How an impatient noob installs a 6" vise on his bench

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Project by palaswood posted 09-26-2013 06:31 PM 4630 views 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have needed a vise on my bench for so long. When I say so long I mean forever. When I say forever I mean 8 months, when I started working wood in the first place.

My recent attempt at jointing edges without a proper vice (thats some home milled black mulberry btw):

This clamping madness had to stop.

I got this Irwin 6 1/2 in woodworking vise on Amazon 4 months ago for sixteen bucks – so for the money, can’t go wrong. Being an impatient procrastinator is not conducive to getting projects completed, and not at them being very well executed anyway. I generally put it off, and put if off until I get fed up and then just rush through it to get it over with.

Such is as with this vise install. I glued up a couple pieces of scrap pine to make a block to beef up the corner of the bench where the vise would go. I clamped it and waited overnight. In the morning I had a nice solid block which would work perfectly, so I proceeded to do nothing else with it for about 2 months. I’m tellin you, I’m the worst.

Then one day I pick it back up and chisel out the recesses in the block so my jaw will fit all snuggly in.

Also sawed and chiseled out a place for the vise mechanism into my bench (and not very well). Then let 2 more months pass. Seriously, I have a problem folks.

So now I wanna cut some dovetails. So now I wanna joint some edges with my brand spanking old Stanley #6C (new to me). So I need a vise. Damn. Why didnt I install this sooner….

So the jaw fits after some fine tuning with the chisel and now I have to figure out how to mount it to my bench. This bench was made using the Quick and Dirty Glue and Screw method so lets keep that going why don’t we.

Planed flat the block and where the bench will contact the block in preparation for glue up.

Lined everything up and predrilled some pilot holes for the screws I will be using – lucky me the scrap piece already had a hole in a spot that was fine by me, so I made one more on the other end, then spread Titebond original on both the block and the bench, set it, clamped it semi-tight, screwed it and tightened the clamps.

Wiped up the squeeze out with a damp rag, and let it set for a few hours. I would have let it set overnight, but I am impatient after all.

I mounted the rear jaw with a couple of long wood screws. All in all the whole thing seems pretty damn sturdy if I do say so myself. And I do.

I got two matching scrap boards as softjaws, just some pine, so I could get going, and didn’t even screw them in – I was rushing at this point as it was creeping into the wee hours of the morning

I had to give it a try so I made a Quick and Dirty Marking Gauge out of some scrap pine, which let me use the vise for planing and chiseling.

God this is so much better than just clamping junk down to my bench or trying to do things sideways!

I’m kicking myself for putting this off for so long. With this vise securely attached, I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole new world (don’t you dare close your eyes).

Now for some custom vise jaws – I have some nice maple which needs to be used up, and in about 2 more months I’m sure that installing those jaws will finally come to pass.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

26 comments so far

View Joe's profile


80 posts in 3019 days

#1 posted 09-26-2013 06:34 PM

Looks like that will work. Doesn’t have to be pretty!

-- It's better to have a tool and not need it than to need a tool and not have it.

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2828 days

#2 posted 09-26-2013 06:35 PM

Its a million times better than what I was doing before… A bazillion times better

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5174 days

#3 posted 09-26-2013 06:40 PM


Have you made any bench fixtures (shooting board, bench hooks, etc.)?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5174 days

#4 posted 09-26-2013 06:41 PM

Oh and saw benches?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2828 days

#5 posted 09-26-2013 06:48 PM

I got some great stuff recently for making a shooting board:

Throw outs from an office furniture maker near me. Hardwood ply, some prefinished with that lovely slick poly surface.

Looks like I have a project for tonight!

I really love the walnut veneered mdf – its unfinished so i can choose what i wanna go with – what do you suggest?

Saw benches…yeah, thats maybe a weekend project…

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5174 days

#6 posted 09-26-2013 07:04 PM

A planing stop would also probably be useful…

Bench hooks would probably also be really useful. You can use one to saw on top of your bench.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dbray45's profile


3408 posts in 3853 days

#7 posted 09-26-2013 07:10 PM

Everybody starts somewhere – if it works – its all good.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2828 days

#8 posted 09-26-2013 07:17 PM

Thanks for the tips Wayne

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View doubleDD's profile


10350 posts in 3120 days

#9 posted 09-27-2013 12:46 AM

Joseph, I bought 2 similar vises years ago and it took me 3 years to mount one and two years after that to mount the other. You can sure say that they are great to have when you need them.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4081 days

#10 posted 09-27-2013 01:23 AM

If it does the intended purpose, it is a good install

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3229 days

#11 posted 09-27-2013 08:55 AM

I need a vise badly as well, but haven’t wanted to shell out money. But for 16 bucks, this one looks like it’d be a great one to at least start off with. I’ve seen them at Home Depot, too. Looks like HD trashed all their Jorgensen stuff and replaced it all with Irwin.

Thanks for sharing this. I had a good laugh reading it!

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

View woodenwarrior's profile


255 posts in 3271 days

#12 posted 09-27-2013 09:30 AM

If it makes you feel any better, my wife swears I’m the guy that teaches procrastinators their craft. I received a Rockler dovetail jig for Christmas in 2010. It sat in the shop unused, still in the box until…ooooohh…I dunno…2 months ago(in my defense, I was deployed to Afghanistan for one of those 3 years). I love using it, but sometimes it just takes me a little more time than most to getting around to doing certain things.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View MrFid's profile


908 posts in 2981 days

#13 posted 09-27-2013 10:38 AM

Shining, Shimmering, Splendid! Tell me, prince(ss), when did you last let your heart decide?

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Ben Simms's profile

Ben Simms

191 posts in 3368 days

#14 posted 09-27-2013 12:22 PM

I did the exact same thing, but i used a jig saw.

-- I played with Legos as a kid and I never had the part I thought I needed, so I learned to improvise. Now I'm an engineer with a woodworking hobby.

View woodshop101's profile


11 posts in 2957 days

#15 posted 09-27-2013 03:26 PM

I see what you did there…nice Aladdin reference!

During the summer I don’t work in my shop hardly at all…too hot, so all these ideas build up and the list of things the loml wants built just accrues. I’m looking forward to cooler weather here down Texas way!

-- Justin, Ft. Worth, TX

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