Golden Ratio Bench With Inset Vises

Here’s an enhancement to my Golden Ratio workbench design that incorporates several Veritas Inset Vises into the bench top:

Golden Ratio Workbench With Inset Vises

My objective here is to get the same functionality as traditional woodworking vises, but without an obtrusive attachment at the bench tail or sides, and without having to drill holes for dogs. My theory is that I can use Kreg Klamp Blocks, which attach to the tracks, in lieu of dogs. I can also leverage surface clamps for additional holding power, wherever necessary.

The inset vises will be used primarily for spreading; in my case, that means separating existing mortise-and-tenon joinery when disassembling old window sashes. But I also intend to use this jig for straightening and re-joining sashes, and the perpendicular tracks and blocks, combined with the vises, ought to prove highly useful in that regard.

Here’s another view of the bench top from above:

Golden Ratio Bench Top With Vises Viewed From Above

The vise layout I’ve devised attempts to provide three different widths (that is, in terms of each possible pair of vises along the tail end of the bench), with a single vise for pushing or pulling orthogonally. Each vise carrier has about four inches of travel and its jaw can be placed at either end of the carrier. So the jaws can be retracted to (almost) the very edge of the bench top. The inset vise body is completely flush with the bench surface, so when a jaw is removed from a particular vise, that vise is completely out of the way. So, the vises actually obtrude much less upon each other than might otherwise appear in the above layout diagram.

Of course, the above vise configuration is my best guess, based on the nature of what I’ll be using it for, and my knowledge of the work pieces involved. When put into actual use, however, it will undoubtedly need to be revised or expanded as experience dictates. But the nice thing about my bench top design is that the surface panels are easily replaceable, so revisions to the vise layout pattern over time shouldn’t be a big deal.

And, hey, check this out! This is why I love Kreg Tool (as much as I love Veritas, in fact): I was just browsing their site and noticed they’ve introduced a new Klamp Vise product that also appears to address a few specific needs I’m anticipating, including the ability to occasionally clamp workpieces sideways at random points along the edge of the workbench. Excellent! :-)

As always, the complete SketchUp model for the Golden Ratio workbench is freely available from our Google 3D Warehouse page.

Happy Sunday to all!


Recently, I devised an alternative vise configuration that seems better suited for straightening and reassembling sashes than what I’d proposed previously. Furthermore, I created a few face frames in SketchUp, and tried placing them on the revised bench top. Sure enough, it seemed like I’d arrived at a slightly better pattern for assembling frames of varying lengths and widths, while still utilizing the tracks for stops:

Golden Ratio Workbench With Revised Vise Pattern

The tail vise is for tearing down larger frames and some straightening work, but I’m not totally convinced I need it. What I’ll do next is take a representative sample of the actual workpieces I anticipate using on this bench, model them in SketchUp, see how well the bench seems to facilitate working them, and then make any additional adjustments.

There’s nothing like doing hypothesis formulation and testing in three dimensions with SketchUp, before committing to actually building something!

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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One Response to Golden Ratio Bench With Inset Vises

  1. John Poole says:

    A dog is a friendly mammalian quadruped who waits patiently while you finish your current project work and responds appreciatively to any glance their way or firm scratching between their ears!

    Actually, its a metal or steel post that fits into a hole in the workbench surface and helps to hold workpieces in place, usually against the pressure of a vise on the opposite side of the workpiece. Here’s an image of square bench dogs.

    A bench dog is an accessory for a woodworking guy, just like a sash is an accessory for a lovely lady! :-)

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