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The OLYMPIA TOOL 38-604 4″ BENCHTOP VISE is good for the price and is probably everything needed or desired for home workshops, but doesn’t make it onto the best bench vise list. The 4-inch jaws of the 38-604 are fine for light to moderate “honey-do” projects, and it works harder when bolted to the workbench in your garage. But if your projects are larger and bigger jaws are needed then you’d be well advised to check out a Wilton Bench Vise or Yost Tools Vises.
The OLYMPIA TOOL 38-604 4″ BENCHTOP VISE has a quality powder coated finish, swivels 270-degrees, and can be securely attached to your workbench with a sturdy 4-bolt base. All the vise features you need for home workshop projects at a truly affordable price point.
Ideal for most DIY stuff you do around the house, the 38-604 is a cast iron bench vise that features replaceable serrated hardened steel jaw faces, and a polished anvil and anvil horn on which to bang stuff into desired shapes. The 4-inch jaws open a bit more than four inches, but not the smoothest turning threaded rod…better when greased. Olympia Tools claims 20K of pressure is possible, however likely that’s the very max its somewhat wimpy screw could ever deliver. Don’t go crazy extending the lever thinking you can crank down super tight.
There are several sizes of vise choices on the market. The 38-604 four inch bench vise is on the smaller side. Build quality is okay and cast iron is certainly expected, but build materials are thinner than higher end vises and not on par with a more heavy duty forged steel bench vise. Even at its modest price the 38-604 delivers respectable opening width, two locking cleats, reasonable throat depth and play in the jaws, ample swivel, plus a decent finish. There is also a small permanent pipe clamp under the main jaws which comes in handy and is a bonus on a budget vise.
The 38-604 is what it is for the price, so don’t be too upset if this tool exhibits some roughness or minor imprecision in how the jaws align. Judging this one against a professional vise costing a couple of hundred bucks is an apples-to-oranges comparison. The 38-604 is great for occasional use holding or clamping wood and metal materials, working on a rifle, or a million other light duty things.
So, a bench vise isn’t the most glamorous of gadgets, but when you need one they can be the handiest gadget you own. Secured to a garage workbench the OLYMPIA TOOL 38-604 4″ BENCHTOP VISE can be all you’ll ever need, unless of course you’re a machinist and/or your needs are specialized. For example, if you’re mostly working on the move then consider the portability of an IRWIN Woodworking Vise.