Metalwork - Bench Tools - Vices

The Bench Vice

The Bench ViceThe Bench Vice, which is sometimes called the Parallel Vice, is used to clamp or hold workpieces. The body is screwed to the workbench to provide secure holding. If you are installing a Bench Vice there are a few points that you should take into consideration.

  • The top of the vice should be at the same height as the users elbow.
  • The Fixed Jaw should protrude slightly over the edge of the bench to allow for long workpieces.

The body and jaws of the Bench Vices found in the school workshop are usually made out of Cast Iron, which is strong in compression but brittle under shock. As a result they should not be hammered. There are also steel vices available but they are more expensive. The screw thread that a Bench Vice uses is called a Buttress Thread. This Type of thread withstands heavy thrust in one direction yet unscrews easily in the opposite direction.

Serrated Vice JawsThe Jaws Faces of the vice are made from hardened steel. There are also serrated which is a criss-cross pattern which provides a firmer grip on the workpiece. The Jaws Faces are screwed to the Sliding Jaw and the Fixed Jaw so that if they are damaged they can be replaced.

Soft Jaws

Soft JawsIt is often a problem when working, that the hardened steel serrated jaws on the Bench Vice will mark the surface of the piece. This is especially a problem when working on soft materials. To prevent this problem occuring Soft Jaws are used. Soft Jaws fit over the jaws of the Bench Vice and are made of a soft material. You can easily purchase Soft Jaws made of sheet steel and a soft rubber.

The Hand Vice

Hand ViceThe Hand Vice, which you can see to the left, is especially useful when working on the drilling machine, or working with small parts that need to be clamped together.

The Pin Vice

Open Type Pin ViceChuck Type Pin ViceTo the right you can see a chuck type Pin Vice, and to the left is an open jaw type Pin Vice. Both types are used to hold small pieces. The chuck type pin vice is better when you are working with round bar. The vice to the right is holding a drill bit. The open jaw type pin vice is used more appropriatly with small flat work pieces. Both types are hollow in the middle to allow you to work with material of any length.

The Machine Vice

Machine ViceThe Machine Vice is used with the Drilling Macine, generally. You can see the slots in the side of the base of the vice which enable the user to screw the Machine Vice to the Drilling Machine table.

The Toolmaker's Clamp

Toolmaker's ClampThe jaws of the Toolmaker's Clamp are made from Case Hardened Mild Steel. They are made in a range of sizes, and when buying or using one you should state the length of jaw that you would like. Toolmaker's Clamps are used for holding a number of parts together while drilling, marking out, or cutting to shape, etc.