Jorgensen Front & Rockler Tail Vise Upgrades

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Project by FJPetruso posted 12-08-2009 07:15 AM 17311 views 10 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I knew that I was going to have a woodworking shop some day so I was constantly on the watch for sales & bargains to accessorize my shop to be. I still have a few item left in boxes that need to be installed but I just installed 2 of my best purchases. Approximately 2 years ago & at two separate visits to Rockler I purchased a Rockler 12” Quick Release Tail Vise at better than 50% off & later a Jorgensen 10” Rapid Release Front Vise at 50% off. (I love a bargain!) The vises were to be installed on my 6 foot Sjobergs Woodworking bench.

First I installed the Jorgensen vise. To start with I had to install cleats on the bottom of the bench to mount the vise to. Then I started to recess the vise into the left front of the bench so the back jaw was flush. When I started to inlet the vise I quickly started having trouble. The rear jaw casting isn’t quite parallel as related to the face of the rear jaw to the mount side of the rear jaw. Mounting & dismounting the vise & flipping the top over & over got old real fast. Then I remembered an old accurizing method for my hunting rifle “glass bedding the action”. I routed out enough of the front of the bench to make all the surface of the rear jaw flush with the face. Then I clamped a flat milled piece of hardwood in the new vise. Next I clamped a piece of hardwood to the top of the bench where the top of the vise is to be flush with the top. After turning the top of the bench front edge up, I masked off the wood around the inletting & mixed up some epoxy & put a thick coat in the routed recess. Now I set the vise into the inlet flush with the top & clamped the piece of wood that was clamped in the jaws of the new vise to the front of the bench & let it set over night. In the morning I cleaned up the tape & epoxy & installed the bolts that mount the vise to the bench. I also took a tip from a fellow Lumber Jock & used leather to cover the cast iron jaw faces. Leather is very good for this kind of padding & takes up a lot less of the jaw opening than wood faces. The leather works great.

Now for the Rockler Tail Vise… I also had to install cleats for this vise first. Care has to be taken to be accurate when milling & placing the mounting cleats under your bench because the rear plate actually rides against the bottom of the bench & acts as a rear support making the vise more sturdy. (The diagram on the instructions SHOWS this but there nothing WRITTEN in the instructions about this.) Next & according to the instructions I made the vise faces & temporairly mounted the rear face to the bench. Here’s where I deviated from the instructions. The instructions say to use the “vise plate” to mark the position of the holes for the rear vise face. It’s a whole lot better to use the “REAR plate” for marking the rear vise face. The rear plate is flat steel & about 1/4 inch thick… Easy to mark through… The vise plate is a NOT flat casting & about 4 inches wide & very hard to mark through. After trimming the vise faces & attaching them to the castings I have two very cool heavy duty vises.

Special Note:!!! If you have a Sjobergs bench & plan to install a Rockler tail vise. And plan on installing it inline with the dog holes already in your bench. You should know that the dog holes in the bench line up perfectly with the guide rods on the vise. This means that in the area over the vise mechanism You CANNOT use hold fasts, clamps or bench dogs that are hardly any longer than the thickness of your bench because they will hit the guide rods & mount. My bench is about 3 inches thick.

Next I plan on making a tool tray / shaving troft for the rear of the bench. Most of the information that I have read on making woodworking benches says that it’s about 50% / 50% as to wether or not woodworkers like them or not. I want it to look like it’s made as a part of the bench but I plan on making supports to attach to the underside of the bench top to make it solidly attached but easily removable.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

6 comments so far

View Abe Low's profile

Abe Low

111 posts in 4654 days

#1 posted 12-08-2009 08:00 AM

Great job, great bench. Being quite lazy, I didn’t inlet the front or tail vices. I just added wood to the bench skirts to make the bench flush with the jaws.

-- Abe Low, Fine furniture, Sacramento, CA

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4481 days

#2 posted 12-08-2009 01:01 PM

Looks good!

View gerrym526's profile


287 posts in 4617 days

#3 posted 12-09-2009 01:21 AM

Nice job-you’re going to love that Jorgenson quick release front vise! I’ve had one on my workbench for about 15yrs now.
One suggestion-I mounted 1 inch thick hard maple jaws to the Jorgenson using the countersunk screw holes on the front jaw, and tapped screw holes on the back jaw. The wood jaws are much gentler on your pieces being clamped than bare metal.

-- Gerry

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 4613 days

#4 posted 12-10-2009 07:30 AM

You will enjoy your wood working with this nice bench and the vice attached to it.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View a1Jim's profile


118104 posts in 4385 days

#5 posted 12-10-2009 07:33 AM

View FJPetruso's profile


331 posts in 4518 days

#6 posted 12-15-2009 04:45 AM

I’ve been using the bench with the new vises for over a week now & really enjoy working on projects with them now. I especially like having the extra depth in the jaws of the vise over the stock Sjobergs vises that came with the woodworking bench. The quick release features of both of the vises is also a joy to work with. No more spinning the vise handle ‘round n ‘round with my finger when changing from a small vise opening to a larger opening, or “vise-versa”. (Pardon the pun.) The added extra weight that the 2 cast iron vises give to the bench has made the bench quite a bit more stable for planing & sanding also.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

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