There is a wide range of bench vises on the market catered specifically to the home garage. It can be quite a daunting task when it comes to choosing and making a first time purchase. A nice entry level bench vise worth considering is the Shop Fox D3250 6 Inch Bench Vise. Shop Fox runs off their parent manufacturing company Woodstock International, who boasts great quality woodworking and metalworking machines and tools since the late 90’s. They are not as widely recognized as other bigger tools manufacturing companies, but their D3250 6 Inch shows why they have managed to withstand the test of time, and so we believe their bench vise deserves a review.
The Shop Fox D3250 6 Inch Bench Vise comes with removable flat jaws that have an opening width of an impressive 6 inches. This is a great deal for the majority of building or repair work done around the garage. The well knurled grip on the jaws will provide a sturdy hold on your work pieces once the jaws are locked into place.
The handle that operates the D3250 jaws comes with two rubber washers, with one on each side. This does not really make a huge difference to operating the vise, but it does keep the handle centered, making it more comfortable when setting up a job. The vise has a square slide and covered lead screw design which ensures that the jaws remain perfectly aligned as they are tightened together. This differs from the open screw design which can often have slight play in the movement and tend to require more maintenance to prevent wear.
The D3250 6 Inch Bench Vise also sports a fairly large flat anvil that can take a great deal of beating. It is ideal for those tough metal parts that need to be hammered flat or bent into shape, It also should alleviate any fears about damaging your workbench since you have something better to hammer against.
Finally, we have to mention the main highlight of the Shop Fox’s D3250. The base. It is heavily constructed with 4 lugs and can be securely bolted to the workbench using ½” x 1 ½” hex lag screws. The base allows for the vise to swivel a full 360 degrees, providing ample maneuverability when working on a project. This is a great advantage over other vises that can’t fully rotate. There are 2 locking levers that are used to keep the vise in place and make sure it doesn’t rotate unnecessarily.
SImply put, the Shop Fox D3250 is a heavy duty vise. Simple design but built to last using well made metal castings. It is finished off with a metallic blue coating, which is perhaps one of the weak points on this vise as it does unfortunately peel away with excessive usage. However, this does not hinder the vise from great performance. The overall fit and part quality are good. Overall, if you are looking for a bench vise that may not win a beauty contest but will get the job done and last a long time, the D3250 would work great.
While the Shop Fox D3250 may not be the finest vise to ever grace this planet with its presence, the price certainly is right. You’ll be looking to spend around $80 bucks or so if you shop online at Amazon.com, where the free shipping deal is pretty attractive. This is more than the cost of other similarly simple bench vises if they are made on the cheap, however these other vises probably won’t live as long as the D3250. Essentially, you are paying for durability and good engineering. So you if can afford to stretch your dollar a little, the Shop Fox D3250 6 inch bench vise will guarantee you a nifty little investment.