By Bob Duncan
Sjöbergs, the company that has set the standard for full-size workbenches and smaller carver’s benches, has created a mobile workstation they call the
The Smart Vise measures 14 1/4″ by 14 1/4″, can be clamped to any table or workspace, and includes a versatile bench vise. Not only can you use the bench vise (covered with waxed paper) for small glue-ups, but you can securely clamp pieces when sanding, routing, or shaping. The vise clamps well, but the wooden jaws and plastic bench dogs won’t mar a project unless you clamp it too tightly.
The stability of the Smart Vise depends on how you attach it to the bench. If you use carriage bolts to fasten it to the bench or table, it’s as strong as the bench. You can also use clamps, although you will lose some stability. If you do use clamps, I suggest using strong C clamps or traditional bar clamps; quick-grip clamps don’t hold tightly enough.
The top of the Smart Vise is plastic-laminated MDF, which may not be as strong as the glued-up hardwood tops used on the other benches, but requires no maintenance. Solid hardwood tops can warp slightly with seasonal changes in humidity and need to be planed flat every year or two.
A useful addition to any shop, the Smart Vise can be used for carving, as well as to hold anything you need to cut, rout, or shape using a variety of tools. The product is also compatible with many of the aftermarket holding devices designed by companies like Lee Valley and Rockler.
The Smart Vise is available at your local Rockler, Woodcraft, or Home Depot stores; the MSRP is $145. Search online or visit www.sjobergs.se/en/ to find more retailers.