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Bench Vice

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ChrisB09/09/2017 18:51:25
659 forum posts
212 photos

I'm looking for a bench vice 5" jaw width. What type should I go for? There are so many different types and all kind of prices I got confused! I'd like something which is of decent quality, and reasonably priced (£80-100) range.

Tbh I liked this one here: **LINK** but don't know if its too fancy rather than useful...

Edited By ChrisB on 09/09/2017 18:51:41

Robert Butler09/09/2017 18:59:49
384 forum posts
6 photos

Look for a second hand Record - last forever

David George 109/09/2017 19:03:36
1808 forum posts
503 photos

Like Robert said Record vice every time.


Frances IoM09/09/2017 19:07:25
1248 forum posts
28 photos
Look for a second hand Record - last forever
Just make sure you can remove the jaws as making your own set of soft jaws extends the utility considerably
speelwerk09/09/2017 19:17:04
439 forum posts
2 photos

The very best non British made one **LINK**


Neil Wyatt09/09/2017 19:19:56
18993 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

My Record number 3 is worn to the point where it really ought to have a shim put in to take up the play...

I must admit I have a bigger imported vice (4" ) in much better condition that hasn't got jaw wobble (is that like Jah Wobble?) or an s-shaped handle, but I like the Record to much to junk it...


<executed unwarranted smiley>

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 09/09/2017 19:20:32

Clive Foster09/09/2017 19:30:57
3104 forum posts
107 photos


Erm. Not that one. Its an economy range pseudo copy of a Swindens and can be expected to break, or at least distort very easily. Two or three thumps on the anvil bit should spoil the pivot action good and proper. Possibly great if you just want "hold not to tight and pivot around" for sawing and filing. Methinks expensive for normal guy for just that.

The real Swindens are, as they always have been, lunatic expensive. Back in the late fifties you could pretty much buy a small van for the price of a big Swindens! Even so they are not exceptionally strong. OK you have to work to break one, usually the key goes, but they are really not up to the hefty hammering and squeezing expected of general purpose vice. Fundamentally (rough) fitters vices. They excel at getting hefty, awkward stuff at the right angle for you to work on it flat. If thats what you need, its what you need. Otherwise a normal pattern vice is far more useful. Certainly for the likes of us who rarely handle anything hugely heavy and awkward.

But there has been time or three over the last 50 odd years when I'd have killed for a big one.

Important thing with a vice is that it needs to be a properly heat treated casting, or even a forging, if its to stand up to normal workshop use. Vices get abused. Always. Its only by how much that varies.

Used Record or similar good old line name is what to go for. Size you want can be found half decent in the £50 to £100 bracket on E-Bay. Often lots less at boot fairs and in local free ad or whatever.

Why used?

'cos the rubbish ones will have gotten broken under normal abuse. Despite the impression that folk have of "ye good old days" there was still plenty of inadequate rubbish around then. But that pretty much all got broke and skipped years ago so we only see the good stuff that survived. Darwinism basically.


Mike E.09/09/2017 19:49:32
217 forum posts
24 photos

Consider keeping a watch on the gumtree site, there are usually dozens of bench vices listed, and perhaps some close by. More than likely you will find what you want, and for less than what you budgeted for.

ChrisB09/09/2017 19:51:36
659 forum posts
212 photos

Yes, I see what you all mean, seems like used record is the way to go, will see if I can find any locally - very sound advice there Clive thanks!

Ebay will be a bit difficult as most sellers are collection only and I need it exported, and being heavy it won't make much sense.

I like the Heuer vice you liked Niko, but its with fixed jaws...and I'd rather not check the shipping costs to Malta!

Brian H09/09/2017 19:59:23
2312 forum posts
112 photos
I bought one of these a few years ago and am very pleased with it. The Irwin name threw me but it looks like they now own Record..
Usual disclaimer.

Irwin Record Mechanics Vice with Swivel Base 4" (25180)

Mechanics vice with integral anvil and swivel base and a jaw opening of 4" (102mm). Shock-absorbent grey iron for great strength under compression. Acme twin start thread for smooth and fast operation, and swivel base allows vice to rotate through 360°. Fully machined on all load bearing surfaces.

  • Grey Cast Iron
  • Swivel Base with 360º Rotation
  • Replaceable Hardened Steel Jaws
  • Twin-Start Rolled Acme Thread

More Info

£62.99INC VAT

Add to b

Robert Butler09/09/2017 20:02:09
384 forum posts
6 photos

Further i'm not sure where the new Irwin Record vices are made and most seem to have slotted bolt down features rather than holes which are a more certain means of securing.

JasonB09/09/2017 20:06:32
22588 forum posts
2641 photos
1 articles

Also be aware that there are different models of record vice, there is a reason that a Record fitters vice sells for around £485 + VAT and the one linked to above does not!!

You can buy either type second hand so the same applies

Edited By JasonB on 09/09/2017 20:07:13

not done it yet09/09/2017 20:10:48
6736 forum posts
20 photos

I liked this one here: **LINK** but don't know if its too fancy rather than useful...

You might have been disappointed on its arrival. It is only a 3"vise.

ChrisB09/09/2017 20:16:03
659 forum posts
212 photos

Yup! what an ass! embarrassed

Roger Williams 209/09/2017 20:23:26
346 forum posts
3 photos

Dont forget Paramo as well, as good as a Record in my view.

ChrisB09/09/2017 21:17:42
659 forum posts
212 photos

What about this type of vice, is it any good?

Lathejack09/09/2017 22:06:11
311 forum posts
329 photos

Well I have had one of the vices in ChrisB's link for several years, this one is badged as a Clarke. They are well made and also have vee and pipe jaws, but the anvils are not hardened steel as suggested in the link, just part of the cast iron body.

They are certainly larger than 3 inches, they have a 5 inch opening with 5 inch wide hardened jaws. The 75mm throat refered to in the link is the measurement from the top of the jaws to the top of the circular ram. The link does mention a 100mm version.

But as already said, they are really light to medium duty, but we do have one at work that has taken a bit of a battering and hasn't broken yet. Certainly for medium to heavy work and metal bashing you can't beat the standard fixed type bench vices refered to by others. Mine is backed up by a larger Record vice for when the going gets tough.




Edited By Lathejack on 09/09/2017 22:10:34

Clive Foster09/09/2017 22:14:58
3104 forum posts
107 photos


Interesting video.

Basically the same style vice as the Wilton venerated, nay almost deified, in certain American quarters. Theoretically the nicely fitting round ram and keyway makes for a more accurately moving device than the usual British square ram set to the very loose side of rattling good fit. British system allows a certain amount of self adjustment when the jaws close up on something a bit, but not a lot, out of square whilst that style follows its own guide bore and will grip only "on the points". Conversely the round ram, key guided style should make it easier to press things accurately together as the jaws should remain parallel giving a straight push if both components are properly butted up against the respective jaws. The slack fitting British style will happily push things together at a small angle if your initial set up is poor.

Fitters v Mechanics type I guess. Horses for courses. You pays your money and makes your choice over which advantages best suit your work and your pocket. In my view the round ram style needs to be in rather better condition overall than the square ram style if its to operate properly and retain its functional advantage.

Moi. I prefer British style for a one and only vice with a press for things that need to be pushed together accurately. But maybe I'm just a crude sort of fellow. My big Record 24 has been slack fit, gravity stabilised ever since I "obtained" it 35 plus years ago and seems none the worse for it. But I also have both an arbor press and hydraulic press for more accurate pushing duties.

In practical world worry more about finding a decent one at the right value for money than about design details.


ChrisB09/09/2017 22:31:08
659 forum posts
212 photos

I'm not planning to earn my living off the workshop, so most probably I won't be abusing the vice too much - I won't need a super heavy bombproof vice. Actually I thought the one I originally linked ( same as the one in Lathejack's photo) was an overkill seeing it was big and bulky...

The York in the video is an older model, but they still seem to be in production, Axminster have them branded as their own, but in their photo the casting has got York on its side. **LINK**

I found one at a lower price from Germany **LINK** and will deliver to Malta for just 10euro... will see, I'll shop around a bit more and then decide.

Clive Foster09/09/2017 22:34:10
3104 forum posts
107 photos


Very encouraging comments about the Clarke version of the style of vice in the original link. Current price appears to be £90 and it weighs around 50 lb so its obviously pretty substantial. Looks like ChrisB could do a lot worse than one of those, especially if a fitters type work rather than hefty thumping is what he will be doing.

Wouldn't trust no name mail order for something like that. Too many ways for it not to be made good enough. But when you have proper recommendation from someone with practical experience of the brand from a real retailer....

Certainly Lathejack has convinced me that one of the Clarke ones would be worth a look when I periodically think that maybe a swivel vice of that style would be handy. Still wouldn't choose one as my one and only though. Had to do some serious walloping on a job earlier on tonight!


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