Thoughts on work holding.
Everything starts with a foundation. The better the base, the better everything on top of it will be.
This applies not only to our house and life in general, but directly to our shop work in every respect.
Need to be of solid construction, flat, rigid, and immovable either by heavy mass or fastening to a structure. I prefer a hard maple top working surface. Light in color, light is reflected, hard enough to withstand wear yet if you drop a piece on it, it will not be damaged.
A vise needs to be of the highest quality. You will not find your bench vise at the import store or any big box retailer. Yost and Wilton are current US manufacturers but used Colombian, Starrett, Prentice, and others can be found at auction sites, farm auctions, and closing factories and machine shops. I strongly prefer the Wilton “Bullet” style machinist’s vise. The parallelism and fit is precise and accurate. There are magnetic top jaws in a variety of materials to hold the workpiece without damage. Good work starts with good work holding.
A popular brand here in the states are the Kurt vises. Nearly every milling machine around here is equipped with at least one. They have the expected precision and strength, but the popularity has created a market of accessories that expand capability. I use Snap-Jaws that have built in steps, v-grooves, and stops. Tall and extended jaws are readily available. Highly recommended.
I posted about collets. The accuracy and precision of your lathe chuck has a direct and immediate effect on your work. Precision three jaw chucks with reversible top jaws are desirable. Six jaw chucks are very precise and good for thin materials. The four jaw chuck is something that you need on occasion. For model builders collets are a wise investment. I have seen imported machines, even new ones, with lathe chucks that are terrible. Irregular concentricity and sloppy machining, even on new low end chucks. In the US, Bison, Buck, Cushman, Hardinge are all brands with a good reputation.