Can't I just clamp the rail in a vise to do the same thing?
You can. Rail can be clamped into the top of a vise on the base to allow the base to be filed. However, this is a very fiddly process. The rail will tend to pop out of the vise, especially on the smaller sizes. The StockAid tool solves this problem by holding the rail completely inside a groove while being files.
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