A few years ago I bought a simple workbench with two woodworking vises. I had never owned or used a worktable that had one of those woodworking vises like the ones on those nice carpenter’s benches with the tabletop full of holes. And even though it wasn’t a very stable and quality workbench, I bought it thinking that those extras had to come in handy somehow, because sure all real carpenter’s benches have them for a reason. And really those extras turned out to be so useful that now I think they are almost indispensable in the workshop. But if you’re interested in making your own, I also have a post on how to make a cheap workbench vise with F clamps.
We may think that having clamps we won’t need a workbench vise, but the truth is that the convenience that the woodworking vise gives for some tasks is not achieved with woodworking clamps. It’s not that with the woodworking vise installed on the side of a worktable we no longer need clamps, it’s that what the workbench vise does, it does very well. It is very easy to tighten and loosen. Also, it clamps and holds the workpieces very tightly, which together with a very steady worktable makes the work easier. But as I said, that workbench I had bought wasn’t very sturdy (mainly because it’s not very heavy), so I recently decided to make myself this homemade work table.
Also a few years ago I was given one of those Wolfcraft mastercut 1200 tables on which you can install inverted several power tools, such as the circular saw or the plunge router, but I never liked working with it and so I finally decided to install my power tools on my homemade worktables. Although Wolfcrfat now has a new mastercut workbench on which to set up our power tools. I’m looking forward to putting it to the test to make my woodworking projects .
But I have to say that there are a couple of things that justify buying a bench like that Wolfcraft mastercut. They are the safety switch, that I now use on my worktables and with other DIY tools, and the woodworking vise that comes with it and that works very smoothly and tightens very well.
This woodworking vise, once disassembled, basically consists of a couple of parts: on the one hand the jaw of the vise with the attached guide rods and the screw and the handle, and on the other hand we have the mounting plate with the nut and the screws to mount the plate to the back of the table top.
Just install the mounting plate so that the top of the vise jaw is flush with the top surface of the worktable (or the workbench), and so that we can also use the plastic bench dogs if we also drill the corresponding holes in the top of the worktable.
Actually, putting this type of woodworking vise on this worktable is not very complicated, since it is basically a matter of drilling holes in the apron of the table that are large enough to allow the guide rods and the screw to pass through with enough clearance.
Then, if necessary, shim the mounting plate to have the top of the vise jaw flush with the top surface of the worktable top.
And to drill the holes for the plastic bench dogs one option is to make a homemade drilling jig with a piece of wood strip. I make this drilling jig on the drill press to make sure that it will help to make each bench dog hole perfectly vertical and in the correct position. So this jig also helps to align the holes with those in the jaw of the woodworking vise.
The drilling jig is also useful for clamping long tubular pieces, such as copper pipes, with this woodworking vise.
But before drilling the holes, keep in mind that if you have cheap Forstner bits or spade bits, like my Powerfix Forstner bits, you shouldn’t trust the measurements they say. For example my 20mm bit turned out to be 19mm. It is best to test drill holes first and check that the bench dogs will fit snugly but not loosely. We want to make sure that the bench dogs will stay in place when a workpiece is clamped between them.
And although I don’t use these bench dogs too much, if you follow this woodworking blog you will have seen that the holes are also very useful to put through them the metal bar of the F clamps (you can see how in the video) and so we can clamp tightly any piece in almost any part of the tabletop.