcraft type vice, probably with double linked hand wheels. I think they are very good and fast in use. Expensive but worth it.

In the end it's just personal preference. It's just a tool for gripping stuff after all.
 

Bod

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I believe the reason that American vices have wooden handles, is that when the handle falls through, because there is not the weight of a metal handle, should you have a finger in the way, it hurts less!!
It may also go back to the colonial days, when metal was too expensive to use when wood would do.

Bod
 
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MikeG.":34h1q69z said:
phil.p":34h1q69z said:
I will be making my last bench ...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ... :D
I've never even made one, so I can't claim to have made a last one.
We get it. You're some magical genius that produces great work without any of the "surplus" equipment the rest of us simpletons require. :roll:
 

MikeG.

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transatlantic":3fcxton8 said:
......We get it. You're some magical genius that produces great work without any of the "surplus" equipment the rest of us simpletons require. :roll:
Well yes, of course.

Feb 2019
MikeG.":3fcxton8 said:
I'm beginning to spot a pattern in the tone of your interactions with me.
Either that or I was given a perfectly good school-surplus bench when I was still a teenager.
 

D_W

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Jacob":2sg0xd0q said:
...
Record vices are the best by far.
Various wooden vices are basically exercises in retro style and are never going to work as well as your Record - unless you need a specially designed vice for a particular purpose, but I'd still keep the Record as the main vice.
Is the ability to not have to squeeze the quick release trigger a benefit?
You don't have to squeeze it on the Record if you don't want to - you just wind it in or out with the handle. They are very useful however and you are better with one rather than without.
I think it depends some on how you're going to use the vise. If you're going to work full-on all hand tools, the vises with the full length chop do things that metal vises don't do well, like grip a tall board for resawing (which is something that requires extra clamps and is just more or less unworkable with modern vises. downright aggravating).

the record types are probably better for someone who isn't going to do much more at their bench than perhaps some mortising, working with small parts that are dimensioned elsewhere and dovetailing, etc. More or less the vast majority of woodworkers.

My thoughts on benches are get the first one cheap, supplement its rigidity if you need to, find out what you like to make and then the second bench will be the bench you keep. I wouldn't have gotten it right for what I like to do on the first guess, though it was tempting to spend big cake on a nice bench.

https://i.imgur.com/bjgFohA.jpg


This is my second bench. It's entirely ash and weighs about 400 pounds. One might guess that there's some kind of stylish vise at the other end, but it's just ended by a 7" quick release vise of decent quality because I build planes on the far end (and the dog holes are right up at the edge in the first board on that end) and I don't want to give up work space on that end or the ability to mortise a plane directly on the bench top.

Far end vise - mounted low and misused as such supplemental wooden part added to the jaw for two reason - to extend the vertical reach of the vise (this the misuse part) and because planing across the top of it or sawing into it accidentally is of no consequence:
https://i.imgur.com/HnsTszK.jpg

Point being to the original questioner, don't get too bogged down in details if you haven't really spent a couple of hundred hours in the shop working yet. Get anything decent, learn to work with it and plan to nail the details down on a second bench.

(I think the wooden chop is worth having instead of just metal, though, as it'll allow you to grip small parts right at bench height and plane or saw them without concern for hitting metal).
 

nabs

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bp122":1ld33xy9 said:
Hi All

1. Is it merely the feel of the wooden handle as opposed to metal handles?
2. Is the ability to not have to squeeze the quick release trigger a benefit?
3. Are the metal jawed versions more durable and / or have better clamping force?
4. Is one type better than the other in terms of racking?
5. I have seen some vices on American YT channels where they have Record style metal jawed vices with wooden handles - is that a good compromise? If yes, are they available here in the UK?
my woodworking "career" only spans 5 years but I have owned two vices - a Veritas face vice (wooden handle) and a Record 52 1/2.

my opinion: there is no difference in comfort, although I find the QR is useful (not everyone agrees). All vices rack -the degree is a matter of size of the components, their design and fit and finish so there is no single answer to your question. As it happens the design of the Veritas means it racks more than the Record (I think because of the spacing and size of the guide rods/screw combined with a narrow face)

durability - both well made. There are plenty of 60+ year old Records still in good working order (and some of the predecessors from Parkinson are over 100 years old)

There are loads of other quick release mechanisms, but the one in Record-type vices is the culmination of over a century of experimentation. All right thinking people agree it is the best woodworker's vice ever made <ducks>
 

Tris

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This isn't an answer to the original question, but having recently obtained 3 different vices (Andy T, Mike G and Phil P, thanks for the bench advice :D) I noticed a lot of difference in the 'speed' of the threads.
The Record and Woden vices have a much faster thread in terms of threads per inch than a much newer Irwin one. Didn't count the difference but in use it is really annoying, so much so I'll get rid of the Irwin one.
Hope this may be of use to someone.
 

thetyreman

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just get an eclipse 9" vice or vintage record, as jacob says you can't really beat them, I think the vintage ones are better made than anything modern including the eclipse which I own, if you have a big enough bench get the 53A, it's the best and has the biggest opening and most heavy duty one, having one without quick release would drive me crazy! no wonder you're so salty transatlantic :lol:
 

D_W

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Tris":1n118ux1 said:
This isn't an answer to the original question, but having recently obtained 3 different vices (Andy T, Mike G and Phil P, thanks for the bench advice :D) I noticed a lot of difference in the 'speed' of the threads.
The Record and Woden vices have a much faster thread in terms of threads per inch than a much newer Irwin one. Didn't count the difference but in use it is really annoying, so much so I'll get rid of the Irwin one.
Hope this may be of use to someone.
Well worth considering - 6 tpi type acme rod is cheap, but it's agonizing opening and closing a bench.

I built my bench with a wooden screw. It's something like 2 1/2 threads per inch. Someone else who was building a bench at the same time (another planemaker) made his setup similar to mine but used a much less expensive kit with finer threaded rod, and I'm sure he's replaced it by now. A critical issue if the vise isn't quick release.
 

bp122

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Thank you all for your responses.

The decision to build a secondary workbench is because my dining table workbench is too low for me to work on dovetails at the moment (I cut my first and second dovetails over the weekend, obviously the second on came out better :) but my back is killing me for having to lean over forward) Hence this was going to be a benchtop workbench which would kick the height by 200+mm for me to work comfortably for now, and the fact that I already have a decent sized 50mm flat pine top which I picked up from my mate's auction business for free.

The only minor gripe about my record 52 1/2 is that if I open the vice fully to its maximum opening width (which is very rare) and then clamp something in, the screw jumps and doesn't engage unless I squeeze the QR lever and pull it back and forth and then it engages. Other than that I haven't had a bad experience with it. That is why the Axi wooden handle (veritas) type vice looked appealing to me because it doesn't require a QR lever and it has wooden handles. But then as someone suggested I read through a few articles and the English Woodworker one said these types of vices do rack more than the Record types but they can still be adjusted out in the jaw design.

Due to a fortunate windfall just yesterday, the company I work for were getting rid of some record metal working vices with QR and I got one which looks stunning and works really well. I am thinking of mounting that to a bench hook and use that as my delicate vice by adding some softwood jaws and clamping it carefully and not over-tighten. This solves my height issue for now and then when I do build a proper bench, as most of you have said, I will know what I do and do not need and go from there!

I must say, it feels great to have this forum for guidance and help, mainly to know what to expect if not anything else, especially for a hobby woodworker like me who sometimes asks silly questions (about sharpening edge tools and heats up an already simmering topic!!!)
 

bp122

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Also, I know people use Moxon / twin screw vices but I think due to the nature of my projects as of now and the way they operate has put me off. I have actually used the same concept vice on my workmate (I know, it is a cheap imitation and the real thing may be vastly different and better) but I never really felt comfortable tightening two screws to clamp something, then again, I have only started to sit up straight while others are way ahead of me!
 

Jacob

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bp122":1lijtxy7 said:
Thank you all for your responses.

The decision to build a secondary workbench is because my dining table workbench is too low for me to work on dovetails at the moment (I cut my first and second dovetails over the weekend, obviously the second on came out better :) but my back is killing me for having to lean over forward) ........
I do it sitting down. Only way to do a lot of them efficiently.
It's essential to work out a good workplace set up - I also need close visual contact, bright light etc. And organise a sequence with tasks grouped so you aren't picking up putting down different tools every few minutes. And mark up 100% so that every piece is easy to match with the next one i.e. 4 drawers have sixteen sides which have several hundred ways of being aligned wrongly!
 
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