Front vise installed

After having trouble holding a board to cut a tenon, I decided that it was about time to install the front vise (a medium-sized Adjustable Clamp Company “Jorgensen” model; staying true to my time in Chicago, I guess). Not only did I need something better for holding boards vertically, but I was also sick of having the vise lying around in its box on the floor.

I installed it over a period of several days. First, I cut and milled birch shims that I needed because the benchtop is a little thinner than the vise depth. Then I determined the mounting hardware. Finally, I attached the front shim, then dragged the bench upside-down into the living room.

By today, I had all of the components ready, so I put everything together. Drilling the holes was a little tricky, but worked fine with my brace, and I was ready to go soon:

That sucker is heavy. Lugging the bench back into the “shop” was not altogether fun. I am a little unsure of how the front shim will hold up, but it should be okay–birch is very strong, and the front of the bench can support my weight (several times the vise) with no problem. Wood movement should, in theory, not be a problem with the screw clearances and slotting that I used. With all of the planes, weights, and other crap on the bench shelf, there’s no danger of the bench tipping over; the edge can still support my weight without tipping.

I mounted the vise across from one of the dog holes. I don’t know how much I’ll use its pop-up dog, but I figure I ought to have the option, since it doesn’t cost me anything.

Still left to do is line the jaws with hardwood so that it doesn’t mar boards. I want to line it with beech, because that’s what the top is made of, but I first need to find some beech. Sigh.

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