How to make soft jaws for a vise - Part 1

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to make soft jaws for a vise - Part 1


This shows how to make some wooden jaws for a metal vise out of scrap lumber.

And now a part two with some improvements.


Hi Makers, Builders and Hackers. Harley here with a quick and easy to make shop tool accessory project.

I was working on a repair project a couple weeks ago, and needed to put the project in a vise. However, because it was a repair, it already had a finish on it and I didn't want the metal jaws on the vise to mar the finish on the finished piece. So, I grabbed a couple pieces of scrap wood out of the pile and was trying to balance two pieces of thin scrap wood with the project and tighten up the vice all at the same time. Things were just falling all over the place, getting messy, I figured there had to be a better way. I went back to the scrap wood pile, pulled out a cut off piece of two-by-four and realized the width of the two-by-four was almost exactly the width of the vice jaws. And inspiration struck.

What I realized was I could make a couple cuts: one down the center; one at about a quarter in on one side and one about a quarter in on the other side; trim those off; and then do another cut across here. And I would end up with two pieces that would fit over the jaws giving me a nice soft, relatively speaking, surface to clamp things with.

There are six cuts that I can do with just four setups. The first setup I'll cut lengthwise for the first notch, flip the board over, cut the second notch lengthwise; move the fence over to the halfway point on the wood and cut the long slit that would separate the two jaw pads. Third setup: move the fence down and cut off the first notch, flip the board over, cut off the second notch. Fourth setup: move the fence down a little bit and finally cut off the two soft pads and the cutting will be done.

With those cuts done, we now have a functional set of soft jaws. We can put a project in there and tighten it down without having the metal jaws of the vice coming into contact with the project we're trying to keep nice and pristine.

So that's it for this episode. Next episode I plan on doing some upgrades for this to make it a little bit more functional.

Feel free to comment, like and subscribe on the YouTube channel.

Until next time, go make something. It doesn't have to be perfect, just have fun!