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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 12-20-2016 03:56 AM 846 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1243 posts in 2531 days

12-20-2016 03:56 AM

I’m working on making a roubo style bench from douglas fir. I have a leg vice screw fro Shopfox that I plan to install, and also plan to make a pipe clamp vice for the end of the bench.

My questions are about what wood to use for the vice faces?

The leg vice will be pushing up against the douglas fir leg and bench top. The end vice will be pushing in to the end grain of the douglas fir, unless I put a strip of something there, and will also need another piece to act as the other face of the vice.

I guess the specific questions are:

1) for the end vice, do I need to run a piece of wood across the end grain so I am clamping against face grain instead?
2) For both the leg vice and end vice, can I just use more douglas fir or should I use some maple that I have laying around?


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

8 replies so far

View jdh122's profile


1102 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 12-20-2016 07:20 AM

My thoughts, for what they’re worth:
1) An end vice is mostly used to clamp between dogs rather than actually in the vice itself, which means it doesn’t matter much what the stationary face is made of (endgrain or sidegrain). But even if you will sometimes use it to actually clamp between the faces, the DF endgrain will work fine as long as it’s flat.
2) Personally I’d spring for the maple for the vice faces. I bet that fir would work for this, but why risk it. For the actual leg of the vice I’d be reluctant to trust fir.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Kazooman's profile


1373 posts in 2488 days

#2 posted 12-20-2016 01:14 PM

You are looking for adviCe about a viCe. I would adviSe you to make a viSe for your bench.

Seriously, I agree with Jeremy that maple faces are the way to go. Even though these are woodworking vises, I think that eventually everyone gets around to clamping something other than a board in their vise. Perhaps a belt sander enlisted to sharpen some tools or something similar. The fir would get beat up pretty easily.

View Robert's profile


3555 posts in 2016 days

#3 posted 12-20-2016 03:01 PM

As long as the end is perfectly flat and square you should be OK.

I’ll disagree on the maple. Soft wood like the fir, pine or even plywood is better for vice faces.

Which ever way you go, lining the faces with leather makes a huge difference!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Kazooman's profile


1373 posts in 2488 days

#4 posted 12-20-2016 03:35 PM

Leather would be nice. How do you attach it? I have several pieces of plywood that I surfaced with cork that I use in the vise to protect work pieces. Leather would work even better.

View jmartel's profile


8598 posts in 2686 days

#5 posted 12-20-2016 03:57 PM

Hide glue works to attach leather to wood. And is reversible for when you want to replace the leather.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2531 days

#6 posted 12-22-2016 12:35 AM

Thanks…so it seems like the advice on vises is split! I think I’m going to go with Fir if I have enough left over. If I don’t then I’ll use maple. I can always replace them later.

I have a question about the leather trick…for the leg vise does it go on the moving part, or the bench side? If I put it on the bench side, it would seem to defeat the purpose of having the face of the bench be parallel to the chop (since the leather would ruin the continuity).


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bandit571's profile


23962 posts in 3219 days

#7 posted 12-22-2016 12:56 AM

Leather on mine is on the moving part of the leg vise. Chop is just some 8/4 Sycamore barn wood.

I used just 2x pine on the faces of my end vise. Easier to drill dog holes. A little softer wood in the vise means I don’t mar the surface on parts clamped in the vise.

I use an old pipe clamp for the “screw” on the leg vise. Range right now is from 1/2” to 15” of travel. 24” pipe in the pipe clamp.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2022 days

#8 posted 12-22-2016 01:19 AM

I’d vote for softer wood if you’re not putting leather.

Leather goes on both side of the vise. I’d be more inclined to put a cap over the end grain with leather though I don’t know from it matter so or not.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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