Installing tail vise on plywood topped workbench

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Forum topic by kimx posted 08-10-2018 10:33 AM 855 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 699 days

08-10-2018 10:33 AM

I built the “rock solid plywood bench” by Cecil Braeden from Fine Woodworking issue #181 with a few alterations. Mine has a top constructed from two layers of 3/4” plywood with 1/2” thick cherry edging (his was one layer of plywood and one layer of MDF). Seems very solid but now I’m constructing a traditional tail vise and I’m wondering if anyone has installed a tail vise on a benchtop like this. I’m a little worried that the weight of the tailvise, end cap etc will make the overhanging benchtop sag. I’m building my vise out of cherry and walnut with a maple screw and as I’m starting to dimension the parts, I’m realizing how heavy the whole thing will be. My benchtop is overhanging the legs/base by 13 3/4 inches. I could build extra legs for the overhang behind the tail vise but would love not to. Or could I make a triangular bracket between the top and the overhang for extra support? Any experience, ideas, advice would be most helpful. I might make a solid wood benchtop in the future but I was hoping not to have to go there for a while.

4 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile


1679 posts in 1210 days

#1 posted 08-10-2018 12:19 PM

The plywood top with that overhang would seem to me to be a good candidate for using a Veritas Inset Vise.,41637,41659&p=66819

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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5786 posts in 3121 days

#2 posted 08-10-2018 01:03 PM

I don’t think that installing a traditional vise on a non-traditional bench top is going to work very well. The best solution would be to make a new top in the traditional way or at least the front portion of the bench that will suspend the vise.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16693 posts in 3389 days

#3 posted 08-10-2018 03:25 PM

First thought is to try it and see how it does. You can always add the “triangular bracket between the top and the overhang for extra support” later, if needed. Or even replace the top by the time you see sagging in 1 1/2” of plywood.

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

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2 posts in 699 days

#4 posted 08-10-2018 08:52 PM

Thanks for the thoughts. The Veritas Inset Vise is great for what it does, but I do want the additional capabilities of the tail vise. And I’ve been working on designing the tail vise for the past week so I’m excited about building it! I checked my benchtop this morning though and I’m afraid it’s sagging a tiny bit on the overhang already, even without all the extra weight. I think I’m going to build another leg with a leveler so I can prop up the end and try installing the vise then if it still sags to the point it’s unusable, I may have to bite the bullet and build a traditional bench top. Building something that big and heavy (and flattening it!) scares me. I have a tiny shop and no jointer.

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