After showing you in my last post a few ways for clamping workpieces to the Bench Bull (F-style clamps, Veritas Fast-Action Hold-Downs and 3/4” pony #56 pipe clamps), I want to introduce one last way: a regular 1/2″ or 3/4″ pipe clamp that will make your Bull even more handy – practically transforming it into a miniature workbench or portable vise.
Which Pipe Diameter to Use?
It mainly depends on the size of the Bull and the clamps you have around or can buy. In preparation for this post I bought three different pipe clamps. Two of them, Jorgensen and Irwin, accept a 3/4” black pipe, while the Bessey is riding on a 1/2” pipe (Bessey also makes a 3/4” version). If you like to have a long, tall and wide Bull with a stronger vise, install two or more 3/4” pipe clamps along the Bull. But for a small and short Bench Bull, a 1/2” pipe clamp will suffice.
There are a few ways for installing a pipe clamp as a vise. I evaluated the mounting possibility and concluded that the most practical way for me is to secure the rear head to the back of the Bull with screws. This prevents the clamp from rolling over, because its center of gravity is higher than the pipe’s center. It also allows me to have a few exchangeable vise jaw patterns that can be inserted on the pipes with ease.
After mounting the rear heads with screws, I though about another way to do it that would facilitate a rapid remove of the rear heads. If you embed a rare-earth magnet in the Bull’s inner face, it will attract the cast iron head and prevent it from rolling over. If you embed another magnet in the vise’s moving jaw, it will enhance the stability of your pipe vise even more.
Below is a drawing with critical measurements for mounting a 1/2” Bessey pipe clamp.