Dimensions of a bench vise

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by angriff, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. angriff

    angriff Rookie

    Jan 13, 2003
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    Hi to all armourers out there,

    What size of bench vise do you use? I've been shopping around hardware stores but all I've come across are baby vises of 70mm or less.. Will those suffice? If not, which size of bench vise should I ask for? Please advise. Thanks :)
  2. SJCFU#2

    SJCFU#2 Podium

    Nov 5, 2003
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    It depends on what you want to do with the vise.

    Almost any vise can be used to hold a blade in place while putting together a weapon. Most armorers carry at least a small vise that clamps onto a table top when traveling.

    Heavier work, such as bending tangs, requires a larger vise, properly mounted (generally bolted through the top of the workbench and reinforced below so that the load is transfered through to the frame of the workbench). A medium-sized vise, such as you can find at most hardware or home improvement stores, would probably suffice.

    If you are planning on opening a smithy then you will probably need something even heavier. At that point you may have to special order.
  3. Pancakes

    Pancakes Rookie

    Dec 5, 2004
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    As the first poster said, if it's something you take on the road with you, small is fine, but if you're putting together weapons from scratch and need to do things like bend the tang, you'll need something larger, so have a decent sized vice at home. The one I use is about six inches wide at the clamp.
  4. Larrison

    Larrison Rookie

    Jul 19, 2004
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    I'd recommend getting either a "bench vise" or "mechanic's vise", with at least a 4 inch set of jaws. A 6 inch set of jaws would be nice, but you probably won't need something bigger than that and it takes up a bit of space on the workbench. Don't get a flat work-worker's vise. With a larger set of jaws, you can use these to flatten or straighten things.

    I've just rebuilt my garage workbench, and while you are looking at vises, check out how you mount it to the workbench. For the bigger ones, the mounting to the workbench is going to be critical. For mine, I put in a 3/4" hardwood plywood top, and doubled it with a second bottom sheet under the vise to get a stable base, and this is all mounted in on 4x4 posts with a 2x4 grid frame under it at about 8 inch centers (just was easier to fit it into the space I have with that grid spacing, but makes a real stable and strong top). The bench vise is bolted down through the 3/4 inch sheet, though the second 3/4 inch piece glued to it under, and that 2nd piece is sized to fit into one of the openings on the 2x4 grid under the plywood work surface. With this, I can use a 5 lb sledge and really hammer on something held in the vise jaws, and not have the workbench groan and creak too much. :D

    Engineer's motto: Find a bigger hammer if it doesn't fit... :)
  5. sword_fixer

    sword_fixer Rookie

    Oct 15, 2004
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    BIgger vice for bigger jobs is the general rule, but if you intend to set up as an armourer at competitions, try using the biggest vice for anchoring the blade whilst you extract grub screws. The larger ones absorb more impact and waste less energy when getting those chewed up screws out.....

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