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Howdy folks,
I was thinking of purchasing a little something to feed my wood working hobby with some of the money I got for X-mas. Having plenty of projects I want to do, but none of the power tools to do them all yet, I was thinking of keeping to the smaller projects for now and investing in a quality vise, which will serve me in basically all future projects.

I currently have a workbench made of 2×4's and plywood top (2×3/4 ply, plus 1/8 sanded sheet to finish it up). I have a skirt (correct lingo?) that's just a 2×6 on the front of my bench, screwed in with 6 (2 per leg) nuts. I currently have a canadian tire portable vise 6" (pretty small when you add 2 layers of 3/4" walnut to pad the vise), which is already showing it's limitations.

So my question is: Which vise should I be looking at? I was looking at the leevalley large front vise (70G08.02) for 75$. Seems like a decent deal. I don't think I need to get a quick release one, although I'm sure that if I did get one, I would appreciate it, but I just can't justify spending an extra 50$ on a vise right now. Plus, that 50$ will probably be spent on buying the wood needed for the vise. I was thinking that the large front vise would be good for when I work on long pieces such as when working on gunstocks.

Would there be any advantages / dissadvantages to getting a steel bench vise instead?

Also, I have to say I don't quite understand what a tail vise would be used for (http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=41664&cat=1,41659). Could anyone enlight me?

Cheers!

David
 

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We all have our own opinions and preferences. Personally, I really like having a quick release vice.

I use the basic Rockler quick release front vise as my main vise.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21523&filter=vises

It's called a "front vise" but I have it mounted at the end of my workbench so I am using it as an "end vise". However, it does not cover the entire end of the table (only about 16").

This vice does not have an impressive name like "Lee Valley" but it is solid and dependable and it has the quick release feature.

FYI - The quick release almost always works quickly and smoothly when pulling the vice out. It's a little more temperamental when pushing the vice in.
 

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I'll 2nd Rich's take on the Rockler quick release vise. I have one on my bench as well and the quick-release is handy and works fairly well. $93 is the regular price…it is frequently available for around $80.
 

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If you will be working mostly with hand tools, then a standard woodworking vice is a good purchase. I rarely use hand tools, opting instead for powered hand tools or stationary machinery. While I do have a woodworkers vice I very rarely use it. I've found that back to back edge clamps that clamp both to the bench and to the work to be best for the way that I work.

Charley
 
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