If you are part of the woodcarving club, you will find that there are some projects you will need a vise, mostly because you need to use both hands to hold your carving tools, or maybe you just want maximum comfort when carving.
In my research, I have noted that more information narrows down on carpentry woodworking but not on woodcarving. And without wasting time, what is the best woodcarving vise to use?
A vise is simply a mechanical device used for holding your project so you can pay more attention and increase accuracy in your carving. There are three main types of bench vises namely, front-bench, benchtop vises, and end vises. These vises differ in design shape and location they are mounted to the workbench.
Types Of Bench Vises For Woodworking
A front-mount bench vise is a vise that can be mounted to the front of a workbench and it is very popular among woodworkers because its position allows for planning, routing, or dovetailing. But the most important question is, “Does it fit to be in the best woodcarving vise?”.
Front vises can definitely be good for carving and in detail I will share with you 4 main types of front namely;
Arm Vise-An arm vise has no rods or screws in the way, but it has a right-angled arm limits clamping force reducing the ability to clamp longboards horizontally. But in carving, who needs a lot of force? You can use this vise for a smaller relief carving portrait and chip carving.
Cast Iron-This is the most common front vise and woodworkers mostly use it to hold 6.2” and 6.1″ in carpentry. It has a steel rod to keep the jaw aligned and in wood carving
wooden-Jawed-this type of front bench vise operates like a cast iron and the movable jaw is made from the same material as the bench and some offer quick release.
Patternmaker-A patternmaker’s vise can hold oddly shaped work at any angle. The vise body can pivot up and over the bench until the jaws are parallel to the benchtop. The jaws can rotate 360 degrees and angle towards each other for holding tapered work
The best wood carving vise in this type of bench vises is the Pony Jorgensen 27091 Medium Duty Wood worker’s Vise which is a cast iron type and it is of quality and to top it off, it is affordable.
As the name gives it away, these types of vises are mounted to the top of a workbench some models are designed to clamp on the side of a workbench and others come long nut attached to the base of the vise and screwed on a dog hole.
The benchtop vise has all the qualities to be the best woodcarving vise and it is my top pick on bench vises types if you are carving objects because its clump is designed to face up. This type of vise can also hold a carving you are working on off the table’s surface, and this is very helpful for carving because it brings the carving closer to your eyes compared to the other types of the workbench.
In this type of vises, choose one that has a wooden clamp or one that can be screwed because you are dealing with wood and metallic clamp disfigure tour carving.
End vises are mounted to the end of a workbench and some models look and work very similarly to front vises but they slightly differ from their intended use.
There are four main types of end vises namely;
Cast Iron-The cast iron in the end vise is the same vise used in the front bench but placed in a different location and that’s where the difference comes in.
Tail Vise-The tail vise is mounted on the bench’s front edge and with a movable jaw is a thick section of the same type of wood as the workbench with about 18-inches dog holes that holds the work flat on the surface. The tail vise has two locations you can choose to clamp depending on the size of the project you are working on and this vise can be very good for relief carving.
Full Width-The full width spans the width of the bench and it has two rows of dog holes, the wide jaw of this vise is ideal for holding wider panels and do some relief carving.
Twin-Screw-Twin screw would not be my pick if I am looking for a vise for carving only because its advantage is clamping wide stock vertically and buying it for carving would not be the best option.
My best type to use in end vise types is the full-width vise because it spans the full width and you will be able to clamp a larger relief carving portrait better compared to the cast iron.
What To Look For When Buying The Best Woodcarving Vise
When you are looking for the best woodcarving carving vise make sure you look at the key details below to guide you in choosing your best vise.
The material of the vise is what determines the strength, quality, and durability. The most common material used for bench vises is cast iron because it is very tough and dense, and it has enough power to hold a carving or other materials that require a greater clamping pressure.
Steel vises are also popular among the best woodcarving vises, and they are strong and more durable than cast iron although they deform under high pressure that’s why it is one of the best materials for woodcarving vises because wood is carving does not need a lot of clamping pressure.
The Clamp Design And The Type of vise
When looking for the best woodcarving vise, it is very important to look at its clamp. Because you are dealing with wood, metallic clamps are not advisable to use because they will disfigure your carving. A wood carving clamp should be wooden or it should have some holes to screw wood.
Most of the bench vises have replaceable jaws and it is a good feature in woodworking in general because the grippy surface can wear down over time, affecting their ability to grab hold of a workpiece.
Jaw width is the length of the vise’s clamping surface and they vary in size. Small vises can have jaw widths as small as 3 inches, a distance for light-duty projects and repairs.
Large vises can have jaw widths as wide as 10 inches, which provides a lot of surface area for clamping large, heavy-duty projects in place and a generally functional jaw width is between 5-10 inches.
I would advise you to buy the 10 inches just in case you want to do large-size relief carving.
The ability to swivel is one of the most important features of a good benchtop vise because it makes you get a better angle on the project you are carving by rotating it on the vertical radius.
Swiveling will help you inspect your carving as you go you just need to spin it to adjust the vise’s angle instead of hunching over to see the back of the workpiece. This feature gives more convenience and allows for better ergonomics over the user straining to see what they are doing.
Best Wood Carving Vise – List View
- Pony Jorgensen 27091 Medium Duty Woodworker’s Vise
- The Carver’s Vise-Best Benchtop For Wood Carving-Best Benchtop
- Wilton 78A, Pivot Jaw Woodworkers Vise (63144)
- Lee Valley Detail Hand Tool
- Yost Tools YEV17′ End Vise
Best Woodcarving Vise – Detailed Review
After doing my research, I have made a list of the best woodcarving vise that all pass the feature above and are affordable.
Pony Jorgensen 27091 Medium Duty Woodworker’s Vise– Best Front Vise For Woodcarving
The Pony Jorgensen 27091 Medium Duty Wood Workers Vise is featured on this list of the best woodcarving vise because of its good quality and strength to clamp your work.
It is a single screw vise and it is made of iron with 7-inch jaws, and an 8-inch jaw opening capacity, providing enough clamping ability for clamping large carvings.
It comes with a metallic clamp but this should not scare you because there are holes drilled to add a wooden jaw to give a wooden surface making it effective in wood carving. If you choose to buy this vise, you should know that the screws use to add the wooden jaws are sold separately.
It also has a slide-up steel dog in the outer jaw, allowing you to clamp the workpiece against a bench dog for surface planing and flattening
The Carver’s vise is this list’s overall best on this list and it is a benchtop. The vise gives you the ability to hold a workpiece securely while shaping, sanding, and routing. or carving and it is essential for woodcarvers.
The clamps are wooden and this makes it perfect for wood carving
It mounts easily to just about any workbench with dog holes. It has a threaded post attached to the base of the vise that passes through a dog hole and it has a nut to clump the vise underneath, and this makes installing and positioning easy.
With Carvers’ vise, you won’t need to make any permanent modifications to your workbench.
The Wilton 78A Pivot Jaw Woodworkers Vise is also among the best woodcarving vise you can consider buying. It is made with cast iron and has 7-inch-wide jaws, a throat depth of 4 inches, and a maximum capacity of 10 inches, providing plenty of clamping ability for relief carving.
The outer jaw pivots 10 degrees left and right to apply even pressure against uneven surfaces, but it can make clamping the occasional round stock a bit frustrating. The outer jaw also acts like a dog, lifting 9/16-inch above the vise’s top, allowing for planning and flattening boards. It has a quick-release “fast-action” nut that lets you set the vise in place before snugging it down completely with an easy turn of the handle.
Lee Valley Detail Hand Tool-Best Hand Tool
The Lee Valley Detail Hand Tool is featured in this list of best wood carving vise as the best hand tool vise. Carvers can use this vise for detailing small carvings. This vise can be held by hand and move as you are carving or mounted on the edge of a workbench for more comfort.
It can also be held in a larger vise, fastened to the edge of a bench, or wedged into a 3/4″ dog hole.
The vise is made from cast steel and this material gives it strength and durability. The jaws are 1″ wide and open to 1 1/8′ and have an overall length of 5 “
Although the jaws of this vise are made from cast steel and there is no space to add wood, there is no need because it has a flat surface that will not disfigure your carving.
The Yost Tools YEV17′ End Vise features the best woodcarving vise as the best end vise. This type of end vise is a tail vise and it is made from a cast iron body giving it strength and durability.
The length of the screw is 1-1/4″ in diameter by 17-1/2 and a length vise of 4″ width by 19-5/8 and it does not come with a handle. The recommended handle is YWH-14.
With this type of end vise, you will be needed to make and install wooded jaws.
When buying any of the best woodcarving vises, make sure that you have a working bench that you can install because they won’t work efficiently without.
Before buying any type of the above woodcarving vise, make sure that you know what you are carving because different carvings will require different vises.