July 2017

Fitting the Tail Vice

Jay Oyster's picture

Sizing the tenons to fit the mortises in the benchtopIt's been three years ago now that I purchased a Benchcrafted tail vice for this workbench. And we're just about up to the sixth anniversary of this build. Yeesh.

No more on that. In our fourth home, you know, the permanent one, I've gotten my shop in shape enough to get moving.  On this project it meant one of the big technical challenges, installing the tail vice. Well, in all honesty, I was just trying to fit the undercarriage tenons to the top, and I realized that once I got the pieces together, I was unlikely to ever get them apart again . . . so I'd better cut the other parts I need cut on this benchtop while I have the chance.

Tool of choice to cut big slots in a giant butcher block slabI did muscle the top onto the undercarriage once, and then marked up the cheeks that needed to be shaved to fit. I added a number (1), (2), or (3) to indicate the magnitude of material removal required for each cheek. Then I hauled the top back over to my outfeed table to work on the tail vice stuff. That thing is heavy! I don't know how much it is. Wait, I can do this. The Wood Database says dried silver maple weighs an average of 33 lb/ft³. The top is about 96" long by 27" wide by 3 3/4" thick. That's 9720 in³. Divide by 1728 in³ in 1 ft³, so 9720/1728, or 5.625 cubic feet of silver maple in the top. 185 pounds for the top. And I'm hauling it single handed. It's not heavy. It's awkward. (Nah, this shit's heavy.)

Tail vice recess cut into the benchtop, fitted to the Benchcrafted hardware