What You Will Get Here
- Understanding Bench Vise with Its types
- What to do with a Bench Vise?
- How does a Bench Vise work?
- How did we pick the best?
- Basic consideration for buying Bench vise
- Our Top 10 Best products
- Best for Budget : TEKTON 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise | 54004
- Best for Multipurpose Operation : Grizzly G7062 Multi-Purpose 5-Inch Bench Vise
- List of 5 other Bench Vise We Reviewed
- How to Install a Bench Vise?
- Safety Tips
- Care and Maintenance Tips
Understanding Bench Vise with Its types
A vise is any mechanical apparatus that holds a segment of workpiece tightly in place. It’s used mostly in metal works and woodworking. It functions like extra strong and sturdy hands holding a workpiece.
These devices also possess two clamps to help set the workpiece firmly in place. Many of these devices are arranged on a bench, hence the term bench vise.
Bench vises were in existence in many workshops before 1750. Clamping was done using a hammer and wedge. However, securely holding the workpiece was hard since the tool could only move radially. In 1750, the introduction of a moveable horizontal jaw of the vise revolutionized the gadget.
Then, anyone who required gripping a workpiece manipulated the movable half of the vice to adjust the workpiece horizontally. The preferred construction material was die cast iron. However, with the numerous pores left after the metal settles, the vise didn’t have much tensile to withstand high compression.
In 1830, the invention of robust forged steel manufacturing techniques changed all these. The steel bench vise transformed the functions of a fastener with sturdy and compact materials that have enabled vise to manipulate increasingly tougher and heavier elements. This design and construction are considered the father of the modern-day bench vise. Despite the numerous improvements, basically, this structure is what constitutes the modern day gripping devices.
There are numerous types of vice for workbench. Front vise enables you to either clamp a workpiece at the edge of a workbench using two popping jaws on either side of the fastener. It also grips large parts utilizing the functions of a dead man as well as gripping elements on top of the workbench via a bench dog. These prevent the twisting of the workpiece when you use only one clamp to hold your work plane.
An end vise is another type of a bench vise. It usually sits on the right-hand edge of a workbench and uses one central screw set to the corners of the bench top. It has a flexible jaw featuring multiple bench dog holes at the top aligned to the front row of dog holes on the workbench.
A front vise and an end vise are similar since they both have a screw and two rods. These features allow you to set your work either horizontally if you want to plan a board, or upright when you want to place dovetails along a workpiece edge. But front vise offers more versatility in their gripping tasks.
Broadly, two types of bench vises exist, the woodworking vices and the engineering vise. The former is designed for wood products. Hence, it’s specially designed to clamp the timber workpiece using jaws that are wood encased. This trait prevents clamp marks from showing off on the project pieces.
The engineering type is mainly designed for metal works. It’s heavy to support the massive steel workpieces firmly robustly. Further, it features a flat metal jaw designed to grip metal objects.
I have spent days researching and testing different vise brands. In the process, I analyzed the top ten vises used by DIY and professional contractors. By undertaking different gripping activities from small to big, I list the top ten vise brands as below.
What to do with a Bench Vise?
Bench vises are very versatile tools. They perform many functions, such as undertaking cutting, drilling, sanding or gluing.
A vise helps you to cut through or along the edges of work materials fast and precisely. Since the clamps secure the workpiece firmly, there is no worry about wobbling or uneven cuts. Besides, it frees both your hands, so you work more quickly.
Drilling a narrow hole through a thick board needs greater precision. Both the piece and the device have to be stable to produce a perfect drill. With a bench vise, you can drill to your specific measurements.
Sanding is usually slow and boring. Besides, it produced much dust that hinders your proper assessment of the surface. This is why you need a bench vise to enhance the stability of the worktop. A firm surface allows you to apply more pressure finishing your work much faster and smoother.
Gluing may be very messy if you smear incorrectly. And when the surface is uneven, it could spread to all unwanted locations. The best vices eliminate all these risks and allow you to apply glue at precisely when you intend. Further, a bench vise facilitates a faster and better drying of the adhesive.
How does a Bench Vise work?
A bench vise works by gripping a project in place securely for multiple manipulation positions and precise reach. It has clamps and jaws that set, whatever that you are working on an area.
They feature clamps on both or one side adjustable with a screw to set a project in position. They have toggles to place the workpiece upright or horizontally, depending on which side you plan to work on.
The bench vises can utilize the edge or center of a workbench. Besides, they are flexible to specific positions. These features make work easier since they enable you to hold a piece at the most conducive height, location, and grip. Further, they allow you to use both hands freely.
As such, vices allow you to drill better, cut precisely as well as sand more evenly. Bench vises vary in sizes and capacities; therefore, you can capture a small precision or electronic tool snugly in position during repairs or construction.
How did we pick the best?
My assessment is intended for DIY enthusiasts who want to improve their woodworking or metal working performance. Although in this assessment, we also understand that you could be planning to commence a fabrication venture, although you don't have any prior practical experience using these tools.
If a bench vise is what you are looking for, then we have provided you with adequate necessary information regarding the same.
I exhaustively examined numerous features of a workbench vice. Harnessing my many years of personal practical experience using different bench vices, I am confident of the factors I have based my assessment.
My knowledge notwithstanding, I have spent several months reviewing the internet to gather the different features as well as the benefits and shortfalls of each bench vise. I also managed to consult several reputable bench vise bloggers to gather their opinions on the performance of various bench vise. Besides, I collected the bench vise review ratings to conclude the last ten models listed herein.
Basic consideration for buying Bench vise
I have undertaken a thorough assessment of the vise reviews to come up with this report. In this study, numerous features make a bench vise stand out from the rest. These traits are the determining factors that I used to establish the ranking of the bench vices that I have finally selected include the following:
These are the bench vice components that grip the wood or metal object during such manipulation. There are metal or wooden jaws. In case they are metallic but are designed mostly for woodwork, these jaws usually have a wooden bracing to guide against marring the workpiece. The wood facing of a jaw is called a cheek. Most movable jaws have flexible dogs that brace the work against the stationary bench dog located flush to the work surface. You should consider the jaw size as well as style – flat jaws are more versatile - when looking for a good vise.
To work well most bench vises have rotating bases. These features allow for the planning of circular or angular cuts of the project materials. The bottom, therefore, is spiraled on a rotational gear. These gears swivel horizontally, or diagonally to deliver more complex patterns on the project material. Further, swiveling allows for easy access to the recessed areas of the work.
There are two mounting mechanisms on a bench vise. The bolt-on type features three or four bolts securing the bench top to the worktop. Bolting allows the bench vise to withstand higher pressure and heavy load. The clamp mounting system, on the other hand, is easier to set up. It is usually preferred when you desire to work temporarily at a location before removing the vise to another spot. Clamps work well where the work pressure is low. However, this mounting method doesn't provide the security afforded by the bolts.
Sometimes you need to hammer and straighten your project material. Hitting the worktop directly could damage the bracket clamps as well as the surface. Therefore, an anvil is necessary. An anvil is a flat metal top layered on top of the vice to withstand the impact of the hammer hits.
You usually use a screw to fasten a clamp on the work material. Once the job is complete, you need to unfasten the latch. A quick release mechanism allows for an instant release of the spindle instead of manually twisting the vice all the way once you complete the job. Consider bench vise with this option. They don’t feature in all brands – only on the best bench vise.
Gripping power refers to the intensity of the clamps in holding a project piece. The larger the clamp mouth, the better the grip. A clamp mouth refers to the throat of the clamp from the top to the base that also influences the width and breadth of a piece it can securely grab. Others have grated/non-slip clamp tethered markings to secure the project materials against wobbling and sliding, even under intense pressure.
Price to the Quality ratio
When selecting your preferred bench vise, you need to assess the price to quality ratio. A higher ration denotes a better task handling from the bench vise.
Typically, a more expensive bench vise may mean quality material or additional features. However, this is not usually the case at all times. You may get a futuristic and versatile brand at a competitive price. If your job is not particularly heavy duty, then you can forego some advanced features that you wouldn’t use frequently. Here, outdoor bench vise used in workshops with high humidity should have powder coating to prevent rusting.
Our Top 10 Best products
Below are the workbench vises that made it to the top ten. We have classified them according to several factors listed above. Each is a champion in its class. But the ultimate leaders are fair well in all the categories.
The categories include the best value, premium brands, versatility, heavy-duty operations, as well as light duty functions.
We have hence ranked them after checking the details outlined on the ‘What to look for…’ section of this write-up.