I just spent part of the day installing my spiffy new Veritas quick release front vise. It replaced a broken Record #52-1/2 vise that had seen better days.
Packaged in the box is the vise, all the mounting hardware you'll need and a very well written instruction manual.
As predicted, all of the action with this vise is in how you mount it.
And because of the nature of this thing, you need to precisely drill four holes (of three diameters) in the apron board of your bench as well as the mobile front jaw which you fabricate/otherwise supply yourself.
To that end, Lee Valley went the extra mile and printed the mounting templates for both the body of the vise onto the underside of your bench, as well as the drilling locations for the hardware to poke through the pieces of wood onto a clear piece of reusable plastic. Unlike with paper templates, you can actually see what you're doing as you index the hole locations and poke the centers with a scratch awl.
The net result is that if you ever need to fabricate a new front jaw, or even move this vise from bench to bench you'll be able to get there from here by simply reusing the plastic template again in the future.
The elapsed time to mount this vise can be as little as about 45 minutes, after you spend the time to digest the (did I mention well written?) manual and suss out what it is that you need to do first, second, etc.
Once installed and in use this vise is amazing. When the quick release lever is down you spin the handle to move the front jaw. With the lever flipped up the teeth of the central screw are disengaged and you can push and pull the jaws out quickly and easily. And the movement of the system is smooth and easy in both modes.
When engaged it's got plenty of torque for putting the big squeeze on your work. It's also sized to accommodate jaws that are about 18-1/2" wide. That's plenty big for nearly any work I can imagine.
When it comes time to fabricate the movable front jaw you've got some options. You can either make the jaw dead parallel with the rear jaw/skirt board of your bench, or you can mill a slight angle into the interior face of the movable jaw. This is totally up to you, but it is a good idea to toe the jaws in so that they're about a degree out of being strictly parallel. This will give you good squeeze and grip up at the top of the jaws and it'll deflect enough, easily enough, to grab the body of things like drawers or other big and wide stock.
In all, NO, this isn't an inexpensive option. But it is a very good choice. It's got all of the upsides of a traditional metal bodied vise and yet has that sort of organic thing going that traditional front vises have, where it's a minimalistic set of metal parts and is largely comprised of wooden bits you provide yourself.
Long-term use will reveal how this thing holds up in time. I use my vise quite a bit (obviously, since I seem to have broken a Record). I plan on revisiting this review in a year or so and following up with my observations at that time.
But at this point in time, I'm impressed. It was easy to mount, the celluloid template was a breeze to work with and it all came together quite politely.
At this point in time I can wholeheartedly recommend this vise with no reservations at all.