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Workbench Vice advice

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tibi

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No. He does nothing that couldn't be done with a packing piece and loses the advantage of its being flush.
Sorry Tibi, Well I looked at it and he didn’t convince me at all in fact I would dare to say he’s just plain wrong. If no other reason than doing it the other way you will not damage your tools on a big lump of metal just where you’re working. And why wouldn’t you want to support your work against the edge of the top – forget whether the bench has an apron or not.
Edit. Wrong was the wrong word, it’s a subjective matter I’m sure neither of us would ever convince the other!
I cannot remember seeing a video of Paul Sellers, where he does not mention that he has been woodworking for 50+years and/or he has taught thousands of students to do "anything" that way - so he knows that the method he is teaching works. I think that this kind of reasoning is not bulletproof. I can find a person, who has been trimming boards to length on a chop saw for 50 years (if any chop saws were produced back then), so that person can technically say that he has been woodworking for 50 years, too. I have been playing piano for 22 years now, but anyone who is training for a professional career as a concert pianist can easily outperform me in 4-5 years. So a sheer length of doing something for a long time or even doing it 8 hours a day / 6 days a week does not give automatically the best methods for everything.

Personally, I think that Paul Sellers is a very competent woodworker with a great amount of experience and he is better than I will ever be, but doing something for a very long time and teaching it to others does not mean that it is the best or most successful method or that someone with a shorter woodworking experience could not come with something better. Some other woodworkers are also prone to tell in every video that they have been woodworking for xy years.

There are things that are objectively better and everyone will agree like chopping a mortice with a chisel instead of a drawknife. And some things are just subjectively better and are prone to personal preference, like what is the best sharpening method question or what bench height is ideal.

I like it more if someone shows that he does a method the way that he prefers for whatever reason, instead of telling that he is doing this for 50 years and implies that it must be the best.
 

mikej460

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I have a quick release Record 52 1/2 which is excellent with beech liners, but would prefer a bigger one so a 53e is on my shopping list. After that I would like a removeable moxon vice. I'm afraid this subject falls under 'ask 10 woodworkers which vice they prefer and you get 10 different answers'. It's very much a personal choice.
 

pe2dave

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Another question, if I opt for the record type vise, do you install it flush with the front of the workbench or it is prodruding? Both types have advantages and disadvantages. What is best for you?
My thinking was rear jaw flush with the apron. I now think that wrong, having been caught on quite a few jobs.
 

Cooper

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In schools, I think, we had the inner jaw protruding because after several years the bench tops were reversed and if there had been a notch cut out it would not have lined up were most right-handed students expected the vice to be (as a lefty I would have preferred the vice at the other end). Also the kids didn't do much work on long pieces (the cost prohibited it). I suspect that some people have just carried on with a setup that they thought was normal. I have a teachers demonstration bench in my workshop and its a pain that the inner jaw isn't flush.
The last time I had benches refurbished was a long time ago in the ILEA 1980s. Several bench tops were in such a state that they couldn't be reversed and I still have some of them, I use as bulks. Earlier this year I was able to make a bench to mount my drill press on from one. Nothing goes to waste!
 

Phil Pascoe

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Elementary, maybe, but maybe not to a novice - if wanting it flush, the vice needs to be inset so there is room for the inner wooden jaw to finish flush.
 

Orraloon

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Over the years I have had front vice mounted proud and now flush on my current bench. Flush works better for me.
I notice Mr Sellers does a bit of crosscut sawing in his vice so proud would help with that but using a bench hook to saw on kinda works better.
Regards
John
 

Dionysios

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My first bench was based on the Paul Sellers design but with a thicker top (9.5cm) and the vice was mounted proud. After five years of use the main points of nuisance were: 1) The proud vice, whenever I wanted to plane anything long I had no easy way to support it adequately, 2) The width of the bench, I made it 87cm wide and since my workshop is half single garage there was little space left for me to stand next to the bench, 3) The tool well, it was attracting all shorts of rubbish (covering any tools in it) and reducing the useful width of the bench, 4) The bench height, my first bench was about 1m high (I am quite tall) but the new one is about 5cm shorter and I find it more comfortable to use when planing.

In regards of the face vice I have it flush with the apron (the rear jaw is behind the apron) and I made a large jaw liner out of spruce and oak. I have also glued a very thin piece of leather on the apron side (not shown in photo) to increase the grip and protect the softwood from excessive wear. It works quite well with a minimal amount of racking despite the large protrusion of the liner both in width and height. The remaining capacity of the vice is 22cm which is plenty enough and it’s about the same or larger than what you get if you use any other type of commercially available vice hardware.

I agree that Paul Sellers is a competent woodworker, but his argument that he works with wood for 50 years and therefore he’s right is absurd.

Craftsmen were using workbenches for hundreds of years and I have yet to see an old workbench with a protruding rear vice jaw. I believe that the fashion of the protruding vice started with the introduction of cast iron vices were there was already a rear jaw in place. This vices apparently offered a great deal of convenience to site workers that had to make a workbench on site and leave it there when the job was done, taking only the vice to the next job site. For the workshop benches it seems to me like pure laziness not to install the vice flush with the top or apron (depending on the bench design it might require some work).

As for the end vice, I have installed one ( a Woden 189B QR) on my bench only because I had it lying around and I use it only to hold in place my machinists vice, router table, strop etc. I use a planing stop, holdfast and doe’s foot to hold the pieces on the top of the bench when planing.

IMG_20210508_201355_DxO.jpg




IMG_20210519_141612_DxO.jpg
 

Phil Pascoe

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On my old bench I had two 11" x 2 3/4" baulks and a 9" well. When I moved for reasons I won't go into I had to leave the base of the bench behind so took just the two timbers and vice. When I rebuilt it I replaced the well with an 1 1/2" strip, so doing away with the well and narrowing the bench considerably. It's much better.
 

Jacob

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My vice is below the top edge by 10mm or so, and inner jaw flush with the face of the apron but set in just 3mm and covered with a bit of ply stuck on with evostick.
It means I have 2 wood faced jaws, one is the width of the vice the other is the length of the bench. Very useful.
If I need to space something away from the bench I drop in a spacer - any old off-cut which will fit.
 
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msparker

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I have the german made front vice from fine tools and love it. The thread is very coarse so it can be moved in and out very quickly. It is well supported so does very little racking. Thick jaws then allow a number of bench dogs which is great. I find myself clamping between dogs most of the time and think perhaps this vice style is better than the record for this (but am happy to be told otherwise). Top tip, line your jaws with some nitrile bonded cork sheet (sold as gasket material) - it's a game changer for holding power.

Incidentally I think my dream setup would be a twin screw front vice and a HNT Gordon tail vice but that is getting very fancy indeed
 

pe2dave

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Top tip, line your jaws with some nitrile bonded cork sheet (sold as gasket material) - it's a game changer for holding power.
How do you fasten the gasket to the vice face please? DS tape? Hot glue?
I use leather (old apron) and find I need to replace it regularly.
 

msparker

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How do you fasten the gasket to the vice face please? DS tape? Hot glue?
I use leather (old apron) and find I need to replace it regularly.
I used titebond 2 as it's what I had. Has seen a lot of use and is as good a new. Admittedly I haven't given much thought to what I'll do when I eventually do need to replace it but I imagine hacking it off with a chisel and touching up the face with a plane will be alright
 

Stevekane

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The problem is that I will not have an apron. So i need to mount it underneath the laminated top. I will create holes for a holdfast in the leg on the opposite front side.
But could you swop out the long front edge timber for somthing a bit thinner but deeper, the bench would be just as durable and the apron could be used to stiffen up the frame, just a thought as I dont presently have a bench vise in service, does the thickness of your top allow the fitting of a record type vice?
 

tibi

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I have the german made front vice from fine tools and love it. The thread is very coarse so it can be moved in and out very quickly. It is well supported so does very little racking. Thick jaws then allow a number of bench dogs which is great. I find myself clamping between dogs most of the time and think perhaps this vice style is better than the record for this (but am happy to be told otherwise). Top tip, line your jaws with some nitrile bonded cork sheet (sold as gasket material) - it's a game changer for holding power.

Incidentally I think my dream setup would be a twin screw front vice and a HNT Gordon tail vice but that is getting very fancy indeed
Can you please tell me which one have you bought? I will also buy from them. Is it the quick release vise or the standard one?
 

Phil Pascoe

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My first bench was based on the Paul Sellers design but with a thicker top (9.5cm) and the vice was mounted proud. After five years of use the main points of nuisance were: 1) The proud vice, whenever I wanted to plane anything long I had no easy way to support it adequately, 2) The width of the bench, I made it 87cm wide and since my workshop is half single garage there was little space left for me to stand next to the bench, 3) The tool well, it was attracting all shorts of rubbish (covering any tools in it) and reducing the useful width of the bench, 4) The bench height, my first bench was about 1m high (I am quite tall) but the new one is about 5cm shorter and I find it more comfortable to use when planing.

In regards of the face vice I have it flush with the apron (the rear jaw is behind the apron) and I made a large jaw liner out of spruce and oak. I have also glued a very thin piece of leather on the apron side (not shown in photo) to increase the grip and protect the softwood from excessive wear. It works quite well with a minimal amount of racking despite the large protrusion of the liner both in width and height. The remaining capacity of the vice is 22cm which is plenty enough and it’s about the same or larger than what you get if you use any other type of commercially available vice hardware.

I agree that Paul Sellers is a competent woodworker, but his argument that he works with wood for 50 years and therefore he’s right is absurd.

Craftsmen were using workbenches for hundreds of years and I have yet to see an old workbench with a protruding rear vice jaw. I believe that the fashion of the protruding vice started with the introduction of cast iron vices were there was already a rear jaw in place. This vices apparently offered a great deal of convenience to site workers that had to make a workbench on site and leave it there when the job was done, taking only the vice to the next job site. For the workshop benches it seems to me like pure laziness not to install the vice flush with the top or apron (depending on the bench design it might require some work).

As for the end vice, I have installed one ( a Woden 189B QR) on my bench only because I had it lying around and I use it only to hold in place my machinists vice, router table, strop etc. I use a planing stop, holdfast and doe’s foot to hold the pieces on the top of the bench when planing.

View attachment 113799



View attachment 113800
The downside of that that to me is that nice as it looks, many of us abuse the jaws on occasion and damage them. I'd rather be able to replace both.
 

JobandKnock

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In my more than 40 years in the joinery trade (couldn't resist that), and having worked in a few workshops, my own and others, I can honestly say that I don't recall ever working at a joiner's bench where the rear jaw of the vice was not set behind the front apron (so a flush installation). The reason should be fairly obvious - on an English joiner's bench the front apron is deep and is often used to hold long or deep workpieces with a combination of vice, G-clamp (or hand screw or hold fast) and sometimes deadman (often just a peg pushed into a hole in the leg) to support long long pieces. Sorry if I've stated the obvious, but TBH I cannot understand the debate
 
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Jacob

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In my more than 40 years in the joinery trade (couldn't resist that), and having worked in a few workshops, my own and others, I can honestly say that I don't recall ever working at a joiner's bench where the rear jaw of the vice was not set behind the front apron (so a flush installation). The reason should be fairly obvious - on an English joiner's bench the front apron is deep and is often used to hold long or deep workpieces with a combination of vice, G-clamp (or hand screw or hold fast) and sometimes deadman (often just a peg pushed into a hole in the leg) to support long long pieces. Sorry if I've stated the obvious, but TBH I cannot understand the debate
Agree. There's no point in setting it proud, except you save yourself half an hours work but live with an inefficient bench indefinitely.
If I need a spacer I pick one up from the scrap heap
 

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