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Workshop Appliances with Cecil Rogers


Standard Bench Vise - Workshop Appliances by Cecil Rogers




I have never wanted to be a metalsmith. I always wanted to be a woodworker.

That's all.

 But, the simple truth is that if one wants to work wood, one will be required to do a little bit of work on metal; Saws, chisels, plane blades, and other tools all require sharpening. Jigs must be built. And woodworking aside, all of us will have some "chores" to do from time to time.

A Necessary Evil

There's a certain amount of utility in having a standard bench vise. They are quite handy at the right time. Most of the time though, they're in the way!

For years I had one on one of my benches. When I needed it, it was always there ready to go. However, when I didn't need it, it was always there right in the way.
Then, I decided to build myself a good and proper woodworking bench.

I didn't want to permanently mount my bench vise to the bench and lose all of the real estate it would require. Also, the idea of metal shards becoming embedded in my bench was completely insane to me. Boards being worked would be scratched, and flattening the bench would be a nightmare.

The Fix...

The fix for this was rather simple. Again, this is just a single scrap piece, albeit a rather beefy one. It's a piece of 8/4 hard maple about three feet long, and wide enough to bolt the base of the vise to. That's it.

Get It Done

This appliance couldn't be more simple to build or use. Dress the board for flat and square as you see fit. Mark and pre-drill some holes in the appropriate spot for the lag bolts needed to mount the vise, and bolt it on. All done!

Put it to work

Have your holdfast and/or clamps ready. A bench vise can be pretty heavy, so it's a pretty good bet that it won't hang over the edge of the bench and stay put. Lay the back end on the bench (insuring you hold the business end), set a holdfast, and drive it down. Then add a clamp a little forward of the holdfast and cinch that down. It's ready to go.

It will be rock solid AND sit past the bench! Mount the workpiece in it, and do what you have to do.

Here's the best part though... When you are done, remove the clamp, pop the holdfast, and put the vise in the corner. No metal shards in your bench. No vise taking up valuable space on your bench or permanently in the way.

It will be right there in the corner, ready to go when you need it.

Cecil Rogers
March, 2015
My website:

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