The first easy upgrade is to make holes in the top. This enable to use bench dogs and hold fast. Bench dogs can be cheaply bought in aluminum, or hand-made out of wood (no need to turn the body so it is perfectly round!).
Furthermore, having bench dogs already allows to immobilize flat pieces on the bench with a pair of similarly angled wedges:
This way to clamp is impressively powerful. For instance, a 1:10 angle would convert a 10kg blow of hammer into a 100kg clamping.
Having a couple of holes in the bench is the perfect occasion to add holdfasts. They are very handy when just needing to hold (as opposed to really clamp hard). Forged hold fast are better but rather expensive. Instead, you can use cast metal ones cheaply available on the internet, as long as you modify them in two important ways:
- Rough sanding and serrating of holdfast rod (use metal saw / 40 sand paper / file).
- Gluing leather patch under holdfast holding parts.
After that, hold fast should hold when tapping on the head with a light blow of a mallet.
The most important vise by far in my opinion is the leg vise.
It allows to immobilize in a various of ways with a powerful force if necessary. As all vises, raking is a real problem. Raking occurs when the vise two parts are no more parallel. A very simple solution is this case is to use an angled wedge. To operate, simply screw the vise until it holds lightly the piece of wood, then move the angled wedge with your foot until it fills the gaps, then tighten the screw. It is fast and easy in practice. I glued well used fine sandpaper on the jaws on of the wise. It greatly reduces the necessary force to hold a piece of wood.
By drilling a hole on the moving jaw of the vise, a bench dog can be inserted. Then a piece of wood can be quickly clamped between this moving bench dog and another one.
The last vise installed is a very simple and cheap end vise. Because it is cheap, special care must be taken against raking.
In practice, I use this vise the less. A simple screw allows to use the vise with benchdogs