Shop-made Workbench Tail Vise (about $45 instead of $250)

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Project by ChuckM posted 05-12-2019 02:29 PM 3063 views 10 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It is nice to have a tail vise, but instead of spending $250 – $300 on a commercial one like this –, I went online and got myself a CNC high precision machine vise for about $45. I turned the vise over and mounted it to my bench and use it as a tail vise. I found out that I could still use the upside-down jaws on the bottom for certain tasks.

Investment – $45 plus a few hours in the shop.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

12 comments so far

View sawdustjeff's profile


24 posts in 2317 days

#1 posted 05-12-2019 05:18 PM

Chuck, that’s a great idea.
I’ve been looking for a low cost tail vice but never thought about CNC. What company is the manufacturer of your vice? And where on the web did you locate it?

View ChuckM's profile


649 posts in 4442 days

#2 posted 05-12-2019 05:35 PM

Aliexpress ($3 off for first-time users) and eBay are possible sources; some offering free shipping or for a few bucks (to North America):

Examples -

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View LittleBlackDuck's profile (online now)


4720 posts in 1597 days

#3 posted 05-12-2019 07:15 PM

Hey C’kM, Speaking from someone that has forked out that elusive $250+ for a tail vice…. that is a neat and costly solution, well worth a place on any bench.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View ChuckM's profile


649 posts in 4442 days

#4 posted 05-12-2019 07:42 PM

No argument with that, LBD. Gordon’s stuff is first-class.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View hutchmp's profile


43 posts in 3728 days

#5 posted 05-12-2019 09:37 PM

I love ideas like this. Thanks much for sharing.


-- Hutch

View TheQueTip's profile


118 posts in 4007 days

#6 posted 05-13-2019 01:27 AM

Slick idea Chuck. Will go on my favorite list (and something that I need to build into my bench).

Thanks for sharing

-- TheQueTip, Killeen Texas - All tools I've purchased from Harbor Freight eventually became a hammer.

View swirt's profile


5236 posts in 3748 days

#7 posted 05-13-2019 01:58 AM

Very clever.

-- Galootish log blog,

View therealSteveN's profile


5773 posts in 1350 days

#8 posted 05-13-2019 03:33 AM

This one on that famous auction site made in Chiner, my problem with this one is it’s 7.6” long. I dunno how much travel a person would see with that, but looks like a dead ringer for the pic ChuckM posted.

I can’t imagine how they get much more than an inch, maybe 2 of travel. The much larger LN, and LV offerings also offer a 7 3/4” for LV, and 6.5’ for LN in travel, which is where you would really want to be for decent functionality.

-- Think safe, be safe

View ChuckM's profile


649 posts in 4442 days

#9 posted 05-13-2019 04:41 AM

I measured, and mine has 3” of travel.

In use, I probably wouldn’t need a 7” of travel for clamping, and if I do, I can easily use a spacer block which is quicker than winding the jaw up and down. The spacing between holes is also a factor. The Lee Valley vise caters for dog-hole spacing up to 7-3/4”.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View CampD's profile


1817 posts in 4262 days

#10 posted 05-13-2019 01:10 PM

Thanks for sharing!

-- Doug...

View Planeman40's profile


1499 posts in 3537 days

#11 posted 05-13-2019 05:07 PM

That’s slicker ‘n deer guts on a door knob Chuck! Great idea!

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View PaulChau's profile


37 posts in 1737 days

#12 posted 05-28-2019 07:23 AM

This is why I love forums. All these little tips and hacks that the collective brain power of the internet can provide to you is irreplaceable! I reckon that I have one of these in storage somewhere that I can now repurpose as opposed to having to buy a brand new tail vice from the store. Thanks for this!

-- Paul Chau, manager at:

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