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Vise size recommendations

mwill135

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
In the process of “restoring” my first Bridgeport. Step pulley 1hp 9x42 table. It included an Enco vise (8in) with swivel base. The vise seems to overwhelm the table with excessive overhang. I’ll be doing mostly small hobbiest type projects. For those that have similar machines is there a “sweet spot” in terms of vise size that is more appropriate? I know this will be very subjective - just curious what others thought. Thanks
 

AdamC

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Location
SE PA
In the process of “restoring” my first Bridgeport. Step pulley 1hp 9x42 table. It included an Enco vise (8in) with swivel base. The vise seems to overwhelm the table with excessive overhang. I’ll be doing mostly small hobbiest type projects. For those that have similar machines is there a “sweet spot” in terms of vise size that is more appropriate? I know this will be very subjective - just curious what others thought. Thanks

I agree. I think 8” is a big heavy vise. If you need it, you need it. If you don’t, I think a 6” Kurt is a better choice. Most parallels I have are 6”. I think having a tiny grind vise is also helpful. I have a couple Schmidt V04s, I’ve found helpful for small jobs.
 

FredC

Titanium
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
Dewees Texas
Depending on how old you are a 5" is easy to move on and off the mill. For light duty hobby work it might be just fine for your needs.
 

mwill135

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Mid fifties. I’m not kidding myself, even a 5 or 6 is still going to be moved cautiously.
 

jccaclimber

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
I'd guess that 90% of the vises I've seen on 3' to 4' Bridgeport tables have been 6", and most have no swivel base. Most are Kurt or a knock off.
The newer Kurt vices are a bit longer. I appreciate the capacity, but not everyone appreciates the slight increase in weight.

I find a 4" to be a bit small for many things I want to hang on to, but they are definitely easier to move around if that's an issue.

My vise nearly never leaves the table, so it's a non-issue for me. What was an issue was when I used a rotary table regularly. My solution was to put the vise pretty close to one end and the rotary table close to the other. Occasionally I'd need to remove one, but most of the time I could just leave them set up.
 

Clive603

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Location
Sussex, England
I like my pair of Vertex VJ400 vices. 110 mm (4 1/2") wide jaws with a maximum opening of 180 mm (7") in three steps.

Basically a low cost version of a hydraulic vice with a screw instead of the hydraulic doobie.

A bit heavier than the usual 4" vice but the extra opening makes them far more versatile.

Probably rare as hens teeth used so you'd need to push the boat out and buy new. Current UK price is around £350, dunno what it is in you neck of the woods. I paid lots less for mine on a show offer maybe 1/4 of a century ago. I reckon they only charged for one instead of two and applied the discount for two but my wallet came out so fast it nearly caught light!

Not perfect, you have to take extra care to beat the job down on the widest setting, but I probably use my bigger Abwood and smaller toolmakers style vices less than 6 times a year for things a Vertex isn't up for.

Vertex Vice small.jpg Side View.jpg

Clive
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
I'd far and away rather have a couple 5" or 6" vises than an 8" on a Bridgeport or similar machine. I have a Kurt 675 and a Taiwan-made "CNC" style 6" vise (flat everywhere so it can be set up on its side or end) - those are a good combo.
 

Superbowl

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Why only one vise? I keep three vises bolted to my table. A 6" Kurt gets the most use. Then I have a no name 5" swivel for when it is best to angle the work. Finally a 4" Palmgren that both swivels and articulates up and down. It is rare that I am working with something big enough that I have to either remove or loosen and slide a vise out of the way. It sure is handy to have all three ready for work at all times. The Kurt is the only one I really keep trammed in. The swivel vises are rarely used when exact angle work holding is needed. Usually they are for things where close enough is good enough.
 








 
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