Pros and Cons of various vise types

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Forum topic by skeemer posted 06-13-2013 10:54 AM 12722 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View skeemer's profile


95 posts in 3647 days

06-13-2013 10:54 AM

So I’m starting my workbench brainstorming and trying to decide what type of bench I want to build. I’ve been doing a lot of research on different styles, have read Christopher Schwartz’s book at least twice, and spent hours looking at various completed benches on LJ. I have a pretty good idea what direction I want to go with the structure of the bench, but I’m still having trouble deciding on what style of workholding I will go with. While I have found plenty of information on the variety of vise types out there, I haven’t really been able to find any information on the pros and cons of different types. I use a mix of power and hand tools, but eventually I would like to transition to mostly hand tool use. So I’m hoping for a little insight into the following:

Leg vise vs. face vise vs. double screw face vise.

End vise vs. wagon vise

I am leaning towards a double screw face vise and an end vise, but I don’t really understand what the role of the wagon vise is and any other end vise types out there.


4 replies so far

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 3667 days

#1 posted 06-13-2013 11:45 AM

After reading this, I think He has me convinced…

I’ll summarize it for you:

1. Leg vise, used in conjunction with a sliding deadman or other support, is better than twin-screw for holding long pieces for edge jointing…Twin-screw vises tend to rack when a piece of wood is put in above the screws, because there is no wood underneath to provide leverage.

2. A separate, raised Moxon-style vise mounted to the workbench is better than a mounted twin-screw vise for dovetailing…because its higher and closer to your arms and eyes.

THEREFORE…if you have both of these vises, you don’t need a twin-screw vise.

3. A wagon vise is better than a tail-vise because traditional block tail vises tend to sag over time.

(the author does not mention an end vise…but if the primary purpose is to hold workpieces against bench dogs for face-planing…then a wagon vise is best…if you simply want to stand at the end of your bench to work on small pieces…then perhaps simply mounting a normal vise on the end would be best…

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 4120 days

#2 posted 06-17-2013 04:35 AM

I have always admired the fancy expensive European workbenches. They look so good and the clamping options with the end vises + dog holes tempted me for ever along with the face vises and leg support. I dreamed about those benches for so long, I was convinced I would own one some day. But my finances always got in the way. So I came up with my own solution. Whether anybody likes it or not doesn’t matter to me because I now have a bench that has far exceeded my expectations of a workbench. It’s a long thread with lots of pictures but here is my bench

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View LokisTyro's profile


46 posts in 3146 days

#3 posted 06-17-2013 07:26 AM

I drool over those lovely twin-screw chain drive shoulder vises. Do those have racking issues as well?

-- -Andy ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4197 days

#4 posted 06-17-2013 01:14 PM

I put the Veritas Twin Screw Vise on my workbench. I like it, however, it is expensive and much more of a limited utility vise than I expected, IMO. I truly believe that this vise is most useful for those doing predominately hand tool woodworking, and for that it excels. It is my belief that those of us predominately using power tools with a minimum of hand tool use, you/we can get by with much less vise capacity.

That said, the twin screw still has the “cool” factor going for it. ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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