If you have a crafty side, then chances are you have an entire workshop in your garage. It’s a nice hobby, it can take your mind off certain things. Plus, you get to fix things around the house or make new ones. That has to bring you some satisfaction, right?
Nothing of that would be possible without the right tools. Fortunately, nowadays you have tools for virtually anything. You no longer have to drill holes by hand, you don’t have to use a manual saw anymore, and so on. You have help every step of the way. One of the tools that are present in any workshop is a bench vise. I havenever seen a shop not containing one. That is because it is very useful in certain situations, and it can make things like gluing or drilling more precise and easy.
What is a bench vise and why do you need it
A bench vise is a holding device that is attached to a workbench. It consists of two jaws, one that sits in place and one that is mobile. The jaws open and close to hold things in place while you are working on them. It is a lot more safe and secure than holding them down with your hands. Or better said hand, because you need the other one to do whatever it is you need to be doing.
A bench vise is extremely useful. You can buy one at the local hardware store, or you can purchase one online. There are various models, including a mechanics vise, a machinist vise, a woodworker’s vise, and a post vise. You can choose whichever you think necessary for your activity.
One of the things that make a bench vise so useful is its versatility. You can use it when you work with all kinds of materials, like wood, metal, or anything else. The device will help you stabilize the material you are working on. That way you can perform precision cuts and drillings. Here are a few examples of when you may be needing a bench vise.
- Gluing – while woodworking, some of the elements may need to be glued Why rely on gravity alone to hold the pieces together, when a bench vise can do a much better job? You can even leave your project in the vise until the glue dries. That way you know for sure that the elements haven’t moved at all. That is especially beneficial when you are working on a project that requires precise measurements. A bench vise will ensure that the parts will fit perfectly together.
- Metal working – when it comes to metal, you know that it involves hard work. A bench vise can prove to be very helpful. It can be used to bend metal, it can keep the metal in place while you are drilling or cutting, or you can even use it as an anvil when you want to straighten something made of metal.
- Working with a saw – when you want to cut a piece of wood, only a bench vise can hold it securely in place. Nothing else will have the same force. That way you can make precision cuts without any issues. Plus, you get to use both hands while you do it. That should make things easier for you.
- While you use a drill – drilling, again, is a task that requires precision. How else are you going to get it if not with a bench vise?
- While you are using sandpaper – when you have to finish a wood project, you need to use sandpaper to make the surface smooth. For that, you need to keep the wood in place with one hand and use the other to hold the sandpaper. A bench vise will free one of your hands, which will make the whole process a lot faster than
As you can see, there are plenty of reason for you to buy a bench vise. And I am sure I missed a couple of them.
What to consider when looking for the best bench vise
Not all bench vises are created equal. Any man with some workshop experience knows that. You need to take into consideration a variety of factors. After all, a poorly constructed bench vise will have an adverse impact on your work. And you don’t want that do you?
In reality, all types of bench vises come with their own pros and cons. However, there are a few things that apply to all. Follow these simple rules, and you will be able to find the best bench vise to satisfy your needs.
- Swivel base stationary base – both have their advantages and disadvantages. The swivel base allows you to angle the materials you are working on. It may prove more comfortable than the stationary, but not in all cases. The fixed base has the benefit of no moving parts. At the end of the day, it is you who has to decide which one is best for you.
- Determine if you need pipe jaws – if your work involves working on flat materials only, you probably shouldn’t bother looking for a bench vise with pipe jaws. You won’t be using them anyway. However, if the things you are working on are circular from time to time, pipe jaws will come in handy. Circular materials are difficult to handle in flat jaws, and there is the risk of the slipping, and that is how accidents happen.
- Rotating vise–adjusting the position of the materials you are working on can be a real advantage. It can make your job a lot easier, especially when you are cutting or drilling. It will eliminate uncomfortable positions on your part. The rotation feature makes the bench vise more versatile, which is always a good thing in a product.
- Construction – last, but definitely not least, make sure that you choose the right material for your bench vise. There are ductile iron bench vises, which are heavy-duty, durable, and unyielding, and then there are cast iron vises. They are usually imported (if it makes any difference to you). However, they are not as strong as their ductile counterparts, and they don’t have the same durability.
The criteria above applies to all bench vises, but there are other which only apply to certain models. There are other things you need to consider, like the size of the bench vise. Where are you going to use it? For home projects, a 4 or 5-inch bench vise should be more than enough, while industrial work may require bigger vises. Also, look at the price. It is not to be overlooked. Usually, the better the construction of a bench vise, the higher the price, but remember that vises can actually break. But if you go for the best heavy duty bench vise, that event is not likely to happen anytime soon.
What are the best bench vises?
The best thing you can do before purchasing a bench vise is checking out the reviews on particular models of your choosing. If a certain product is indeed as advertised, then you should have no issues buying it. However, if there is something wrong with a particular model, then you’ll know not to buy it. Simple as that. Doing so will save you time and money.
Hardware Factory Store 5-Inch Heavy Duty Bench Vise
I chose to start with the one vise I consider to be the most durable and vigorous. I have read a couple of reviews about this products, and there is not a single relevant review that says something bad about it. It is just as presented to you by the manufacturer. You will be able to enjoy all the features and benefits. That is why of the three products I chose, this one is the one I recommend as the best bench vise on the market.
The durable cast steel construction will ensure a long lifespan, no matter how hard and often you work on the bench. It will not bend, it will not nick or crack. The power serrated steel jaws and clamps will ensure a firm and secure grip. Nothing will be able to budge while the jaws are closed.
The double locking swivel base will make sure that the bench vise will stay in place no matter what you put on it. The swivel will allow you to angle the materials you are working on, eliminating any uncomfortable positions on your part. The accuracy of your work will be better as well. You should also know that the forged steel jaws are replaceable. You won’t have to do it anytime soon, but just in case something happens, the manufacturer provides another set of jaws. There is no need to buy an entire new vise.
The clamping power is incredible. As long as you properly fixate the material you are working on, there is no chance of it moving. Not even a quarter of a millimeter. You will be able to do your job with maximum stability and precision. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Olympia Tools 6-Inch Bench Vise
I have to admit that this bench vise does not look or feel as sturdy as the previous one, but for this price range, it’s one of the best bench vises on the market. I also read some customer reviews, and they all pretty much say the same thing, that it doesan absolutely good job for the money spent.
The hardened steel jaw faces are completely replaceable. I noticed this feature on multiple vises, and it makes sense to me as it does to everybody else. If something happens to the jaws, it’s illogical to purchase a whole new vise. But don’t think that just because they are replaceable, you’ll have to do it in the near future. They are very strong and well-built. The permanent pipe jaws will make working on circular materials easier and more convenient. So if you have the habit of working on circular items, this is the product you are seeking.
The base swivels 270 degrees, which will make adjusting the angle possible. You will be able to work on different materials standing in comfortable positions. That will improve your accuracy. The heavily reinforced four lug base and the powder coated finish make this product one of the best and affordable bench vises on the market. The jaw width measures 6 inches, the jaw opening is 4.62 inches, and the throat depth is 3.18 inches. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Tekton 54004 4-Inch Swivel Bench Vise
You can find the Tekton Bench Vise in 4 available sizes: 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch. It all depends on what kind of projects you are taking on. You can use it for woodworking, metal working, or whatever else you need. The vise is multi-purpose and will do an excellent job everytime you put it to use.
The vise is constructed from 30.000 PSI cast iron. That ensures an extended reliability and durability. The serrated steel jaws are replaceable and hold your materials with a secure, non-slip grip. Nothing can budge once the jaws are closed.
The swivel base can rotate 120 degrees, which will make working on particular elements very convenient and comfortable. Your precision will be better as well. Once you have placed your work between the jaws, you can use the dual lock down nuts. That will make sure that your work will stay securely in place at all times.
The bench vise will stay firmly in place thanks to three mounting holes anchor. Once you fixate it, you can even try pulling it with your car. You will remove the whole workbench instead. The polished steel anvil provides a smooth work surface just in case you have something to shape or to straighten. The Acme-threaded screw glides without binding. Everything about this bench vise works smoothly. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
High-quality tools will make you better at wood or metal working. It will improve your technique, and everything will end up simply better than with poorly-constructed equipment. That is why it is always a good idea to make smart investments in your work. Not only it will give you more satisfaction, but it will also make you better at what you do. Click here to buy on Amazon
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