Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools

Instructions how to use the VERITAS Surface Vise

Surface Vise The Veritas Surface Vise can be used anywhere you can drill two 3/4 in. (19 mm) diameter holes, approximately 6 in. (152 mm) to 10 /254 mm) apart. The front guide supports the unthreaded rod while the speed-clamping guide lets you make fast adjustments along the 1/2-10 ACME threaded rod. Custom-made wooden jaws (not included) can be secured to the jaw base with two screws. The jaw base connects to the end of the unthreaded rod with a rare-earth magnet, allowing quick removal when required. Since the front guide has a wedging mechanism that anchors firmly (horizontally or vertically) in a dog hole, the surface vise can also be used as a removable tail vise. Made from turned steel, this versatile surface vise can handle sizeable projects.
Note: As delivered, the speed-clamping guide may be difficult to release due to the close-fitting tolerances between the guide and the threaded rod. Light burrs on the threads may cause the release action to stick. Lightly pushing the rod in the closing direction or slowly rotating the rod will release the guide. As the vise is used, the edge burrs will wear away and the release action will loosen.
Surface Vise
Figure 1: Veritas surface vise parts.

Making Custom Jaws

The jaw base is drilled for two screws to allow attachment of user-made jaws. The jaws can be made to fit oddly shaped workpieces or to allow for larger clamping surfaces, as needed.

Surface Vise
Figure 2: Attaching a user-made jaw to the jaw base.

Installation

The surface vise is best used in 3/4 in. (19 mm) (maximum 0.78 in. = 19.8 mm) diameter through holes in material as thin as 5/8 in. (16 mm). For custom applications, where through holes are not feasible, the minimum blind hole depth is 1-3/8 in. (35 mm) for the front guide and 2-1/8 in. (28.6 mm) for the speed-clamping guide.

To install the surface vise, simply insert the wedge and the post in the appropriate dog holes. (See Figures 3 to 5 for examples.) At this time, tighten only the front guide locking screw just until the wedge engages the sides of the hole. It doesn’t take a lot of torque to securely restrain the wedge.

Note:The wedge has enormous mechanical advantage. Tighten the locking screw only enough to secure the front guide in place; overtightening the wedge could split the workbench top.
Surface Vise
Figure 3: Typical top mounting.

Surface Vise
Figure 4: Mounted diagonally.

Surface Vise
Figure 5: Mounted on the side of a bench.

Slide the rod until the wooden jaw is approximately 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) away from the workpiece. Engage the threads on the rod with those on the speed-clamping guide. Rotate the speed-clamping guide until the flat sides of the guide are parallel to the threaded rod (you may have to move the rod slighty to align the threads). Rotate the toggle bar to ease the wooden jaw against the workpiece, and then tighten the toggle handle.

Surface Vise
Figure 6: Speed-clamping guide.

Before using the speed-clamping guide for making large adjustments, fully rotate the top of the quick-release guide to release the threads.

To release the clamping presssure, always back the pressure off with the toggle bar.

To remove the surface vise, loosen the front guide locking screw until the wedge disengages. Lightly tap the top of the front guide locking screw if the wedge remains fixed in the hole.

Note:Because of the way the speed-clamping guide works, it is important not to take the surface vise apart and reconfigure it. The speed-clamping guide design is such that clamping pressure loads the threads and keeps them engaged.

Maintenance

The surface vise is made from turned and machined steel that should be protected from rust. Periodically ensure that the speed-clamping guide is clear of dust and debris.

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