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Ask the Staff - Another Answer!

A couple of months ago we had a question about how best to mount a heavy snap-on machinist's vise to a workbench. One of our readers, Bill Scheuerell, has come up with a great alternative and we wanted to share.


Someone sold me a Snap On vise (I think it is a machinist vise) and I was wondering whether is it a waste or destructive to mount it onto a wooden workbench. Will the workbench be able to handle the weight and movements of the work involved? I am not exactly a woodworker, as I am interested in metal work projects such as handling knives, hanging/profiling axes, metal sculpturing besides curving spoons, curving wooden boxes, etc.

Another Suggestion:

I laminated two pieces of 3/4" plywood, as you suggested, and cut a 1-1/2" dado in the bottom of it to receive a similar lamination--I made a "T" in cross section. The vertical leg is as long as my grandfather’s Wilcox Manufacturing Company woodworking vise can accommodate. The machinist's vise is bolted through the vertical leg at two of its bolt lugs and the third though the "top of the T". Installing and removing the machinist's vise is really fast, and it does not budge when it’s in the Wilcox. This configuration also takes up less shelf space under the bench than a platform-with-clamping-room would.

Our Original Answer:

Is it is a machinist style vise?

If so, I would mount the vise on a base of 3/4" plywood or MDF (or double it up in thickness so you can countersink the heads of through bolts on the bottom of the base). Make the base a size that you can securely and easily clamp to your work bench (say a 12" or 14 " square base) with clamps that you have. This way it will let you remove the vise when not needed and you do not have to drill holes in the top of your bench to mount.

Concerning your question about the bench being able to handle it, if the vise is huge and very heavy, you have to be careful that you position the vise so the bench does not become unstable due to the weight of the vise (and what you may put in the jaws of the vise).


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