Vise Squad

With the benchtop attached to the base, the next step is to continue with the installation of the vises.  The majority of the work along these lines was done while the benchtop was upside down.  All of the mounting hardware and guide blocks have already been installed, but I need to put all of the parts together and fine tune the fit.  However, before I can do any of that, I still need to fix my little screw-up with the skirts on the two face vises.

Here’s my mistake:

One of the two face vise skirts that needs to be fixed.

One of the two face vise skirts that needs to be fixed.

When I made the skirts that cover the vise mounting hardware of the face vises, I forgot to account for the position of the legs.  The tail vise skirts were fine and are still attached. When I realized what I had done, I removed the face vise skirts, so that I could assemble the bench.  I now need to trim these two skirts so that they fit into the available space.

You can see where I forgot to allow for the leg.

You can see where I forgot to allow for the leg.

To make sure that I cut the skirts in the right place, I installed the two guide rods.  These will maintain proper alignment while I mark the back with a knife.

I pushed the vise skirt up tight against the leg.

I pushed the vise skirt up tight against the leg.

I was careful to keep the skirt pressed into place while I ran a marking knife along the edge of the leg.

I used a marking knife to define the cut.

I used a marking knife to define the cut.

I removed the skirt from the guide rods and clamped it to the benchtop.  I used a square to continue the knife line onto the top edge of the skirt.  Having two lines makes it much easier to saw off the end accurately.

I used a square to continue the line onto the adjacent edge.

I used a square to continue the line onto the adjacent edge.

This saw is such a joy to use.

I used my LN Small Cross-cut saw to remove the offending part.

I used my LN Small Cross-cut saw to remove the offending part.

I re-installed the vise skirt and tightened the lag bolts that attach it to the benchtop.  No glue.

The skirt fitted in place.

The skirt fitted in place.

There's a very slight gap, but its less than a 64th.

There’s a very slight gap where it meets the leg, but its less than a 64th.

I repeated the process and trimmed the other vise skirt.

I repeated the process for the other face vise skirt.

I repeated the process for the other face vise skirt.

Cutting this part off was a little annoying.  I spent quite a bit of time sawing, rasping, and sanding these pieces to shape.   Oh well.

Here you can see the part that was cut off.

Here you can see the part that was cut off.

With the skirts fixed and re-mounted to the benchtop, I installed the rest of the vise parts.

With the skirts fixed, I installed the vise hardware and vise chop.

With the skirts fixed, I installed the vise hardware and vise chop.

Here is the bench with all four vises installed.

All four vises attached.

All four vises attached.

With two opposing face vises, and two side-by-side tail vises, the bench should be quite versatile.  One side is configured for left-handed use and the other for right.

Here you can see the overall layout.

Here you can see the overall layout.

The double end vises.

The double end vises.

The position of the large face vise.

The position of the large face vise.

The end vises.

The end vises.

The vises are installed, but I need to fine tune the fit.  I want to make sure that they close evenly on both sides and that the top closes a fraction before the bottom.  I’ll do this by hand planing away the high spots and frequently rechecking the fit.

More on that soon.

 

– Jonathan White

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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3 Responses to Vise Squad

  1. Jim Pallas says:

    That is a great bench. I know you are going to find it to be the most versital bech to work on. I know this because my own bench is similar. Because of back problems I have a Noden adjustable set up with a front vise at each corner as you have. After using it for more then a year I could not be more pleased. I have at times had all vises in use. Enjoy!
    JP

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comments. I know it is unusual and that it breaks many “rules”, but I have given it lots of thought and think it will do all that I want it to. I’ve already been using it as I make the last remaining parts of the bench, and it has been great. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one with four face vises.

      Take care,

      Jonathan

  2. Pingback: Fine Tuning the Vises | The Bench Blog

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