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IN THE Shop
The key to great results when working at your bench is securely holding your workpiece.
What is it that really turns a "bench" into a workbench? For a woodworker, ifs a bench vise. More specifically, a face vise and tail vise that allow you to quickly and securely clamp just about anything.
TRADITIONAL FACE VISE
Most woodworkers are familiar with a face (or front) vise. It's tire simplest to build in or bolt on to the front edge of just about any workbench.
Vise Sizes. Another reason face vises are so popular is you'll find them in a number of different sizes. By sizing, I mean the maximum size workpiece you can clamp in the vise. The thing you need to keep in
mind is that the maximum doesn't take into account any auxiliary wood jaws you may add to the vise. Or how it's installed.
For example, the face vise you see above has a maximum capacity of 13". But that's a bit misleading. In order to securely hold a workpiece, there's a massive wood jaw at the front and a "built-in" jaw at the back — reducing the capacity to T3^". Still, that's more than enough capability for most woodworking tasks.
Build It In or Add It On. What's nice about this vise is you can build it in to a new bench, or add it on to an existing bench. It's easy because the vise is just an assembly of
precision-machined guide rods, a threaded shaft, and pair of heavy-duty castings, as shown above.
To complete the vise and securely hold a workpiece, you need to add a pair of wood jaws. One of the wood jaws attaches to the front of the vise. While tire rear "jaw" is formed by the apron of the bench and an extended jaw.
Some larger vises feature steel collars that provide additional support for the guide rods. These collars are attached to a jaw extension below the apron of the workbench.
BOLT-ON FACE VISE
A close cousin to the traditional face vise you see above is the one shown on the opposite page.
What makes this vise different is the metal jaws cast into the vise itself. You can add this to an existing workbench and be working right away by just bolting it in place. But metal jaws can be hard on a workpiece, so it's a good
ShopNotes No. 84