The Z-Vice and more thoughts on the topic of workbenches


I had planned to buy the wood on Wednesday to redo my bench on Friday while I was home, but didn’t get around to it. It appears that this was a good thing, as I got something today that has made me glad I built it the way I did.

I’d mentioned the Z-Vice (Zyliss Vice) in a previous post, as I saw them being demonstrated at the Better Homes & Gardens show a few weeks back. I thought they were fantastic and would suit my way of working but they were not cheap though, so I didn’t get one at the time.

As it happens, I was at my local woodworking club today and one of the members had an old one for sale, unopened and much cheaper than new so I bought it.

The overhang of my benchtop happens to fit it perfectly, and I’ve been quite impressed with the testing I’ve done on it this afternoon. For those not familiar with it, it’s a portable vice that the demonstrators claim will do it all and sounds to good to be true – it holds wood rock solid for planing either along or across the bench, it makes a great carving or dovetail vice etc etc. The thing is, from my testing today, it actually does appear to do all of this remarkably well.

Here it is in action, the perspex was all I had to hand but it gives you an idea of the potential – it holds it firm while you rout and edge in this mode, or lets you plane long ways as in the second picture.

It actually did hold it steady very well – no movement at all. It’s also great across the bench or holding wood upright

There’s a number of features I haven’t explored yet but simply for the ability to hold work solid for planing makes it worth the price I paid. It also saves me a lot of work drilling bench dog holes as I don’t appear to need them anymore.

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