Mill Vise Selection Saga...(OMG)

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Mac McCaskie

Mar 25, 2019
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Greater Kansas City
Question in brief: what's a good size vise for Grizzly G0619 - 6" x 21" Mill / Drill?

I'm tooling up a new mill and purchased a "distressed" vise from a shop specializing in smaller machines. Along with the tail-tail witness marks, it came missing a bearing, the clamp screw was too short and didn't close. Of course I discovered the short screw after I filed the ways. That shop probably lost my business.

Then, being a bit gun shy with that experience, I ordered the smallest KURT vise

Oops, a little too big maybe? I'll have to say, it's a really nice vise, just too big for this beginner's machine.

So, back to original question, what is a good size and can you offer a link or brand name? I don't mind lapping it, but obviously all the parts need to be there.



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The Kurt is a great tool, but way too much for your mill. Check out the selection at the Little Machine Shop for smaller vises (3-4"). If you want a lock-down type like the Kurt, look at the Tormach.
First off if the screw in your current vise isn’t the right size why not get the right screw? I’m not sure how you can blame the shop if a used vise had problems, would you buy a used car without an inspection?

That said screw less vises in the 3-4” range work well in these smaller machines. I wouldn’t throw out the KURT though as you never know when that capability will come in handy!

The other thing to consider before buying new is to get a tape measure and some card stock and kick the device up. Card stock comes in very handy around the shop.
Thanks Swarf and Wizard for the reply's, I will look into the screw-less vises. As for the POS vise, I was not under the impression it was used and defective, maybe it was returned. I ordered it over the internet and inspection was not possible. How would I get a replacement screw if the vendor couldn't even replace the bearing?
Actually, I don't think that is the smallest Kurt vise. At IMTS in Chicago last fall I saw some pretty small ones at the Kurt booth.
If you are downsizing to a 4 inch Kurt type consider buying two. Long work pieces supported at the ends of the table is a useful way to clamp effectively. As stated... keep the 6 inch as you never know when a bigger mill becomes available.

You can't have too much clamping force when milling, in my opinion.
Update: The vendor will refund my money for the maligned vise. Big shout out to them. As for keeping the Kurt, I can't justify it and can return it for the cost of shipping. If sometime in the future I do get a larger mill, I'll either have to move to a place with ground floor shop space or hire Belger Cartage, our local heavy lifters, to move it into the basement.
Thanks for all the tips, looks like I need to stick with a 4" lock-down type vise and found something on Amazon that will probably, hopefully fulfill my meager skillset.
I went with a 2 piece vise to allow maximum work clearance. Got a used one from an ebay seller cheap because it was missmatched, just had to mill down the high side. But I have full size machines, don't know how small they make 2 piece vices.
Question in brief: what's a good size vise for Grizzly G0619 - 6" x 21" Mill / Drill?


I have a four inch vice from GMT that is excellent. GMT is still import, but it's at the high end of the import spectrum. At $350 it's a large step up from the usual "quality import" class, it feels every bit as smooth and nice as the Kurt vises I've used.

There are some nice 3 inch vises floating around as well, if you get a pair you could have added work length options without giving up too much capacity. Most work that is going to cover over three inches of Y area is an exception for machines in this size and can be clamped to the table . A bit more bother, but if it's a rare event save your back and wallet the cost/weight of an oversize vise.

Take care,

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