by Ralph Waters
Throughout my life, my father has given me many wonderful gifts. One of them was this Fowler swivel-mounted vise. In order to use it for welding projects in the driveway as well as in my shop, I mounted it on a heavy tripod instead of the bench. While this does limit the lateral force I can apply without risk of tipping, I’ve been quite pleased with the added versatility.
Another gift from my father seems to be the disposition of a packrat. Between this, limited time, and the size of my shop, I never seem to have enough counter-space on which to work. Since it’s easier and more fun to build another simple project than to reform bad habits, I made a removable countertop for my vise.
In my case, a scrap section of plywood and a foot-long remnant of 3/4″ square tubing worked very well. I used multiple drywall screws to attach the tubing to the plywood, and this 15-minute wonder was done. The table sits flat atop the vise jaws and the square cross-section tubing clamps securely. The small size of my table allows it to store easily between the rafters or studs of my unfinished shop, so it’s not in the way.
My having to remove this table to use my vise makes me more likely to keep it free of unnecessary clutter, so it’s good for my personal development as well. I think I’ll make one from steel plate for use on welding projects.