Portable Bench Build (Part 3) End Vise

Research into vises has been challenging as there is no shortage of them out there. They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and types.

I would love to incorporate a Bench Crafted tail vice  but it’s a wagon vise and I really think I want an end vise. This pains me as I love the Bench Crafted vises and hardware, they are by far the best. I looked into the Veritas Quick-Release Sliding Tail Vise, which is very nice looking and I like their products. Unfortunately it sticks out from under the bench and I would have to remove it for transportation or it will get in the way. Then there is the Lie-Nielsen Tail Vise which I like it a LOT.  It won’t interfere in the truck and it’s an end vise not a wagon vise, giving me the clamping style I want. I cringed at the price initially and said to myself, for a portable bench and one I am not going to be using as my primary bench I just can’t justify it.

So where does that leave me? I could buy a cheap vice of some sort and live with it, or I could build one. I am unsure of pulling off a built one, especially without help. Cheap certainly has its appeal, as well as its negatives. I end up texting my machinist friend David, which leads to spousal approval from both our wives for a weekend of him visiting.

Saturday morning I caught him up with where I was at mentally on the project, and we make a trip to Menards for some basic materials. We spent the afternoon in a friend’s wood shop, he worked on turning a bowl he previously started. I worked on the layout of the bench. Back to my place for dinner and then we ran down to my shop to get started on the vise. Layout, cut, grind, drill, tap…toss in a run to the store for Mountain Dew and we emerged with a slide mechanism similar to the Lie-Nielsen Tail Vise.

Partially complete front view of the end vise.
Partially complete front view of the end vise.

This was far from slapped together, there was a lot of thought and consideration that went into it, oh and caffeine too. We did compromise on the steel as we used hot rolled instead of cold rolled. It’s what we could get locally, it just added to the time required for fabrication.

If you have interest in how it works, read over the installation instructions of the Lie-Nielsen one. They give way better information than I can  provide. Basically the center bar attaches to the bench top, there will be a captured nut attached to this bar that will have an acme threaded rod going through it. The top and bottom rails attach to the moving chop of the vise. Like I said, look at the installation instructions.

Rear view of partially complete end vise.
Rear view of partially complete end vise.

The rest of the pieces for the vise I can make on my own. I’m just not sure if it will be complete for the initial outing of the bench. We’ll see how construction goes before it’s maiden voyage.

Next we start gluing up pieces for the legs.

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