Wagon vise or just a leg vise on a Roubo Bench - Thoughts?

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Forum topic by Jeepin85CJ7 posted 03-29-2017 03:00 PM 6808 views 1 time favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jeepin85CJ7's profile


79 posts in 1854 days

03-29-2017 03:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: roubo bench wagon vise benchrafted vises

So I have acquired all of the lumber necessary for my bench build – I have personally milled and dried all of the lumber, so i am ready to start but the vise purchase is holding me back and the time required so far. My plans are to buy the Benchrafted leg vise and possibly the wagon vise.

What I was wondering is for all of those who have installed the vises on their bench builds, whether the wagon vise gets used enough. I don’t plan on planing boards by hand to thickness, however I think it would come in handy with assistance holding projects for power tools.

After a lot of research and debating, I have heard quite a few people on various forums and podcasts mention how they would simply only install the leg vise if they were doing it over.

What are your thoughts on this. I just don’t want to build the bench and then years down the road install a wagon vise.

Thanks for the help.

46 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1065 days

#1 posted 03-29-2017 03:18 PM

I went though the trouble of adding a wagon vise to my bench … I hardly use it! Paul Sellers has a great blog introducing his Vice/Clamp System ... check it out! I have an antique door clamp that I am now using like he uses the aluminum clamp. Perhaps with this approach all you need is the leg vice (??)

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2413 days

#2 posted 03-29-2017 04:14 PM

I like having a vice on the end of my bench to clamp things between dogs. Like a wagon vice but mine is really and end vice with a pop up dog so I can use it to surface clamp. Mine was made from pipe clamps so it was cheap and easy. You could consider that route if you don’t want to spend big bucks on a premade wagon you might not use.


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

View Woodknack's profile


12842 posts in 2798 days

#3 posted 03-29-2017 04:21 PM

I don’t own a leg vise so this is just my thoughts. I love the way they look. Everything about a leg vise says woodworking and for years I wanted one mostly for that reason. But after seeing the viseless holding devices on The Woodwright’s Shop and hearing arguments against leg vise by the guys at Fine Woodworking, I don’t see myself ever having one.

-- Rick M,

View Dan Wolfgang's profile

Dan Wolfgang

176 posts in 1225 days

#4 posted 03-30-2017 01:03 AM

I finished my wagon vise not long ago (, but have absolutely loved it. Combined with a hand screw, it’s proven extremely versatile to hold anything I’ve been working on. I have yet to finish my leg vise but am really glad I added the wagon vise.

View Quikenuff's profile


66 posts in 1287 days

#5 posted 03-30-2017 01:11 AM

I use my wagon vice for all kinds of stuff, sanding, planing, chopping dovetails, routing, any situation where I want to piece held flat against the bench and don’t want to or can’t use a holdfast. Sometimes it’s nice just have a piece not move around on you when you are marking or laying out lines.

You learn to be careful with the amount of pressure you apply, particularly with thin stock, but other than that I find it very convenient.


View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1065 days

#6 posted 03-30-2017 10:22 AM

I finished my wagon vise not long ago ( , but have absolutely loved it. Combined with a hand screw, it s proven extremely versatile to hold anything I ve been working on. I have yet to finish my leg vise but am really glad I added the wagon vise.

- Dan Wolfgang

Dan – I took the liberty and fixed your link! Seems you had the comma too close to the link itself. I didn’t want such a great looking wagon vise to get missed!

View jmos's profile


916 posts in 2787 days

#7 posted 03-30-2017 11:32 AM

I’ve got a leg vise, and my end vise is a twin screw (independent screws/cheap, not Veritas) with dog holes that I can use like a wagon vise. The only time I use the end vise is dovetailing, and even then not all the time. If I was building a new bench I would probably leave the end vise off all together. I find hand planing with a stop much easier than clamping between dogs. At most I’d put on a simple iron vise for the few times I’d use it.

I love the leg vise. Using it, combined with a sliding board jack, I can clamp almost everything. It’s great for long and large items, as well as smaller ones.

-- John

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3051 days

#8 posted 03-30-2017 12:23 PM

I use a plain-jane face vise on my workbench, and have rarely wished for anything “better”. However, I’ve considered the Lee Valley “Pipe Vise” if I were to ever add an additional vise or build a new bench.

View Jeepin85CJ7's profile


79 posts in 1854 days

#9 posted 03-30-2017 12:37 PM

This is some great information! Thanks a lot for all the help. I think I’ll end up with an end vise, I think it just depends on how elaborate it ends up!

View johnstoneb's profile


3115 posts in 2590 days

#10 posted 03-30-2017 01:24 PM

I have both vises and use them both. Put them on during the build. You will want them later.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View bondogaposis's profile


5452 posts in 2769 days

#11 posted 03-30-2017 01:51 PM

I built a Roubo with a leg vise and a wagon vise. I use the wagon vise far more often than the leg vise. I would hate to have a bench that didn’t have both though. Building a serious bench is not something that you are going to want to do very often. I would build as features in from the get go, adding this stuff later is a lot harder.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View chiseler's profile


125 posts in 1306 days

#12 posted 03-30-2017 03:29 PM

I just finished a split top Roubo about 6 months ago with a leg vise and wagon vise (I made the vises myself) and I use the wagon vise the most and I am also a career woodworker , so the bench gets used pretty regularly.they are great for the both the hand tool,and machine woodworker. Since I do both

Hope this helps

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too! Ask me how I know

View Jeepin85CJ7's profile


79 posts in 1854 days

#13 posted 03-31-2017 12:16 PM

I figured I would need both but I kept tossing it around. I think the biggest part was finishing the bench without the wagon vise and then deciding later down the road that I needed it.

I know that would have been a real pain to install after the whole bench was wrapped up.

Glad I posted this, because I was on the fence.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16141 posts in 3036 days

#14 posted 03-31-2017 12:43 PM

Now I’m curious as to the arguments against leg vises on Fine Workworking. How can anyone be against something so simple and utterly capable? Oh, and +1 to an end vise. Vs. a wagon type, it may not be worth the extra effort to do the inset wagon that an end gets you.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View builtinbkyn's profile


2939 posts in 1358 days

#15 posted 03-31-2017 02:19 PM

I think when I build my “fever” bench I’ll use a tail vise, which I haven’t seen mentioned, though I may have missed it. Seems to offer quite a lot of clamping options vs a wagon vise or even and end vise.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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