I am really puzzled as to how the tail vise actually works as I have only used a front vise.
A tail vise’s main purpose is to hold a board flat on the bench for planing, routing, sanding and so on. The tail vise pushes a board tightly against a bench dog so the board can’t swivel or move. The bench dog fits in a series of holes cut in the top to accommodate different sizes of boards. Think of your bench as a big clamp: The bench dog is the fixed end or head of the clamp, and the dog in the tail vise is the clamp’s adjustable end. Both the bench dog and the vise dog are adjustable in height so they won’t stick above the board and get in your way.
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker July 2006, issue #122.