Its finally time to put some work holding power into the workbench with this Australian made, brass and aluminium HNT Gordon Tail Vice.
Depending on the exact type of vice or even regional language variations, tail vices are sometimes known as end vices or wagon vices. Typically used in conjunction with bench dogs/dog holes, these type of vices add a lot of functionality to the workbench whether you use power tools or hand tools.
However, they’re usually the trickiest types of vices to install with most of them very difficult to install after building a workbench, often requiring tracks to be installed, etc. The HNT Tail Vice (much like the Veritas Inset Vice) is an ‘inset’ type vice that really just requires a routed groove to be plonked into. If your bench isn’t thick enough, you can just pad it out with some blocks underneath the vice. This is a really easy vice to install!
After marking everything out, the first step was to use a plunge router and edge guide to “hollow out” the slot/mortise the vice sits into.
Because I didn’t have any support at the end of the workbench, I opted to simply not route out the last little section so that the router didn’t tip. As such, there was a large chunk remaining. By sawing either side of it, I was able to very easily and quickly knock it out with a chisel and mallet.
The groove for the ‘cap piece’ needed some cleaning up to make square with a chisel.
Cap piece/Cover plate
Once all that was cleaned up, the “hardest” part was left, not that it was a difficult task but its all relative. A thin (~7mm) cap piece needs to have a groove cut down the middle of it so that the bench dog can travel up and down.
I drilled a starter hole at both ends of the track…
…Which I was able to poke the router bit up through to complete the groove. A jigsaw or coping saw could have also worked here.
I finished it up with some brass screws I had laying around
I didn’t show it in the video, but I had to switch to a longer router bit to get the full depth. As the second bit was a straight bit, it would have been much slower for plunging. I really need to get myself a long (~50mm+ cutting edge) spiral upcut bit!
I’ve since drilled some dog holes, which has allowed me to test out how well the vice works. The short video below (Instagram) shows the incorrect usage of it, but maaaaan does it have some holding power!