Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Auxiliary Vise
One of the things I like best about woodworkers is that we're always thinking. For example, if we don't have a tool or a jig that we need to do something, we make it ourselves, or come up with a work around. Here's an example:

Have you ever wished you had an extra bench vise, but couldn't really justify buying another one? Well, the next time the need arises, make yourself one of these quick vises. It costs next to nothing. All it takes is a couple of small pieces of plywood and a pair of bar clamps. The bar clamps provide all the pressure that's needed. And the pieces of plywood serve as "jaws" of the vise (see photo).

Auxiliary Vise photoEach jaw in the photo is 8" x 18" and 3/4" thick. The neat thing is there nothing complicated about making the vise. The bars on the clamps fit into narrow (1/4" wide x 2" long) slots cut in the ends of the jaws. This way, when you loosen the clamps, the slots keep the clamps from falling to the floor.

One thing to keep in mind is the location of the slots. They need to be far enough down from the top edge of the jaws that they clear the bottom of the benchtop.

Mounting the jaws to the bench is a snap. The back jaw is screwed to the front edge of the benchtop. To do this, position the back jaw so its top edge is flush or just below the top of the bench. Then screw it to the edge of the benchtop with two or three woodscrews. Countersink the screws so you won't damage the workpiece when the jaws are tightened.

Finally, all that's left to do is slip the clamps in place as you add the front jaw.

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