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With its tail vise and glide leg vise, Benchcrafted tools has given renewed, and deserved, attention to two old-time bench tools. Though they call it a tail vise, Benchcrafted is really selling a wagon vise, a centuries-old bench helper that is integrated into a slot in the benchtop. Clamping is done with a sliding block (with a hole for a benchdog) that rides in that slot. This vise makes holding workpieces on the bench noticeably more solid—there is none of the flex so common in traditional wooden tail vises. The glide leg vise is a shoulder vise with a deep throat and a powerful grip—better than any other shoulder vise I’ve used. The one quirk is that you need to even out the jaw angle by bending down and setting a pin in the lower assembly to the approximate thickness of the workpiece. It does take some getting used to.
The hardware for both vises is beautifully and robustly made (in the United States). The tail vise can be built up in a left- or right-handed version and can be retrofitted to most benches. The glide leg vise requires that the front edge of the top be flush with the front of the leg for it to work.When installing the hardware, you need to make a few components (vise jaw, parallel guide, and roller guides for the glide vise, and the benchdog block on the tail vise). Benchcrafted provides thorough instructions, full-size templates, and helpful videos—all on their website. No print instructions come with the hardware.
The handwheels are quick and easy to use. Although there is no quick release, the almost frictionless spin of the wheels makes them at least as fast as the quickrelease vises I’ve used.The vises built with this hardware not only hold the work better than any other vise I own, but they also are a pleasure to use. I will definitely install these on the next bench I build.
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