I am always looking for ways to make workholding simpler and less expensive. It feels like a duty after writing 36 books on workbenches.
I love my Benchcrafted Hi Vise – we own five of them. But not every woodworker can afford the hardware. And you have to build the vise with wooden components, which requires some time, skill and machines.
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The less-expensive option is this Taiwanese-made carver’s vise, which you can find at many woodworking suppliers. I got mine on sale from Infinity Tools. StewMac sells a version that they have upgraded and that luthiers love.
No matter where you get it, I think you’ll be impressed. The vise’s swiveling jaws will hold almost any shape. And because the jaws are coated with a tough urethane, the grip is incredibly tenacious.
The vise attaches to the workbench via a long post that threads through a dog hole or holdfast hole in your workbench. You can cinch the bolt below the benchtop tight so the vise won’t move. Or you can leave it a little loose so it swivels.
The only real downside to the vise is that you have to have a hole in your workbench to make things work. The Hi Vise can clamp almost anywhere (even to a truck bumper).
This vise is an excellent substitution for a shaving horse. It’s a little slower in use, but takes up almost no space.
— Christopher Schwarz
Publisher’s note: This is the final entry in our 2022 gift guide. Every year we think that *this year* will be the last. That we couldn’t possibly come up with a new list for the following year. If we do manage to do a gift guide for 2023 it will be our 10th gift guide.
To read previous entries in the gift guide, click here.