Veritas Surface Vise: 30 Seconds to Get It - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Veritas Surface Vise: 30 Seconds to Get It

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Schwarz on Workbenches, Woodworking Blogs

Whenever I try to explain the new Veritas Surface Vise with words, I get only blank stares. Perhaps I don’t have the language skills to manage it. Perhaps a short movie will help.

The Surface Vise is , in essence , a quick-release version of the Veritas Wonder Dog. One post guides the rod of the vise and locks the vise to your workbench. The other post contains a speed nut , a clever way to release and engage the threaded part of the rod. Twist the speed nut clockwise, it engages the threads. Twist it anticlockwise and the rod slides freely.

It’s a clever way to add a quick-release tail vise to any bench or work surface.

The only quibble I have with the Surface Vise is the same quibble I have with the Wonder Dog: It’s a challenge to clamp thin material. The mechanism is ideal for stock that is 3/4″ thick or thicker. Once you start clamping thinner stock, you’re going to have to come up with a dodge to make it work. One such workaround is to add a secondary jaw to the head of the Surface Vise. This jaw could taper to whatever thickness you wanted. (The head of the vise is bored with clearance holes to make this easy).

However, all in all, it’s an amazing piece of work. It is simple to install, works remarkably fast and (unlike some tail vises) never sags. The unit is $75 from Lee Valley Tools.


Recent Posts
Showing 9 comments
  • Bill

    Anti-clockwise is how the English say it.

  • Matt

    "Anti-Clockwise"??? Is that the new counter-clockwise?

  • Zach Dillinger

    It looks like an interesting option for a new workbench. I think I will order one and write up a review on my blog.



  • Jonathan Hartford

    The frequent appearance of such devices disturbs me greatly. With the prevalence of such technology, how will we end up justifying the manufacture of new workbenches with more intricate workholding apparatus?

  • AAAndrew

    Of course, my wagon vise does the same thing for even very thin stock. Ok, it’s not quick release, but I really like anyway.

    Just had to point it out. 🙂

    Oh, and I’m being more of a daredevil than Chris. I didn’t put an end cap on my bench to secure the wagon vise ends. I’m just relying on the 25 square inches of face-to-face glue joint to hold it in. So far it seems to be working fine with no signs of failure. We’ll see how long it lasts.


  • J Wright

    Chris –

    Just a short note to say I appreciate all that you contribute to the field of woodworking. I am convinced you do not sleep . . . and that we as woodworkers are the beneficiaries of your focus on all things woodworking!

    Jeff Wright
    Treasure Island LF

  • Jeremy Kriewaldt


    Thanks for the review. This looks like something I may have to buy!

    In relation to thinner stock, what I propose to do is get one of these and attach a set of ‘fish scalers’ to the front part of it. If I make the fish scaler attachment about 75mm wide, it should allow me to get a block plane down to the right height. Alternatively, I suppose one could use a longer plane and start off at an angle to get around the higher element.

    On fish scalers – here’s my blog post that gives you some ideas on them:

  • Christopher Schwarz


    Risers will indeed work. The downside to risers is that you have to have many of them to suit the different lengths you might deal with. And different thicknesses. In the end, I think it’s easier to make one accessory jaw for the device that allows you to pinch stuff that is 3/8" thick or so.


  • phil williams

    Could you not just use some sort of riser for thinner stock? A piece of masonite or thin MDF should be able to raise a workpiece enough to clear the dogs but still be held tight. Or is there some reason that this will not work that i am missing?


Start typing and press Enter to search