Are you tired of having to utilize hand screw clamps in order to hold your work steadier? Are you in search of a solid bench vise that can help improve the workflow in your shop? Stick around as we’ll be revealing our top picks for the best vise for woodworking on the market today.
Best Woodworking Vises in January, 2021
Wilton 63144 Heavy-Duty Woodworking Vise – Best Overall
Starting off our list of the best vises for woodworking is the Wilton 63144. The 63144 features an immensely sturdy construction that makes it an ideal choice for professional craftsmen.
The vise features jaws that can open up to 10 inches wide, granting the unit remarkable capacity.
The jaws on this vise are considerably large as they measure at 4 inches tall and 7 inches wide. This means that you can work with a wide range of pieces regardless of their size.
It’s very easy to open and close the jaws on this woodworking vise, thanks to its rapid-release function.
It’s also worth noting that the front jaw on the Wilton 63144 can pivot up to 10 degrees, which is ideal for securing pieces that are shaped irregularly. This vise from Wilton comes with mounting instructions that you’ll find easy to follow. It also includes jaw inserts for capacity expansion.
One of the issues that a notable number of users have reported is that the magnets used to hold the maple jaw inserts aren’t as efficient as they should be. Nevertheless, the Wilton 63144 is still a superb unit that we’d highly recommend for professional craftsmen that work on larger pieces.
Eclipse Quick Release Woodworking Vise – Runner-Up
If you’re looking for an end vise that offers the same practicality that a front vise can provide, it’s vital that you check out this woodworking vise from Eclipse.
The unit features an adjustable front stop that you can lower down to use as a front vise or raise up to use as an end vise.
As the name implies, this woodworking vise boasts a quick-release trigger that you can utilize to adjust the grip the unit has on the workpiece without having to start from the beginning.
This unit has a pretty good clamping capacity as it features a large 7-inch jaw width.
This vise is one of the best woodworking vises when it comes to safety, as it’s designed to bend down in the middle before it reaches the failure point where the force becomes too high that the vise could snap. As a result, the vise is rendered useless before it can pose any danger.
The biggest problem we have with this woodworking vise is that it doesn’t come with any sort of mounting instructions, so it might take you a while to figure things out at first. With that out of the way, we can say that this is an ideal unit for someone looking to use the features of an end vise.
TEKTON 53986 6.5-Inch Woodworking Vise – Most Affordable
While it’s one of the most affordable woodworking vises on the market, the Tekton 53986 is also a highly durable and dependable unit, as it’s built from 30,000 PSI cast iron.
The unit allows you to add your own jaw pads so that you protect flat wooden surfaces from getting damaged.
One of the things that make this unit stand out is how easy it is to adjust. It has a chrome-plated T-bar handle that can slide. By turning that handle, the jaw will glide along the primary screw so smoothly that it won’t bind or chatter at all regardless of the applied clamping pressure.
As far as the installation process, you can secure this woodworking vise to your bench using the simple or flush mounting positions, based on your needs. The instructions should be of sufficient help during this process. Sadly, the hardware required to mount the unit isn’t included.
Yost M7WW Rapid-Acting Woodworking Vise – Best Value for the Money
The Yost M7WW Rapid-Acting Woodworking Vise is another highly-affordable model that shares a lot of the same features that more expensive models have to offer.
Similar to Eclipse’s unit, it’s utilized as a front or tail vise. Switching between the two functionalities is also quite similar.
Just like all of the units on this list, the Yost M7WW features a quick-release trigger that makes it easy for the user to reach the desired tightness without wasting time on spinning the handle.
We also love the buttress thread that it features, as it makes moving the jaws a lot easier.
There’s no such thing as an all-around perfect product, and the Yost M7WW is no exception. It’s not the most trouble-free model on our list. For instance, you’ll find yourself needing to rotate the jaws in order to have them sit parallel to each other. It still offers a good bang for the buck.
Shop Fox D4026 Cabinet Maker’s Vise – Best Customizability
The Shop Fox D4206 is basically a tool that you can use to construct your own vise. It’s also a tool that people used to build their entire workbenches from the ground up.
It’s one of the most versatile and customizable vises on the market, but it does suffer from a few issues.
The jaws on the D4206 don’t have a front piece, so you’ll be forced to build your own. To some people, this might sound like a fun task to tackle, but to others, it’ll be a repellant.
What’s more, you’ll have to settle for wooden jaws, which aren’t as sturdy as jaws made of cast-iron.
The biggest problem we have with this unit is that we feel it’s a bit too expensive for what it has to offer. However, it’s a great vise for beginners, as it will grant them a great deal of experience. If you decide to buy this unit, just be ready to do a lot of work in order to get it ready.
Best Vise for Woodworking – Buyer’s Guide
Woodworking vises come in an imposing range of shapes and sizes, which can make it hard for you to select one for your workshop if you don’t know what to look for. Before clicking the Add to Cart button, please consider the following factors.
There are two types of woodworking vises that you can find on the market. The first type is the front vise, which you can often find stationed at the left corner of the workbench’s longer edge. A front vise is extremely useful for any task that requires a solid hold on the workpiece.
For instance, you can use a front vise to hold a drawer side upright while you attempt to cut the tails of a dovetail joint. Also, you can use a front vise to hold a board edge horizontally for hand planing. There are other scenarios that we can think of, but we’re sure you get the picture.
If you’re looking for a reliable woodworking front vise, we recommend you opt for a cast-iron one as such units have jaws that are made of cast iron, a steel screw that you can use to change the space between the jaws, and two steel rods to keep the jaws aligned and working properly.
Additionally, a lot of woodworking front vises are equipped with a quick-release mechanism that makes it easy for the user to alter the vise’s clamping width to their liking. By rotating the handle a quarter turn counter-clockwise, you release the screw and allow for quick vise repositioning.
The second type of woodworking vises is the end vise, which you can usually find stationed at one of the ends of a workbench. End vises are mainly used to hold materials flat on the surface by pinching them with dogs that are sticking from the vise’s jaw and fitted into the bench.
There are end vises that are built the same way front models are set up with the screw and the two rods. This type is looked at as the most useful type of end vises. Regular end vises tend to just have the guide rod mechanism and the screw and are outfitted with a wooden jaw.
When it comes to the size of the vise, we suggest opting for a size that’s larger than you need to get your projects done for a couple of reasons. Firstly, having a large woodworking vise will give you the ability to work with a greater range of projects, which you’ll need sooner or later.
And secondly, larger woodworking vises tend to be equipped with larger jaws, and the larger the jaws, the more friction they can apply to your workpieces, securing them properly. And while you don’t need large jaws to ensure security, that extra grip can help give you peace of mind.
However, if you specialize in fine detail work on smaller workpieces, then you don’t really need a large vise, as that’ll be a waste of money and time. Not to mention that jaws that are overly large can make it hard for you to access the surface on which you’re working on if the piece is small.
If you’re expecting us to tell you that you need to buy a lightweight vise you’ve got another thing coming. With woodworking vises, the heavier the unit, the better. Why? Heavier vises offer your working pieces better support so that they don’t get damaged as you’re working on them.
However, you need to understand that the weight of your working vise can affect the balance of your workbench. In other words, you have to consider the way your workbench is supported and how much it weighs so that you can buy a woodworking vise that integrates well with it.
Woodworking vises don’t come cheap and there’s nothing worse than investing in a product that isn’t going to last a considerable amount of time. You want to make sure that the vise features a central support column that’s made of steel to ensure maximum durability.
You can be a little less stern about the vise jaws. You can opt for a model that features jaws that are made of wood, but just keep in mind that wooden jaws don’t last as long as cast-iron or steel jaws. Depending on your needs and budget, you can be flexible with your choice of vise jaws.
It goes without saying that you should go for a vise that’s accessible or that’s easy to use, to put it differently. Most craftsmen tend to make use of the tools that are easier to use and that they’re more used to than the ones they don’t find all that convenient or easy to use.
To ensure ease of use in a woodworking vise, look for units that feature a quick-release function as it’ll allow you to take the vise off its track temporarily in order to get it close to its end location. You can then put the vise back on its track and turn the handle to tighten things up.
Another thing you need to consider when inspecting a woodworking vise is its throat depth. The throat depth of a vise is the distance between the slide below the vise to the top of the vise jaws. The longer the throat depth is, the more you’ll be able to hold larger workpieces more securely.
With the aid of the information provided in this article, you should be able to select the ideal vise for your shop. We’d appreciate it if you let us know which one of the above-mentioned units you decided to purchase and why.