a 21st century bench with engineered wood #8: vise fitting preparation

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Blog entry by metolius posted 10-01-2020 12:37 AM 481 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: shelving ! Part 8 of a 21st century bench with engineered wood series Part 9: dog holes »

I left my last posting with a question of vise commitment.

While I haven’t committed 100% about which vises to get, I did make a run to the Rockler store with a 20%-off coupon to pick up a simple 7-inch quick release for the end vise. I am pretty sure I will get a Veritas twin-screw for the face vise unless someone convinces me that Hovarter is much better.

I got the end vise first because it was easy to get… and I could size up how much length was required at the end of the bench past the legs. before getting too much further down that road, I also needed some square ends to the bench top parts.

Who knew ? This 10 inch sliding miter can cleanly crosscut 12×3 ~ .. maybe my future doesn’t need a 12 inch miter.

I grit my teeth and hogged out a recess for the iron vise, freehand with a router and spiral bit. It got close and then I cleaned it up with a chisel.

There are a couple disappointing things with Rockler’s vise. The first is that the mounting base is wider than vise jaws by 1/4 inch. This meant that it can not be mounted where the vise jaws are flush with the corner of the bench top. So, I backed it off the corner by 1/2 inch. bummer.

The second problem is that the base is not square to the rear jaw; it is 90 degrees plus a few degrees. Mounting the base flush to the benchtop bottom, the rear jaw cannot be flush benchtop side. In the picture above, I forced the rear jaw to be flush. If you look closely, you may notice that the back mounting flanges are few mm off the bench. I will need to shim this with washers for the final installation.

Beyond these issues, the Rockler vise seems well constructed with a good screw and solid guide bars. I also like that it has a wooden handle instead of a metal rod to turn. The sound that metal rod handles make as they slide and clank gets to me.

Another vise preparation step was preparing the bench top to receive the rear chop of the face vise. Regardless of whether I end up with Veritas , Hovarter, or using pipe clamps; the rear vise chop is ready and planed to its final thickness. To receive the chop, I re-sawed and laminated some 4/4 hickory to the edge of the plywood, leaving a recess of the proper depth and length.

This glue up should have been done in a couple steps. The clamping is chaotic … but it worked.

After hand planing flush, all is looking ok.

After I decide on a front vise, I am sure it will take a while for it to arrive. There are plenty of finishing details to dawdle over between now and then.

-- derek / oregon

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