Vise advice, or lack there of.

I am currently working on building the base for my workbench, but I have been thinking a little ahead to how I will mount and install the vises.  I am going to use four Grizzly H7788 Cabinetmaker’s Vises on the bench, so I will need to find a way to accurately drill the holes for all of them.

I already have the vises, so I opened one of the boxes to see what the instructions say.

A Grizzly H7788 Cabinetmakers Vise.

A Grizzly H7788 Cabinetmakers Vise.

Guess what?  No instructions.  I thought this can’t be right, so I opened another box. Again, nothing.  So I went on the Grizzly website, nope… no instructions there either.

I did a little searching online, and found some forum posts where people had said they contacted Grizzly and were told no instructions or drilling templates were available.  I don’t get this.  How can they not have this information?  The company that makes these for them in China must have the specifications.  How hard would it be to give a one page .pdf that states the correct drill sizes and has a template showing the distances between centers?

I even searched online to see if some disgruntled purchaser had created one of their own. No luck.

I figured that the first thing I ought to determine was the diameters of the screw and guide rods so that I can order the right size drill bits/augers.

In imperial, the screw measured 1.181 inches.

In imperial, the screw measured 1.181 inches.

The main screw measured about 1.181 inches.  The closest fractional measurement for that is 1 3/16 inches (or 1.1875) which is a little oversize and the hole might be a little lose.  I looked online for augers in this size and they are few and far between.

It then occurred to me that the vise was made in China and it may be metric.  I switched the caliper into metric mode.

The screw measures between 29.76 and 29.99mm depending how you hold the caliper.

The screw measures between 29.76 and 29.99mm depending how you hold the caliper.

That’s more like it.  It must be a 30mm screw.

I then measured the guide rods and the calipers showed 0.782 inches which is close to 25/32 inches.  Good luck finding an auger bit in that size.  And, if I tried to use a ¾” bit, the hole would be too tight.

In imperial, the guide rods were 0.782 inches.

In imperial, the guide rods were 0.782 inches.

I switched over to metric once more.

The guide rods measured 19.76 to 19.95mm.

The guide rods measured 19.76 to 19.95mm.

The calipers read between 19.76 and 19.95mm depending on how I held them.  This must be a 20mm rod.

I contacted the folks at Traditional Woodworker and explained my dilemma.  I had hoped to buy the WoodOwl auger bits, but they didn’t have them in 20 and 30mm.  They suggested that I use the Colt TwinLand brad point bits that they carry.  I ordered the 20mm bit and the 30mm bit.  I also ordered a 5/8 inch WoodOwl ultra smooth auger for use when I draw bore the stretchers to the legs and a 3/4 inch WoodOwl ultra smooth auger for drilling the dog holes in the benchtop.  I also found a set of 7 brad point bits that some how sneaked into the cart by the time that I had finished the order.

When I have the bits in hand, I’ll have to experiment with some scrap wood to see if I can’t come up with the proper spacing for all the holes.  Once that is accomplished, I can make myself a template out of some hardwood that I can use as a guide to drill the actual holes in the chops.

I’m still amazed that Grizzly didn’t provide this info in the box.

More on my plans for the vises later.

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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11 Responses to Vise advice, or lack there of.

  1. ted says:

    contact lee valley. they have plans

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for the tip. I did find the LeeValley instructions that you mentioned while looking for grizzly ones. As far as general mounting instructions go, there are very good. If anyone else wants to see them you can find them here:

      http://www.leevalley.com/en/shopping/Instructions.aspx?p=44580

      All though the vises look very similar, I do not think that they are the same. The spec sheet for the large front vise states that the guide rods are 1 inch and the lead screw is 1 1/4 inch. That doesn’t match up with what I found above and would leave very loose holes.

      Thanks,

      Jonathan

      • ted says:

        The sizes you mention are for clearance i believe.. i just installed the smaller version… the template was ok… i think i could have just traced the holes on to a block and drilled those. just as easy i think.

    • steve leonard says:

      I think I’ll turn those collects around to the rear jaw to save me the trouble of mortise them out, surface mount

  2. I would do this the way you have planned – make your template and you know that it is good to go. Of course that depends upon how well the 4 vises are alike……
    I can’t wait to see how you employ these 4 vises.

  3. Steve Janzen says:

    You may be just trying to make a point here, which I get, but … as to installing, I would suggest looking up Fine Woodworking Tools and Shop article “The Essential Workbench” Winter 2003/2004 as a how to guide on installing. They don’t make a template- the drill housing serves as the template …

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Steve,

      I tried looking for the article that you referenced. It appears that it is in the members only section of the Fine Woodworking website. I have had a subscription to FWW for several years, but my back issues don’t go back that far and I don’t have an online membership.

      I don’t quite follow what you mean by “the drill housing serves as the template…”

      Thanks for your input. I appreciate it. Maybe it is time to upgrade my subscription.

      All the best,

      Jonathan

      • Scott says:

        I believe the ordering is to mount the base, then clamp the bench apron/vise jaws in place and use a brad point drill bit through the rod housings in the base to mark where to drill jaws etc. Drill all pieces at one time.

  4. Alistair Howard says:

    I’ve just had the same problem. It’s making me crazy. I’m new to this, so wasn’t sure how much play is tolerable in the hole sizes. But I’ve used 1 1/4 and 1 inch (I think it was) hole saws. Not quite finished yet, so can’t say if it’ll work. Very annoying, though.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hello Alistair,

      I think a certain amount of play is acceptable, even beneficial, in the holes that pierce the apron of the bench top as you don’t want the vise to bind in use. However, I think that the holes in the chop should be a piston fit if possible. The guide rods and main screw are fixed in place with regard to the chop and don’t have to move through the chop while in use. This is just my theory, but I think it will greatly reduce top to bottom racking of the vise by having zero play. I’ll be starting the installation in a few days so we’ll see.

      All the best,

      Jonathan

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.