Benchtop Alteration: Cause: Surprise Veritas Quick-Release Tail Vise

Just as I was getting ready to get started on a new project (or tool), something pops up. In this case, it’s the following:

Thanks to Alex, Jasen, Calvin, Rachel, and Paul for giving this to celebrate a, er, “major life change” (sorry for the vagueness, but I prefer not to go into personal stuff much in this blog).

I had a chance to dig it out and look at it today, and you can see that I’ve got to make some decisions on how I want to install this:

The stock instructions from Lee Valley show mounting the vise jaw as an extension to a bench apron. Of course, I don’t have one of those, nor is my benchtop very thick, and furthermore, my benchtop does not have much overhang.

This overhang is the major issue. It seems that you need a little more than 16″ of overhang on the end of your bench to mount this sucker, or otherwise, it’s going to get in the way of your legs. My bench doesn’t have anywhere near that–it’s more like 6.5″ on each side, so I can’t even just shove the top over.

So if I want to use this vise sometime in the near future, I have to make some sort of serious or semi-serious modification. There are these options:

  • Make a new top. I have enough beech to do this, and I could also look for some reclaimed stuff.
  • Extend the top by replacing the front.
  • Make an entirely new bench. [Ed: This is what I eventually did.]
  • Attempt to make it into a wagon vise.
  • Attempt to make an L-shaped jaw. Unlike the traditional tail vise jaw, this would be rotated 90 degrees. This is kind of a crazy idea but it might just work and it might be the easiest of the options, because the vise only travels 7″ or so.

In any case, there’s some thinking to do, especially because I had wanted to think about what to do about the front overhang. The Gospel of Schwarz says that the front should line up flush with the legs and I agree. I’ve been itching to make this change to my bench but it does require some work. Perhaps making a new bench would be easier, but do I need another bench? It’s tempting to use the current bench as an auxiliary, especially because I like to clamp stuff to its top, and the edge is great for the bench hook.

Oh well. Lots of thinking to do.

[Ed.: Phil Lang provided this link for what Konrad Sauer did.]

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