Sunday, December 26, 2010

Which Vise First?

We get this question frequently. You want both vises, but only have the funds for one right now, and you're itching to get started building your bench.

This topic came up recently at the Woodnet Woodworking Hand Tools Forum. A few customers chimed in with some excellent responses, which we're sharing below.

We recommend you purchase the Tail Vise first, and go ahead and prep your leg for a Glide when you build. Adding the Glide later will be much easier than adding the Tail Vise. And if you never end up with a Glide, the holes in the leg can be used for a basic leg vise, or just left alone if you end up with an iron face vise or a twin screw.

Question: "Would you pick the leg vise or tail vise if you could only get one? I have two vintage end vises and could put one where the leg vise would go or one with a built in dog on the end where the tail vise would go. I'm going to make a new bench top and want to incorporate one of them but can't decide. It seems like the tail wise would be harder to install at a later date so that's the way I'm leaning, but would like some input from those that have both. Which could you live without?"


"Hmmm....that's a tough one. Suppose it would mainly hinge on what kind of work you do, and what you would use if you didn't have the benchcrafted vises. I like your logic in regard to difficulty of installation at a later date, that makes sense. If you have a good substitute for the leg vise, then I would agree with your choice. "

"I'd go with the tail vise...a basic leg vise is pretty easy to make. You'll get more mileage out of the quality tail vise given only one or the other, I think."

"If you're only buying one at a time, I'd also vote Tail Vise first. I find in use I probably utilize a tail vise 75% of the time, and the face vise 25%, so I'd put the money where it will see more use."

"I have both and I would recommend the tail vise first as well. The installation is more complicated and the tail vise gets used more. A very very small amount of force generates a lot of torque in the screw. If you do go with the tail vise you will need a 4" top or something very close to it to give the handle clearance. By the way, I made square dog holes. I talked to Jameel about this at the time cause I didn't know the pros/cons of square/round dogs. I was used to round holes but I really like the square holes better. Square dogs require a bit more forethought when doing the top but I think they are worth it."

"I use my Benchcrafted tail vise just about constantly. I plane long grain, trim tenons, hold the shooting board, hold the honing station, hold the miter box, and a dozen other things. It's so fast and positive. I just used it to press in awl blades and press on ferrules, too."

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