Bench Vice

Make 10, Week 7

Some day I’d like to either rebuild this cart or build a more traditional work bench. Until then, I’m getting an idea of what is helpful and what is not helpful for me to a work surface. One thing I decided to add last week was a bench vice.

This is an Eclipse 7-inch vice that has a few features that I wanted. I wanted something that mounted to the side of the bench and sat level with the surface. I didn’t want a bench-top model. I also wanted something that I could use to hold a workpiece against a bench dog, and this has a little notch that can pop up for this purpose. I also wanted to screw in some scrap wood to prevent the metal of the vice from marring the surface of a workpiece. Lastly, I like how this vice has a quick release to quickly open and close without working the vice.

I opted for the smaller 7-inch model because it was significantly cheaper and I don’t see myself needing to hold anything much bigger. Plus it just seemed like a small vice would be an easier retro fit into my bench`.

The vice is designed to sit about 2.25-inches from the surface. This means a 2×4 and 3/4-inch bench top fits it perfectly. Since the front of my cart has a 2×4 running vertically, I trimmed down a section with the jigsaw. The cutout isn’t pretty, but it works. Then I screwed in a new 2×4 to lay flat under the bench top. This supports the second bolts for the vice and I have it screwed from the front of the work bench and sides with the side of the bench and middle cross support.

View of vice from under
View of vice from under

I ran four 3/8-inch 4-inch hex bolts through the bench top and secured them with washers and nuts. The rear bolts could actually be shorter since there’s less material in the vice. I made it work just by adding some extra washers rather than another trip to the hardware store. Also, I didn’t have a 3/8 counter-sink bit to have the bolt sit below the bench top. I ended up just making the holes a little bigger with a drill. Doing this, however, I actually over drilled a couple of the holes, so the heads spun freely in those holes. It’s not solid tight, but it works.

The last part was I cut two pieces from 1×4 pine to screw into the vice. I trimmed the height of the board to be flush with the workbench top.

Vice installed
Vice installed

Tip: Make sure to screw in the wood before bolting it down! Another tip, this thing fell off the bench and chipped the paint. Don’t do that either.

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