Inexpensive pipe-clamp vise
I enjoyed your "Buyer's Guide to Woodworking Vises" (issue 147), but can't afford the $100 price tag for a really nice vise like those shown in the article. My economical "vise," below, costs about the same as the inexpensive subpar model shown in that article, but offers the reliability and holding power of a good old pipe clamp.
I mounted the business end of a 3⁄4 " pipe clamp to the front of my bench, using a cut-off floor flange and a short length of pipe, as shown in the drawing. (The top of the jaw is about 1" higher than the benchtop.) Next, I drilled two rows of evenly spaced 3⁄8 " holes into the benchtop to accept the dog's 3⁄8 " bolts. The bolts don't thread into these holes; they just pin the dog in place in whatever pair of holes best suits the size of my workpiece.
To distribute the clamping pressure over a wider area than the narrow face of the clamp jaw alone can provide, I insert a wooden block between the jaw and my workpiece. I also keep a variety of thin scraps around that don't interfere when I power-sand a workpiece held in my "vise."
—George Roskopf, Pewaukee, Wis.