View Full Version : Benchtop overhang for woodworker's vise?

05-07-2003, 05:42 PM
I'm building a workbench for my 'shop' (carport)and will be putting some kind of front-mounted vise on it. The top will be 2x12's. How much overhang do I need to install the vise?

05-07-2003, 06:03 PM
Donn, I don't have the answer, but I was thinking if we knew what kind of vice you were installing, we'd be better able to help.

BTW, I once went looking for a vice. I got the strangest look from the lady at the hardware store when I asked, "Have you got any vices?"

05-07-2003, 06:24 PM
I haven't decided what kind yet...I lean toward sloth and gluttony, but others have good points as well. Maybe sloth/gluttony front-mounted on the left, and avarice/lust top-mounted on the right? Vanity will be underneath.

Dave Fleming
05-07-2003, 06:38 PM
O&O East you receiving on DSL?

05-07-2003, 06:40 PM
On cable here. If you sent email, it's probably held up in MSN hell.

Dave Fleming
05-07-2003, 06:52 PM
I got ( 2 ) emails addresses for you is there a 3rd.?

05-07-2003, 06:55 PM
None that I pay attention to. Unless you're going to propose to me, why not post it here? :D

Dave Fleming
05-07-2003, 07:02 PM
OK, I had a 39 MB PDF but instead I am posting John Guntermans web page URL on Tail Vise construction. John is known as Spokeshave in 'Neander'circles.
I realize on second thought that the PDF may be overkill for you...too much time away from fishing.
<insert winky grin here> Tail Vise Page (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe/1824/tail-vise/vise.htm)

05-07-2003, 07:57 PM
What good is a vise that's discontinued gonna do me?

Bruce Taylor
05-07-2003, 08:06 PM
It really depends on the screw you're installing.

A smallish front vise (like "A" in the pic below) might need 12" for the screw to clear. A largish one (see "B") will need 18" or more.

Consider leaving a gap in the apron, to accomodate any length of screw.


[ 05-07-2003, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Bob Cleek
05-07-2003, 09:24 PM
As is clear from Bruce's pictures, all you will need for overhang is a few inches. Obviously, buy the vise before you build the bench and a lot of grief will be avoided. A 2x4 or 2x6 apron will accommodate the bars. All you have to do is drill holes so that the screw and bars will fit through the apron.

Dave Fleming
05-07-2003, 09:28 PM
What good is a vise that's discontinued gonna do me?
Whilst that model is discontinued the idea/principal/method is still viable and used all the time.
If you are just going to use a off the shelf woodworkers vice then look at the Record line.
Relatively easy to install for a left hand vice.
Vice Screws as shown in the previous posting, Bruce's(?) work well.
But this is all based on it being a woodworker type bench. If it is a multi-use bench ie: metal and wood then I would suggest a Mechanics Vice on the left hand ie: Wilton-Record-Chiwanese Import.
Rule of Thumb in the yards was that the top of the jaws of a mechanics vice should be about elbow height for most metal work, draw filing, hacksawing etc...

05-07-2003, 10:35 PM
Whilst Fleming and Cleek probably know what they're talking about, I can tell you how us New Englanders do stuff the wrong way, and have it come out right....
Mount your vise on the corner of your bench, so that you don't need to notch any apron. It also makes using that little pop up thingy on the vise very convenient as a bench dog clamp.

John Blazy
05-08-2003, 05:17 AM
I'm totally pleased with the Jorgensen bench vise I bought about seven years ago. Opens 18", has massive castings, quick release with a simple counterclockwise quarter turn. One of the lowest cost ones too. The advantage over a tail vice is the cast iron jaws that help support the wood face. They are canted inward a little for serious pressure at the top edge. If your right-handed, you gotta mount it opposite this photo. I morticed the rear jaw into the beech edge all the way to within 1/2" of top surface so that the entire edge of the bench is clamping surface in case I need to clamp a long piece against it.

05-08-2003, 08:12 AM
I was afraid someone would say to buy the vise before building the bench. I'll see what I can find today. I'm looking for an economy version from Record, or someone comparable. I don't need quick release, and it'll be living out in the sea air.

I had planned 4" of front overhang and 6" on each end. The front rail (apron) is 2x8, so there will be plenty of room to clear the screw and rails of the vise.

Bruce Taylor
05-08-2003, 08:37 AM
4-5" should be sufficient to take the mounting hardware. I don't think I've seen one that requires more.

05-08-2003, 09:17 AM
Mine is mounted just as John's is. If I need a flat surface to work on that doesn't have stuff piled on it I can pull the vice out all the way, clamp in a 2x10 and have a nice little work surface. :rolleyes: The quick release is a must!

05-08-2003, 10:59 AM
As said about Black, once you've had a quick release, you'll never go back :D

05-08-2003, 11:43 AM

Pony Light & Medium-Duty Vise PART#: 27090
COST: $37.50
Designed with double guide bars, continuous screw action and solid steel dog. The front and back jaws have drilled and tapped or countersunk holes to allow for optional wood facings

Jaw Width: 7"
Opening Capacity: 9"
Castings are grey iron with orange baked-enamel finish.
Solid steel dog.
= = = = =

Looks like quite a bargain for a vise that will live outside. eh? Not quick release, but I'm not in a hurry.

Ross Faneuf
05-08-2003, 12:02 PM
John - what model Jorgenson is that? I could sure use a vise that opens 18".

Bruce Taylor
05-08-2003, 02:26 PM
That Pony vise seems like a good deal, if it's not too sloppy.

For comparison, a Record front vise:

$44.50, at Lee Valley

"Heavy cast construction with high-quality steel guide rods.

The 7" wide jaws open to 6-1/2". A slight toe-in at the top of the jaws ensures a parallel grip under pressure."


05-08-2003, 03:43 PM
I saw the Record in Lee's catalog, Bruce. I'm still leaning toward the Pony. It's a Jorgenson, so it should be $37.50 worth, and I like the steel dog in the front face.

Don Olney
05-08-2003, 03:59 PM
I have the exact same Jorgenson mounted on the left end of the bench. I can't say its TOO sloppy but it works for general purposes. Not much overhang was needed at all. I can measure it a little later.

I will replace it with something better at some point.

05-08-2003, 05:26 PM
Don...how long have you had it?

05-08-2003, 06:25 PM
There's a Taiwan knock-off of the Emmert available through Garrett Wade and Highland.
Anybody actually seen or used one?

Bob Cleek
05-08-2003, 07:39 PM
A couple of comments about the Record vise shown installed in the pic above. First, it isn't installed correctly. The inboard face of the vise should be inlet into the bench top so that it doesn't stand proud. (Remember to leave space for the cushions, which you have to make and install yourself... see below.) The back face of the vise should be fair with the edge of the bench. This makes it possible to clamp the other edge of a long piece flat against the edge of the bench for jointing and such. On planking benches, there are often a series of holes on the leg opposite the vise into which pegs can be inserted to support the other end of the work. Also, such holes can hold a crook into which a wedge can be inserted to hold the piece steady. In such circumstances, a solid rest against the whole length of the edge of the bench is important.

As for the cushions or cheeks, I had always encountered problems with these due to the weakness of the grain in such relatively small pieces. Even a set of really nice maple ones eventually gave up the ghost. The pressure of the vise seems to weaken them and they eventually fall apart. A while back, SWMBO laid a hot pot on one of those plastic cutting boards and melted a ring in it. As she was about to throw it out, the old light bulb went off in my head. (I never throw anything away anyhow!) I cut a set of pads out of that cutting board material and they have worked incredibly well. Remember to leave the cheeks standing a little bit proud of the surface of the bench, maybe 1/32" or so. That will save you a whole bunch of saw sharpening over the years. You sure don't want to saw into the iron of the vise jaws.

As for the quick release... well, I gotta admit, I got cheap and took a pass on it, even though I should have known better. If cost is more of a concern, you can go with the cheapo version, which works just fine, but for the few bucks more... it sure is worth it. So's a little bigger vise. Like hammers, there's no such thing as a vise that's too big, and lots and lots of them that are too small... LOL

Don Olney
05-08-2003, 10:06 PM
Donn, I've had the vise for six years. I use it all the time. I just took a close look at it and I have to say its actually sloppier than I thought. The screw is pretty wobbly and chattery.

My bench top is made out of 2 x 6s covered with 3/4 Doug fir ply. The ply overhangs the front by 3 1/2" which is about 1/4" more than necessary to fit the Pony.

I use Maple pads salvaged from a futon frame and when one side gets chewed up which happens fairly easily as Bob said, I just turn them around and use the other side. The holes fit perfectly.