End vise finishing touches

Scott H

Scott
User
I am 95% done with the end vise for my small workbench. Had a lot of struggles with the design because the overhang area is very small. The only things I know for sure I am still going to do to it are to chamfer the dog holes in the moving jaw and put on some kind of jaw liner (cork/rubber or leather probably.)

I did have a few random questions I could use advice on though.

Metal vise dog - I didn't really plan ahead and the metal dog in the metal jaw vise is blocked by the wood jaw because the vise jaw is inset. I don't strictly need it but it would be nice to have that dog available. I can easily cut a channel for it, but also due to the thickness of the bench and the travel on the metal dog I don't think it would stick up more than like 1/8" above the benchtop. Has anyone ever made a longer dog for these style of vises to sit in the same hole? Do you think you'd have to go metal since it's only ~3/8" thick or would a dense hardwood work? I am a little worried about levering against the cast iron mortise the dog sits in with a longer dog... I feel like I saw a video where someone (Paul Sellers?) makes a replacement dog for this style of vise but I can't remember where it is.

Toe-in - There is about 3/32" gap at the bottom (over 3-1/4" bench thickness) when the vise is closed, even when I tighten it up hard. So when I clamp a tall piece in the vise it does not really have both faces bearing along the entire height. I'm planning on the jaw liner being at least 1/16" thick, possibly 1/8", so either of those x 2 should cover that gap if it compresses enough in use. Should I just leave the toe-in as is and assume when the jaw liner is in there it will help take up that gap at the bottom so there is pressure along the whole workpiece height? Or should I tweak the jaw before I put liner on.

Thanks in advance, the help I got in this forum for the leg vise helped a lot.

IMG-9590.jpg
 

pop-pop

Man with many vises
User
For the dog, I’d suggest a tough hardwood like ash.

Cut a dado for clearance in your chop and then make a housing for the dog to support it against the clamping force. The housing could be a block of hardwood with a dado to fit around the dog and a couple of screws to fasten it to the chop.

Optionally, fancy the housing up with a couple of ogees on the ends.
 
Last edited:

Scott H

Scott
User
For the dog, I’d suggest a tough hardwood like ash.

Cut a dado for clearance in your chop and then make a housing for the dog to support it against the clamping force. The housing could be a block of hardwood with a dado to fit around the dog and a couple of screws to fasten it to the chop.

Optionally, fancy the housing up with a couple of ogees on the ends.
That was the best solution I could come up with too. I wish I hadn't rounded the arrises on the chop already but I can make do.
 

pop-pop

Man with many vises
User
That was the best solution I could come up with too. I wish I hadn't rounded the arrises on the chop already but I can make do.
A couple of thoughts:
1. Shorten the block height by the rounding radius.
2. Convert the rounding to a small chamfer and make a matching chamfer on the block.
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
Why chamfer the dog holes? If they are 3/4" a spring loaded dog will work fine. Drill a hole all the way through and insert a hinge pin so you can push up the dog from the bottom. I would caution against any major rounding on the bottom as it will inhibit the ability to vertically clamp - learned the hard way.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Great idea, it looks good and I think you will get a lot of use out of it too!
I wouldn't bother with the vise dog, if you need a center dog, why not simply drill another hole... if you see that you need it?
I would however, correct the toe-in of the chop. if you don't, I think you will not have the holding power you want on some project, JUST when you need it!
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Why chamfer the dog holes? If they are 3/4" a spring loaded dog will work fine. Drill a hole all the way through and insert a hinge pin so you can push up the dog from the bottom. I would caution against any major rounding on the bottom as it will inhibit the ability to vertically clamp - learned the hard way.
@JohnnyR I'm not sure I understand the hinge pin and through hole? If I am putting it in the center there is not a lot of access to the underside of the wooden chop because of the screw and guide bars.

viseclearance.jpg

(The holes in the benchtop are going to have a slight chamfer so when dogs or holdfasts press against the rim of the hole during clamping they are less likely to break out a little chip of the yellow pine top. I guess it doesn't matter as much on the vise chop because the grain is going perpendicular to the clamping pressure + I won't use holdfasts in them, but it would look nice and match. It's a tiny chamfer like between 1/16" and 1/8".)
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Great idea, it looks good and I think you will get a lot of use out of it too!
I wouldn't bother with the vise dog, if you need a center dog, why not simply drill another hole... if you see that you need it?
I would however, correct the toe-in of the chop. if you don't, I think you will not have the holding power you want on some project, JUST when you need it!
When should I stop planing? When both jaws become parallel to the workpiece when you close the vise tightly?
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
When should I stop planing? When both jaws become parallel to the workpiece when you close the vise tightly?
yes, unless there is slop in the vice face, that when you close it the bottom racks to make the faces parallel.
If they are parallell you can lay a square on the rods of the open vise and see where you need to take material off the faces. finally you can use carbon paper or another colorant (lamp black works, but it is hard to get off...) of one face and see that you are making an impression on the other face....

With all that said, if you can clamp a board in it and when chiseling or planeing, it doesn't move... add your jaw liner, and get to work! LOL

BTW, if you are looking for cheap liner - I got mine at the goodwill store - lifting weight belts, I think I got 40-60 sq. in. for $5.00! Obviously it is hit and miss, but a REALLY cheap way to get some leather...
 

Scott H

Scott
User
You know, I think I am overthinking the toe-in. I put a spare 1"x3.5" board in the vise with some loose shelf liner on either side, dead center in the jaws, so it stuck out 24"+ vertically, and clamped the vise down hard. I couldn't get it to rotate with hand pressure although I didn't take a mallet to it. I don't think I am going to need much better than that.

IMG-9599.jpg
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
You know, I think I am overthinking the toe-in. I put a spare 1"x3.5" board in the vise with some loose shelf liner on either side, dead center in the jaws, so it stuck out 24"+ vertically, and clamped the vise down hard. I couldn't get it to rotate with hand pressure although I didn't take a mallet to it. I don't think I am going to need much better than that.

View attachment 200225
Grab it and pull it side to side, that is where I had my problem, not only "toe-in" but I had a little "cant" from one side of the vise to the other, so when I clamped a board, if I didn't clamp-down hard, one end of a board would shift down when I tried to joint an edge.

If that works - you are good to go!
Start making large wood into chips and sawdust!
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Grab it and pull it side to side, that is where I had my problem, not only "toe-in" but I had a little "cant" from one side of the vise to the other, so when I clamped a board, if I didn't clamp-down hard, one end of a board would shift down when I tried to joint an edge.

If that works - you are good to go!
Start making large wood into chips and sawdust!
Yeah that is what I did. It seems pretty sturdy.

I tried it with the workpiece in the far left side of the jaw and a spacer in the right side and it does not grip quite as well (I assume because each piece gets half the jaw force?) but in that case I could probably reduce the stick out to "only" 12" to halve the torque arm which is still way more than I would typically ever work with.
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
@JohnnyR I'm not sure I understand the hinge pin and through hole? If I am putting it in the center there is not a lot of access to the underside of the wooden chop because of the screw and guide bars.

View attachment 200224

(The holes in the benchtop are going to have a slight chamfer so when dogs or holdfasts press against the rim of the hole during clamping they are less likely to break out a little chip of the yellow pine top. I guess it doesn't matter as much on the vise chop because the grain is going perpendicular to the clamping pressure + I won't use holdfasts in them, but it would look nice and match. It's a tiny chamfer like between 1/16" and 1/8".)
Firstly, I don't think you need a chamfer but it won't hurt. I was speaking of the two holes in the vise. On mine they're deep enough to push the dog down flush and I push up the hinge pin from the bottom to raise them.
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Firstly, I don't think you need a chamfer but it won't hurt. I was speaking of the two holes in the vise. On mine they're deep enough to push the dog down flush and I push up the hinge pin from the bottom to raise them.
Oh, okay, yeah. I thought you were making a suggestion about adding a dog to the center of the jaw. The two dog holes on the left + right side of the wooden jaw are through holes already. I made my dogs pretty long (about 2.5"-3" longer than the bench is thick) so I can always push them in from one side and then grab from the other, but the hinge pin seems like a good trick for the metal manufactured ones that tend to come a lot shorter.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Oh, okay, yeah. I thought you were making a suggestion about adding a dog to the center of the jaw. The two dog holes on the left + right side of the wooden jaw are through holes already. I made my dogs pretty long (about 2.5"-3" longer than the bench is thick) so I can always push them in from one side and then grab from the other, but the hinge pin seems like a good trick for the metal manufactured ones that tend to come a lot shorter.
Scott,
I suggested putting a center dog hole rather than making a longer dog "finger?" just thinking it would be easier... frankly, since it is just drilling a hole, I would leave it and see if you ever need just a center dog...
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Scott,
I suggested putting a center dog hole rather than making a longer dog "finger?" just thinking it would be easier... frankly, since it is just drilling a hole, I would leave it and see if you ever need just a center dog...
Yup, I got your suggestion loud and clear, I'm definitely pondering it. The thing I'm not sure about is the best style of dog/dog hole to be able to pull it out later since I can't reach beneath due to the screw and guide bars, and how to minimize the chance of sawdust getting trapped. I guess the simplest one is a through hole and a dog with a "head" like the blue plastic Kreg dogs + an easy slip fit in the hole. If any sawdust falls onto the vise screw or guides it will be on the portion that never gets used since by definition it is under the wood jaw.

I found the Paul Sellers video I was thinking of. I misremembered -- it is about making a dog for a vise that doesn't come with one. That is why I couldn't find it.

 

Scott H

Scott
User
After sleeping on it, I think I will probably adjust the toe-in soonish and defer working on a center dog solution until needed. The fact that both faces don't close around flat parts will bother me every time something slips if I don't. It will be a bit later for the toe-in because this workbench top is currently on risers on top of the only workbench I can comfortably plane large parts on, so I'm going to have to think of how to arrange this so I can iterate. I guess in theory I can just wait until the whole bench is assembled which is hopefully sooner than later.
 
Last edited:

Scott H

Scott
User
I managed to tune the toe-in today. I ended up being able to do it without moving my setup too much. I am not sure how much it improved the holding power if at all, but it hasn't harmed it either. I don't know how many times I have to re-learn that friction is not proportional to contact area.

In any case I can grip an 0.010" shim all the way around the vise without liner, there are 1 or 2 places where the very corner of a piece of paper won't clamp but I think jaw liner will take up the few thousandths needed to do that. The issue in those cases is is the workbench end and not the moving chop.
 

Scott H

Scott
User
Well, I am hesitant to post this update because it's a pretty extreme solution, but maybe if nothing else I can serve as a warning to others.

This is the backstory of how this end vise work started: Because this was intended to be a "smaller" (not very long) workbench to fit in a limited space, I originally did not plan for an end vise. I did not leave very much overhang on the ends (only 3-1/2".) I switched to a leg vise design for the front vise when I realized mounting this quick release vise would not leave much clamping space between the legs. I now had an extra vise to do something with, so I thought I'd use it as an end vise.

Now, since the overhang was so short, it was pretty complicated to figure out how to attach the end vise such that it opened wide enough to be useful with the front dog hole row. I have to skip one dog hole for the 3-1/2" wide legs so I wanted the vise to open as wide as I could get it.

The original plan I came up with was to essentially tap the rear jaw holes and attach an ~3/8" facing block to the rear metal jaw, which was inset into the end of the bench. This was the best I could come up with after thinking about it for quite a while. This gave me an opening of 6" and initially it looked pretty great.

IMG-9593.jpg

Unfortunately, after using it in practice, if you get the vise to shift even a tiny bit (eg from overtightening), you now have a "step" between the rear jaw covering and the bench end. This is not what you want right in the middle of a vise. Getting it back to perfect was virtually impossible, at best extremely fiddly. I would be hesitant to use the vise at all at this rate. I needed a flat bench end that would be able to withstand small shifts in the vise mounting position.

I thought about various ways to achieve this, most of which involved end caps. I didn't want to re-do my moving wooden jaw. In the end, though, there was only one that seemed like it would guarantee a dead flat bench while also maintaining the 6" opening distance: I cut the rear jaw off the vise with a hacksaw to convert it to a hybrid under-mount vise.

IMG-9634.jpg

I glued up an end grain block to cover the 1-1/16" deep "pocket" the rear jaw of the vise originally sat in, so it would be rigid and ideally move similarly to the rest of the bench with moisture. The filler block is glued and doweled into the end of the bench. I cut it flush by kerfing around all the cut lines with a Japanese saw and then letting the kerfs guide the saw to cut it off, then hand planing it down from ~1/16" proud to flush. There are some glue lines that don't look great but more of it is pencil + titebond III residue than it looks at first glance.

IMG-9742.jpg

I also spray painted the raw cast iron exposed from the cut with rust-oleum to protect it.

IMG-9664.jpg

In the end, I am pretty happy with the result, given the constraints and what I didn't know when I started. The vise grips very securely in the center. The mounting will shift slightly if you really intentionally try to rack the vise + overtighten, but that has little effect on the usability of the vise. It can be easily shifted back into position if needed since it doesn't rely on being mounted super precisely. I will need to use a rack stopping aid when using it with the front dog hole line; the 14" long jaw is just too much leverage for a 7" vise.

I still had to do a little cut-out on the bottom edge of the bench end because there was maybe ~1/8" of vise jaw left from my imperfect hacksawing. But it is hardly noticeable.

IMG-9754.jpg

The main things I learned are:
  • You really need a decent amount of overhang to accommodate most end vise styles, especially if you are planning to put your dog row in a line that passes through your bench leg. Sufficient overhang would have made this trivial.
  • These vises, at least the cheaper ones, are not high precision instruments. They are just not precision repeatable to attach/detach, adjust, etc. If you loosen the screws or lags, expect things to be just slightly different when you re-tighten them.
  • Even if you do mostly small work, a bench can be too short in the sense that it's complicated to design even if the top could hold all of your workpieces fine.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top