I first heard of the Orange Bench Vise from some friends at Area 419 who said it is the best bench vise out there. I decided to investigate and found the orange vise is likely the coolest bench vise on the market with lots of aftermarket options.
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About the Orange Bench Vise
Looking at this set-up, I’ve come a long way from squeezing things and pounding on things with my dad’s vise in his garage. This vise is not for that — it’s for precision clamping and other special jobs. The included dovetail soft jaws are versatile and suitable for a variety of applications. Area 419 makes some really neat gunsmithing jaws as well which can be easily swapped with a dovetail. The jaws also retain themselves — it’s a particularly clever system.
You’ll note that my vise isn’t the iconic orange but Ultimate Reloader Red! Orange Vise does sell both orange and black versions of their product.
Patented design for precision assembly applications.
It can’t be used as an anvil, but if your application calls for precision machined jaws form fit to your parts, with the ability to gradually apply pressure without crushing or scratching the part, the Orange Bench Vise is for you.
Uses the same dovetailed jaws as our 3-axis CNC machining vises, fully cross compatible with CarveSmart jaws.
The Orange Bench Vise applies clamping force linearly based on the position of the handle after a workpiece is gripped:
1/8 turn: 750 lbs
1/4 turn: 1500 lbs
3/8 turn: 2250 lbs
1/2 turn: 3000 lbs (max)
The maximum force of the vise is limited by the axial load rating of the ball thrust bearing.
LIFETIME WARRANTY against defects in materials and workmanship
Accidental Damage Replacement Program – email us for special pricing on replacement components at significantly reduced pricing (50% off for most components except bearings)
Assembly and Construction
The vise arrived very well packaged. It took a bit to get out, but I am very confident the molded foam and plastic will protect it from any shipping damage.
The only point of assembly is adding the handle. Each end of the handle has a removable cap nut.
When the jaws are closed, an extra 1/8 turn gives you 750 lbs. of clamping force. A 1/4 turn gives you 1500 lbs. and a 3/8 turn gives you 2250 lbs. of clamping force.
The vise tops out at a 1/2 turn which yields 3,000 lbs. (This max is a limitation of the thrust bearings.)
The vise has a steel main screw (gold color). There is a ball bearing that’s a thrust bearing behind the cap at the end. On the other end there is a steel slide nut. It slides in this “precision cradle” with a thrust bearing on the end which handles the clamping force.
A wiper seal prevents dust and grit from entering the vise, stopping premature wear.
The piston is hardened to Rockwell 60. This allows it to glide in the bearings and also prevents wear.
The steel piston and main screw are titanium nitrided for practicality and a handsome appearance. The 440C stainless handle is precision ground and also hardened to Rockwell 60.
This entire device is not only a precision tool, but a work of art. If you are looking for an affordable bench vise, this is not it. It costs over $1,000 but is made in the US, has a lifetime warranty and is top of the line. This actually isn’t an outrageous price considering many cast iron vises produced in China and other countries cost almost as much. This product is a one time investment.
The dovetail interface allows the jaws to slide out sideways. We’re thinking about things we can do, particularly with 3D printing. One thought is to do some 3D laser scanning and print the impression of a pistol slide on the soft jobs.
Area 419 sells gunsmithing jaws which can be used as a barrel vise.
The included master jaws are relocatable. You can move the jaws into a new hole for greater capacity. The first hole gives you 5 inches. The rear hole extends it to 12 inches. The entire vise also tilts and comes with a swivel base.
Temporary Mounting Job
I loosened the side screws on the vise’s base block. This releases the pull stud and the entire vise comes off the base block. There are four bolt holes in the block. I used a transfer punch on a rigid wooden plate I found in storage to locate where I needed to drill once I got the base block exactly where I wanted it.
I used a small drill bit first, flipped the plate over and used a Forstner bit to countersink on the backside for the washer and nuts.
I had to shorten four cap screws (⅜-16) on my Precision Matthews TL-1660 lathe to get them to just the right length so they could drop down through the top but not protrude out the back.
After counterboring the plate on the backside, I flipped it over and drilled through with a 1/32” over a ⅜” hole so I would have a bit of slop and play. I dropped the bolts through the base block through the holes, put the washers and nuts in place and tightened it down.
I finally secured the plate to the Ultimate Reloader Bench System and added some grease to the base block before adding the vise and tightening the pull stud bolts to secure the vise.
Once this is set, you can loosen and tilt the vise. This will be especially valuable if I need to point a rifle near the floor.
The jaws themselves are very cool. Take an Allen key to the top of the jaws. You’ll soon see that the jaws are spring loaded and push the block up. If you release pressure, they will pop out. To reinstall, make sure the locating stud is in place and use the other jaw to keep it roughly in place while you tighten one.
This vise is incredibly smooth and satisfying to open and close. I have a host of projects in line for this vise, particularly if I get the gunsmithing jaws from Area 419. I also will be experimenting with making my own jaws, perhaps combining rubber and plastic. If you don’t have a 3D printer, Orange Vise Company sells replacement soft jaw sets you can machine for different purposes.
I’m very excited about this vise. Keep in mind this is an ultra premium product. It isn’t for everybody and not for general everyday use. If you do want the best of the best, this vise deserves a second look!
Get the Gear!
Area 419 Orange Bench Vise Maintenance and Barrel Change Package – $1,599.00
Area 419 Orange Bench Vise Jaw Kit – $275.00
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