What is the best bench vise?

What’s your opinion on the best bench vise ever made? I’m planning more vise testing and would like more suggestions. It be helpful to post a photo of the vise.

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I would not say they are the best, but as far as being able to go out today, and pick-up a vise for reasonable price and respectable quality. I think harbor freights new line of Doyle vises will be difficult to beat. I previously own the blue junker. But after seeing so many people picking them up i decided to give in as well. Its their 6in. Model.

Has a thrust washer, wear plate, even claims being made from ductile cast iron. Would love to see the claims put to the test!

Ive owned it for 6ish months, so far very pleased.

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while at times people can shutter a bit over a 6 inch vise being “too large” for what they need to do, Record vises of all sizes are EASILY one of the most common vises you see in shops all across canada. Additionally they are farmed out under a few different names despite being nearly identical; Eron in Japan, ive seen old mastercraft branded ones, and the old names before record; WODEN, and PARAMO. whichever name you see you always here the same thing from the people that talk about them. they are absolutely capable of handling work, and are high quality.

I am a firm believer that these vises were made of a quality that might not have been bigger and better than quality vises of the day, but that the quality was absolutely on par with what would be described as high quality during those old time frames where vise quality was truly high. I have never in my life heard anyone say they were inadequate in any commercial or industrial setting. Instead what happens is these vises are bolted to benches across the entire country for decades , performing perfectly that whole time, while hardly being noticed. Because they are such a crazy cross section of high quality, and extreme quantity I often view them as the best vise. This also does not take into consideration the REALLY old and REALLY large Record vises like the 518 or other old overbuilt versions from england that rarely appeared in canada.

If you totally ignore availability, cost, and focus purely on what vise is capable of the most heavy work before breaking, I have heard quite rarely that ATHOL vises are a slightly overbuilt interpretation of a REED vise. however its hard to choose a version of the ATHOL vise that is the biggest and the best, because they have so many versions. ill include a picture of the classic record # 6, an older rarer larger stronger version of an english record, and an athol which I have heard are extremely durable in my estimation

I’ve heard good things about Records. I’ll have to find a large one and compare it to the Hardtail.

I always say the best vise is the closest one that’ll do the job. While I love your indestructible monster vise, my regular vintage vises (Parker and Columbian) with 4" wide jaws work great for my craftsman type uses - sawing, filing, grinding, not gorillas with sledge hammers and cheater bars.

Looked at the HF 6" Doyle today I was impressed as pictured above a little under $250 the handle was bigger Dia.than my wilton of a similar size would definitely pick one up if needed!

Well I m a mill wright for a cement company here in upstate New York and the one thing that can not ever happen is the rotary kiln to go down a 14 ft X 270 ish ft steel tube lined with refractory material which starts at 16” - 8” at the cool end any way there are two types of rollers big and little a hot spot formed and fused three rollers to their shafts our job was too change the rollers out the big ones the shaft is right at 8” so put a big roller and big bearings around shaft there’s the unit two came apart but one fell apart and the races stayed and we had no large shafts to replace so we had to get it apart can’t remember vice but we broke it with a 50 lb sledgehammer 3 maybe 4 hits well I remember seeing your vice in another shop cutting to the chase we mounted vice then mounted shaft and 5 of us took turns to no avail so what did we use a 7-8000 lb excavator with a demo hammer or rock breaker hitting shaft with jaws catching race 4 hits don’t know the size of hammer but it came apart and I couldn’t cut shaft cause one we didn’t have time cause for whatever reasons the heat from cutting them cold takes the perfectness out and roller will wobble only a couple thou but enough to make it fail so we would heat everything up before cutting and that works but takes way way too long cause we have around 4 hours and refractory bricks will cool and start falling out bunch of not good stuff Chris I wish I had someone filming for ya cause you’d be impressed
Remember be safe assume nothing

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Yep some people won’t understand how you sometimes have no choice but to abuse a vise. Hopefully you can convince the bosses to get a fireball Hardtail to replace the broken. Jason

Oh please do, there’s bound to be some for sale for you to snatch up and destroy. I for one simply cannot WAIT to see the video!!!

Food for thought here: I was recently in the market for a 5-6" vice for DIY/do-all work and landed on a Wilton, after a bit of research. Today I tried the vice clamp challenge at your booth and have been musing over it since. However, I don’t really know what 13K means to me because this is my only data point. Until now my vice clamping capabilities have been loose, snug, and tighten the shit out of it; none of which have number values. Therefore, what would have been neat to see is the same demo with a misc. HD/HF 5-6" vice next to it so I can see what I can “normally” do on a vice.

Thanks @Preston_M (?) for the encouragement to sign up here and quick lurking.


After only ever owning used and sloppy bench vices, I recently treated myself to a new vice. For the price point and capacity to fit my current needs, I purchased the 5" fireball forged vice.
Forged Bench Vise (fireballtool.com)

It’s a slick vice, tight, great clamping force, fit and finish are good, and it has nice pipe jaws. We use it on the regular to hold valve bodies and torque a 1.250" hex nut to 200ft lbs. The vice does its job. It’s mounted on a 1" work bench on a custom fixture.

Edit: I keep a mill vice under the work bench for special occasions. When we really need to clamp down on something, out comes the old bison mill vice. It bolts to a custom fixture on the table. Or slide it to the table edge and clamp it with a couple bessy bar clamp.

Sure wish I’d known about your Vise prior to leaving WA. I would have stopped in Spokane on our exit and picked one up if that would have been an option. Now, shipping to TN really raises the cost. Eventually, I’ll pull the trigger.

With our current Christmas discounts you will be able to offset the price of our flat rate shipping!

I accidentally ordered 2 hard tails from you. I’m happy about it.ol

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