Yost 5-1/2" Utility Bench Vise - Apprentice Series

A reasonably well-priced intermediate sized, general purpose vise with excellent fit and finish


Yost 5-1/2" Utility Bench Vise - Apprentice Series

For any amount of work with metal - cutting, filing, grinding, shaping, soldering, and the like, you really need a good quality metal vise. Features to look for include replaceable jaws that match up perfectly, minimal side-to-side play when opening the vise, smoothly operating guide bar, deep throat capacity, and, optionally, a swivel base that has a fluid motion but locks the head firmly in place.
Yost Vises has recently introduced a new 'Apprenticeship Series' of economically priced mechanics-style vises. There are five models to choose from, with jaw openings from 4-1/2" to 8". I looked at the model 455, which has a 5-1/5" jaw capacity.
These vises are made of cast iron while the beam is made of steel in a U-channel design. Yost's premium vises are made entirely from ductile iron. Ductile iron has the advantage of greater durability, strength and flexibility, but is more highly priced.
There are four mounting holes in the base of the Yost 455 that enable you to secure the vise to a workbench. Fastening the vise directly to a workbench is the preferred method. However, if you only use the vise intermittently, you could fasten it to a piece of 3/4" plywood, or 1/4" steel plate, and clamp the sub-base to the workbench. However, exercise due caution. The vise weighs 29 pounds, and if it slips off the workbench it can cause a serious injury.

(A) Removable serrated jaws, (B) Pipe jaws     
The 5-1/2" wide jaws on the Yost 455 have a 5-3/4" clamping capacity and a 3-7/16" clamping depth. The replaceable jaws match up perfectly, and the serrated surface helps hold stock firmly. The deep throat provides ample working room for all but the largest metal working projects.

Hold small stock securely with pipe jaws
Hold stock up to 4" diameter with flat jaws
The pipe jaws make it easier to hold round stock — from 1/8" to 2-1/2" diameter. However, you can easily hold larger round diameter stock between the flat jaws.

Handle have shock absorbers       
I like the 7-1/4" handle -— it's long enough that I can get a good grip on the handle, and I don't bang my hand against the vise when adjusting the jaws. Rubber washers on either end of the handle deaden the sound when I release the handle and it falls against the leadscrew head.
In use, there is virtually no side-to-side play when tightening the jaws, and you can advance and retract the jaws by turning the handle with a single finger. Jaw movement is very smooth.

Channel beam covers threaded leadscrew       
The robust leadscrew has an Acme thread pattern. A channel beam covers the leadscrew, providing protection from debris. Still, it's a good idea to clean it once in a while, and apply a lubricant, like WD-40.
It takes 22-1/2 full turns of the handle to retract the jaws to their maximum opening of 5-3/4".

Mini anvil       
At the back of the vise is a 3" x 3" anvil, which you can use for light duty hammering, for example, straightening nails or 1/4" steel rod, or bending flat brass stock. It isn't meant for pounding out sheet metal or for heavy duty shaping. For serious hammer work you should invest in a small anvil — a short piece of railroad rail is ideal if you can obtain one.

Locking handle for swiveling head         
The Yost 455, as with all the Apprenticeship series vises, has a swivel base that rotates the head 180°. I find this feature very convenient when I need to position long stock at odd angles. There is a single locking handle that doesn't require a lot of force to lock the head securely in place.

The Yost 455 — a useful addition to any shop          
You don't have to be an apprentice to appreciate this vise. Woodworkers, tradespeople and avid DIYers will find it the Yost 455 a useful addition to any work shop.
The fit and finish is very good, it can accommodate stock up to 5-3/4" wide, it's jaws match up perfectly, there is no noticeable racking, the front jaw moves smoothly, and the lockable head can be rotated side-to-side.
At $155, this is a reasonably well-priced intermediate sized, general purpose vise.



  • 5-3/4" maximum clamping capacity
  • 5-1/2" wide jaws
  • 3-7/16" throat capacity
  • 30,000 PSI clamping pressure
  • Cast iron construction
  • 7-1/2" high
  • 3" x 3" anvil
  • 180° swivel base
  • 7-1/4" long handle
  • 5/8" diameter threaded rod
  • 29 pound weight
  • 7-day return, 1-year warranty

COMPANY:Yost Vises
Carl Duguay, January 2013
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