Types of Vises

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The most common types of Vises are the Woodworking Vise, Engineer’s Vise (also Known as Metalworking vise or Machinist’s Vise), and the Machine Vise, although there are other variations of specialty vises that will be discussed in this bench vise guide.

Vises are one of the most commonly used hand tools used in woodworking, metalworking, or jewelry making.

They are a device which is typically mounted on a workbench or other surface and which can be adjusted to hold various objects firmly as they are being worked upon by the user.

The device is commonly attached to an arm that moves along with the tool, locking it into place when it reaches its desired working position for a particular type of job.

If you’re also interested in looking for the best bench vise in the market, we have a great guide about that!

Woodworking Vise

Woodworking Vise
Types of Vises

The vises used in woodworking are usually flush with the work surface of the workbench on which they are installed. Their jaws are constructed of wood or metal, with the latter being typically fronted with wood, which is referred to as cheeks, in order to prevent marring the piece of work being worked on. [1] Work against a bench dog may be held in place by the moveable jaw, which may have a retractable dog built in.

The “quick-release” vises use a split nut that enables the screw to be engaged and released with a half-turn of the handle. It is possible to move the moveable jaw in and out over its full range of motion while it is disengaged, significantly speeding up the procedure for adjustment. Acme and buttress are two common thread kinds.

When it comes to traditional workbench vises, they are either face vises, which are connected to the front of a workbench at the left end (for a right-handed worker), or end vises, which are attached to or form a part of the right end of the bench.

Face vises are available in a variety of configurations, including leg vises, which have a long extension that extends all the way to the floor and a mechanism that allows you to adjust the spacing of the bottom of the leg in order to keep the clamping surfaces of the jaws approximately parallel even when the work to be clamped has varying thicknesses.

Engineer’s Vise

Engineer's Vise
Types of Vises

An engineer’s vise, also known as a metalworking vise or machinist’s vice, is a kind of vise that is used to clamp metal rather than wood. It’s used to keep metal in place during filing or cutting. It is occasionally constructed of cast steel or malleable cast iron, although the majority of the time it is made of cast iron.

Most heavy duty vises, on the other hand, are made of 55,000 psi cast steel or 65,000 psi ductile iron.

Some vises feature a steel channel bar but a cast iron body. Cast iron is popular because it is usually 30,000 psi grey iron that is stiff, robust, and reasonably priced.

Jaws are often detachable and interchangeable, and are typically etched with serrated or diamond teeth.

To protect sensitive work, soft jaw coverings made of aluminum, copper, wood (for woodworking), or plastic may be utilized. An engineer’s vise’s jaw opening is usually always the same size as the jaw breadth, if not larger.

An engineer’s vise is fastened to the top surface of a workbench, with the fixed jaws’ face just ahead of the workbench’s front edge.

Other characteristics of the vise may include a tiny anvil on the rear of its body. The majority of engineer’s vises feature a swivel base. Some “Homeowner Grade” engineer’s vises are not constructed of steel or cast iron, but of pot metal or a very low grade of iron, usually with a tensile strength of less than 10 ksi.

The majority of bench vises used by homeowners feature an exposed screw.

Machine Vise

Drill presses, grinding machines, and milling machines all have machine vises. A particular kind of machine vise is incorporated into abrasive chop saws. Because of its cheap cost and medium size, several amateurs utilize a machine vise as a bench vise.

Vacuum Vise

A vacuum vise is a tool used by hobbyists to hold circuit boards, model aircraft, and other tiny tasks. They are suction-mounted and often feature an articulating joint in the center that allows the vise to rotate and swivel. Vacuum vises are also used by jewelers to hold jewelry.

Pipe Vise

Pipe Vise
Types of Vises

Pipe vises are a kind of plumber’s equipment that is often used to keep pipes in position for threading and cutting. The two major types are chain and yoke. The yoke vise clamps down the pipe with a screw, while the chain vise secures the pipe with a chain.

It is intended to handle pipes with diameters as little as 3mm and as big as 200 mm. It may be mounted on a workstation or used in conjunction with a transportable tripod platform. The stand is often used for tasks that must be completed outside of the workshop; it is portable and simple to move. For longer lengths of pipe, it may also be joined in two or more sections.

Clamp-on Vise

Clamp-On Vise
Types of Vises

Clamp-on vises are essentially lightweight bench vises. They typically have smooth jaws for woodworking, plastics, and light metalworking, although some have serrated jaws for greater metal grip. Some unusual vises combine these characteristics in a revolving form. They also aid with the security of an item while it is being worked on.

Combination Vise

Vises having the functions of a pipe vise and a metalworker’s vise combined. Some feature a rotating design that allows them to offer both bench and pipe jaws. Plumbers often utilize them.

Chain Vise

A chain vice secures the pipe using a chain. The chain clamps firmly around the pipe, holding it in a V-shape. Because this chain is constructed of high-tensile steel, it works well with irregularly shaped pipes or other items. Because the length of the chain restricts the vice’s operating range, the chain vice has a greater working range and capacity. The huge clamping area of the chain affects how firmly the whole circle of the pipe may be held. One of the most significant drawbacks of this vice is that it takes longer than other vices to secure a pipe in place. This is due to the chain having to be carefully threaded between the tool’s jaws in order to clamp the pipe securely in place.

Other Kinds of Vises:

Compound Slide Vise – A more complex machine vise. They allow speed and precision in the placement of the work.

Cross Vise – which can be adjusted using leadscrews in the X and Y axes; these are useful if many holes need to be drilled in the same workpiece using a drill press. Compare router table.

Off-center vise

Angle vise

Sine vise, which use gauge blocks to set up a highly accurate angle

Rotary vise

Suction vise

Diemakers’ vise

Saw vise – used for sharpening hand saws

Pin vise (for holding thin, long cylindrical objects by one end, or used as a drill (scale modeler’s pin vise))

Jewellers’ vise

Fly tying vise, used to secure fishing hook in fly tying

Leg vise, which is attached to a bench but also supported from the ground so as to be stable under the very heavy use imposed by a blacksmith’s work

Trailer hitch vise

Shaker broom vise

Rigging vise, otherwise known as a triangle vise or splicing vise, which has three jaws. Used to close thimbles and splice rope, cable, and wire rope.


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