Building my Workbench #7: Brief update and vise opinion solicitations

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Blog entry by HokieKen posted 01-23-2017 02:05 PM 2185 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Do these sticks make my slab look flat? Part 7 of Building my Workbench series Part 8: Chisels be Cryin' »

Geeze, I’m really on the ball with this blog huh? Well, unfortunately the pace of my blog updates pretty well matches the pace of my bench build :-( A LOT of family (and just general life) crisis the past couple months have severely limited my shop time. And, I comitted to the toolswap going on so I’ve had to keep up with that too. Soooo, the bench has kinda taken a bit of a back seat.

While my shop time is still limited, it is solely focused on my bench now, so I’ve made some progress. Basically I have the top finished and F-L-A-T. I still need to give it a good pass with a smoother but I bought a 50” precision straight edge and made my winding sticks and can say that with the exception of one corner, the entire benchtop is probably within .015” deviation of being planar. The front left corner has a small dip of maybe .030” but since I don’t use that corner for planing or assembly, I decided it was best to leave it rather than continue to remove material.

I got much better at flattening after the debacle of flattening the front portion! I decided to leave as much material as possible and ended up with the back 1/2 of the bench being 3/8” thicker than the front! I could have planed it down in the electron-eater but I figured that’s just some extra mass and since it’s behind the tool wells, there’s nothing lost by it being thicker than the front. I’ll just have to remember it when I cut the legs to length :-/

I’ll add another post later with pics of current progress. I cut it to length and squared the ends up yesterday using a circular saw and router with a straight edge guide.

Then I milled up a couple of pieces of 3×10 Walnut to make the end cap and end vise chop.

Now, I have agonized the last couple of months over my end vise. I use my end vise a lot. I like the idea of a wagon vise though for planing thin stock. But, I just can’t live without my end vise. Then I saw this vise by Texcaster:

Well, for a while, I thought the heavens had opened up and a light had been shined down to illuminate my path to Vise Nirvana. It was a little extra work but doable. It had an end vise with slightly reduced capacity and a wagon vise. It is like a tail vise but without the sagging corner so many seem to encounter. It seemed perfect. And it probably is. BUT…

The end vise on my old bench is just simple hardware, a big, beefy chop that runs most of the full depth of the bench and my Widdleracker to help with racking. Very simple, very basic, very easy. And I absolutely have loved it just like that. Sure a quick release would be nice and a twin screw vise like the Veritas would be easier than the Widdleracker. But I really just don’t want to change it. At all. Ever.

So I’m not. I think I would find occasional use for a wagon vise but I’m not convinced enough to go mucking up something I know works well for me.

So I’d pretty much given up on the wagon. But then I thought, why not on the back on the other end? I don’t like unnecessary “fluff” and I’m going to have my endvise and a leg vise. But, if I put some sort of a simple wagon vise on the back left corner of the bench, it would be out of the way and there when I need it. I’m thinking of a wedge-based one like Shipwright's
that wouldn’t require any hardware and wouldn’t have anything sticking out of the end of the bench. The only reason I want it is because recently I’ve had to hand plane some 1/8” and 1/4” stock and using the dogs in my end vise just doesn’t support the full length enough. Of course, that bench is severely out-of-flat so maybe just having a good flat bench will rectify the situation?

So anyway, what do you think? Is a third vise only used rarely on the back left corner of the bench a good idea or a bad one? Got any other ideas on how to hold thin stock for hand planing that doesn’t involve adding a wagon vise?

Thanks for any advice you may have! It’s not holding up construction or anything but it’s something I’d like to iron out in my mind before I get to a point where working on the bottom of the bench is a PITA in case I need to do so.

I’ll try to keep up with this blog a little more often ;-P

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

1 comment so far

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4776 posts in 2071 days

#1 posted 03-31-2017 11:08 PM

Swaps been over for awhile now slacker…..I need an update.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

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