Rockler Quick-Release Front Vise Install

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 04-18-2014 12:55 AM 10662 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve wanted a vise for quite some time. I was finally able to get one with some money I received for Christmas. I went with the Rockler quick-release front vise. I wanted the Veritas one, but there were other things I needed as well, so I went with the cheaper option so that I could get those other things.

I don’t have a workbench yet, so it was a little more difficult to install in the worktable which I built before I really knew what I needed. It’s really just a big, sturdy assembly table. I couldn’t really follow the directions exactly as they came on the packaging because of the way the aprons, or stretchers, are attached to the legs on my table. The box shows installation on a workbench where you can attach the base plate to be flush with the front of the workbench top. I couldn’t do that, which I realized after I cut a big hole in the front of my table:

I realized that I wouldn’t have any way to get my drill to where I could pre-drill and then drive the 1/4” lag bolts that attach the base plate to the underside of the table. The depth of the hole is 2.25 inches, which means I’ll lose 2.25 inches of travel. Oh well.

In order to get the location to drill the holes in the jaws for the guide rods to go through I turned the base plate upside down on the top of the table flush with the front (imagine that the top of the table is the underside), then I held the jaw upside down against the front of the table and used a pencil to trace the holes. I used a spade bit to then drill holes a little larger than 3/4” which is the size of the guide rods. Then once the base plate was installed I would just flip the jaw right side up and it would match up with the hole locations in the base plate underneath the table.

I installed the base plate:

Then I attached the rear jaw and made sure everything lined up, which it did. I decided to use a rear jaw first of all because I was going to be cutting a hole in the front of the table, and second of all because the top of my table is plywood and I didn’t want to have to clamp workpieces against the edges of the plywood. I thought they might crack too easily and not hold up to all of the clamping pressure.

Then for the front jaw, I decided to laminate two 3/4” pieces together so that I could have enough room to add dog holes later on if I want to.

I don’t really have enough clamps for laminating something this large, but I did what I could:

I then trimmed the jaws down to size and transferred the guide rod holes to the front jaw and drilled them.

Everything fits:

Then today, I attached the rear jaw to the table with 4 screws and then added a big chamfer to the outside edges of the front jaw (I had seen this done in a picture somewhere).

I added the stop plate back on to the back of the base plate (you remove this plate initially in order to separate the vise into two pieces. It’s held on with two allen bolts).

The holes for the handle plate to hold the front jaw on are larger than the holes for the base plate. The base plate takes 1/4” lag screws, so I got the next size bigger for the front jaw, which turn out to be barely too big. So, I need to go back to the store for some more lag screws, which is the last thing I have to do. It may be a couple of days, so I just decided to go ahead and post this anyway while I have time instead of waiting.

Oh, and I sill ended up with a good 5” – 6” or so of travel even after adding the jaws and losing 2.25” because of where I had to put the base plate.

I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

The only other thing I’ll say is that the picture on the packaging show the jaws to be about 10”. I decided that I wanted more space on the sides for clamping pieces vertically (for cutting dovetails) so I decided on doing a 12” jaw, but because of where I had to install the base plate it meant that I had to use a 14” jaw if I wanted it to look pretty, centered, and lined up with the edge of the table. It seems just fine right now. Not sure if I’ll experience any racking. I’ll update later once I have some use out of it.

Hope this helps if you are thinking about getting one. It was not hard at all to install like some reviews claim. Like I said, it would be much easier on a workbench where you don’t have to cut out a hole in the front.

Thanks for reading.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

6 comments so far

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2638 days

#1 posted 04-18-2014 01:10 AM

Great job cliff, I remember installing mine (not a nice quick release though) and it was a real pain in the you know what. but SO worth it. A vise is mandatory. Soon you will start eyeballing moxon vises watch!

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3040 days

#2 posted 04-18-2014 01:20 AM

I’ve wanted a moxon vise as well. It would be better for what I want to do I think because of the wide amount of space between the screws. I’ve given thought to building a homemade one. Although, I’d stinking love the Benchcrafted one, but those are so expensive! This front vise will do me fine for now. It’s a general purpose vise that I’ll have forever and can move to a workbench when I get around to making one.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3372 days

#3 posted 04-18-2014 02:24 AM

Nice bit of work, man. I got a quick release vise a while back too, and they’re life changing. Be sure to epoxy some leather scrap on the inside faces, and your holding power will go from good to unbelievable.

Don’t wait to make a Moxon vise either. Let the lottery winners buy the Benchcrafted kits, mine only set me back about ten bucks in hardware.

It’s all about expanding your capabilities, by whatever means you have at your disposal.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 04-18-2014 02:29 AM

That moxon vise you built is sweet! Thanks for sharing that. Definitely do-able!

I was thinking about where to get some leather today, actually. Thanks for the tip!

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3372 days

#5 posted 04-18-2014 07:37 PM

I found bags of scrap in local hobby stores. Might take a little digging to find pieces the right size, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3691 days

#6 posted 05-13-2014 12:02 PM


-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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