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I live in Brazil and here we have very low quality bench vise screws, and NO woodworker bench vises for sale. Buying overseas the price starts at 200 dollars with shipping (shipping and taxes are more expensive than the vise).

I want to start playing with woodworking, some cabinet making using MDF and plywood, and maybe some furniture using salvaged wood. Can I realistically work on wood using a bench with no vises, or just vises that uses wedges, bench dogs, etc?

I guess my major problem would be edge work (planning, cutting, routing, etc). Some of that can me solved using an engineer vise (available here) or holding wood to the bench legs using clamps.

Also, is there any good bench designs that DON'T incorporate a front and tail vises?

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I really not trying to be rude, but what's wrong with a table? It sounds like you have access to some basic clamps, you can make your own guides. – Jason Feb 27 '13 at 20:12
I also use a simple table. If I need a piece to remain steady, I simply clamp it to the table. Heck. I'm actually using my table saw top as my gluing bench! (It's stronger and flater than my table...) – Maxime Morin Feb 27 '13 at 20:19
Not rude at all. This is probably what I'm going to do. I just thought that a bench could have some advantages like: bench dogs, sturdy top and legs, weight (stability)... since this sidetracked a bit, having a nice sturdy table (I'm thinking metal frame with a double plywood top bolted to the ground). – Luiz Borges Feb 27 '13 at 22:43
More often then using the vice, I clamp things to my bench. – Steven Feb 28 '13 at 1:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have no vice and I've always been able to get by without one. In fact, in all the shows I've seen about woodworking, building houses, and doing home improvement work I cannot think of a single time I've ever seen anyone use a vice. I much more frequently use clamps anyways, which are much more versatile.

Good woodworking is as much about using your brains to improvise as it is having the exact tools for every single job. In many cases you can build what you don't have, which are some interesting projects.

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To be honest, I don't recall seing a vise in use on any shows or videos, but they are always there, haunting my thoughts, making me believe they will be needed as if they were the ultimate tool. :) Since I don't have much pratical experience with woodworking I was looking for cases like yours be more self assured. – Luiz Borges Feb 28 '13 at 10:19
I hope this forum can put your mind at rest @LuizBorges. – GdD Feb 28 '13 at 11:54

A vise is a useful general-purpose clamp for holding pieces while you work on them. But there are certainly other ways to hold something in useful orientations.

I've seen a jig which is basically a simple vise using a couple of clamps to tighten the jaw and a couple more to hold it to the top of the bench -- and another construced an an "outboard" leg vise that could be screwed or clamped to an existing bench.

And a more traditional vise can usually be added to a bench later if you want it.

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If you have an English style bench with solid skirts, check out this video. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yvhn-PAfEW4

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Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. We tend to discourage link-only answers, as links decay over time. If you can, please add an image of the solution you're referencing to your answer. – Daniel Griscom Jan 4 at 12:26

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