Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

GRS Multi-Purpose Vise

004 628 1 1WIt’s a steel vice designed for the GRS Benchmate System. The GRS Benchmate System is a series of work-piece holding tools, generally for crafting jewelry items like rings. However, I find the system useful for holding any small item for any type of close-in detail work.

A high bench designed for jewelry or watch repair is the best place to install its key component, the system’s fixed mounting plate. I installed separate fixed plates on both my jewelry bench and my workshop bench, where I can work seated with the mounting plate installed at chest height.

I’ll be blunt. The various components of the Benchmate System are pricey. My self-advice is, "Get over it." Automobiles are pricey too. I could live without my auto, but I wouldn’t want to. It’s the same thing with good working tools. It’s a crime to make and sell poor quality cheap tools and it’s a pity on people who buy them.

GRS is produced by Glendo LLC in Emporia, Kansas USA. Yes, made in the USA and very high quality.

I started my Benchmate System with just a mounting plate and a bench pin holder. I have been adding to it as my needs and skills develop. The single most amazing impression with the GRS system is the rigidity of the mounted components. The mounting plate (and mating brackets) are the heart of this solid mount system.

OK, back to the Multi-Purpose Vise. I have many vices in my machine shop. Each have their specific application. I have a small multi-adjustable (brand name) PanaVice. It’s like the car I mentioned. I wouldn’t want to work without it. But it does have limitations, as do all things.

I looked at the GRS Multi-Purpose vise many times. Honestly, my first and then continuing impression always was, it looks like a low quality and overpriced toy mini vice. In some pictures on the Web, the surface finish actually looked, well... “crappy”. Poor marketing material produced by the Glendo people, is unusual. I think the bad pictures are from resale vendors.

But I still really wanted a small vice I can use on the GRS mounting system. I have no need (yet) for the Benchmate Encore ring vice system or the engraving Block (ball) vice system. I am not presently doing engraving.

Looking at the vice specifications once again, I noticed it was very heavy for its size. I measure Six pounds, six point four ounces actual weight on my postage scale. Seven plus pounds are specified in some of the marketing material (shipping wt.). Weight is a good thing for stability. It's one of the shortfalls with the lightweight Panavice.

I noticed the GRS Multi-Purpose Vice had a pattern of holes in the top of the jaws. I assumed they must be for placing holding pins used for clamping. There is a total lack of information almost everywhere I could think to look (retailers) for accessorizing the GRS Multi-Purpose vise. Careful examination of the GRS accessories on the GRS website led me to a revealing conclusion. Here is the well-hidden information: https://www.grs.com/product/003-520mpv-multi-purpose-vise-attachment-set-for-multi-purpose-vise/ GRS Item #003-520MPV

The problem everywhere else I looked, the set is broken up with the jaw plates sold separately from the pin set. I assume this is because suppliers sell the pin set for use with Block (ball) engraving vices which don’t require the jaw plates. The Multi-Purpose Vice is offered almost like an after thought. They offer the jaw plates separately with no explanation. Very confusing for me and I must assume others giving the Multi-Purpose vice a consideration. Also about twenty dollars higher in cost when the parts are sold separately.

The GRS web-site showed the Multi-Purpose Vise (itself) as out-of-stock and available only as a back order. So, I ordered through Rio Grande at the higher price.

The accessories, however purchased, add a sizeable cost to the Multi-Purpose Vice. The total combined cost is still far lower than the pin set with the lowest cost Block (ball) engraving vice.

I am very pleased with the package and may consider a second set if I find carting the vice between benches becomes too much of a chore. Yeah, I am weak and lazy.

I would love to be able to try engraving using a ball vise sometime, but my hands and eyes are losing sensitivity due to my PN (neuropathy) and I am not prepared to start off on a new hand work challenge. If I was, I would certainly choose the tools made by GRS (Glendo LLC). Great products!

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 Here is the GRS Multi-Purpose Vise mounted on my wax carving workbench.  The front (right) jaw is fixed and the left hand jaw is the movable part.
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 A slightly different angle of view. I have the base plate on the extension (lowering) bracket. Also a GRS accessory. Very rigid mounting, even on the plate.  The big hex key is included. There is a large turning knob accessory available if desired. The expanding ring mount in the jaws I acquired several years ago,
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 The ring holder is one of the tools I intend to use with this vice.  This is the accessory kit I received. I had to order the two half round jaw hole plates separately from the pin set. Many pin options.
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The molded plastic pin case has a rubberized feel rather than a plastic surface The half round plates have long pins that fit the vice jaws. The single pin plate allows some rotation for alignment while clamping.
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Here is how the pin plates fit on the Multi-Purpose Vise. Note overhang on right (single pin) plate Typical short pin clamping action
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Leather padded inserts for ring or disk clamping. Large pins for clamping larger items.

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