What is a Bench Vise Used For?

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Vise, also spelt Vice, device with two parallel jaws for holding a workpiece; one jaw is set in place, while the other is moveable by a screw, lever, or cam.

When a vise is used to secure a workpiece during manual activities such as filing, hammering, or cutting, it may be securely fastened to a bench.

In vises intended to hold metallic workpieces, the active jaws are composed of hardened steel plates that are often detachable and have serrations that grasp the workpiece; to protect soft components, the permanent jaws may be covered by temporary jaws made of sheet copper or leather. Pipe vises have twin V-shaped jaws that grasp in four distinct locations rather of just two.

Woodworking vises feature smooth jaws, which are often made of wood, and operate only via friction rather than serrations.

Vises with smooth hardened steel jaws and flat bases are used to secure workpieces on machine tool tables.

These machine vises are portable but may be fastened to the machine table while in use; other features include the ability to rotate the active portion of the vise, allowing for a range of workpiece locations relative to the base. Special jaws may be supplied to clamp components that cannot be clamped with flat jaws.

Below you will learn more about the Types of Vises and Their Uses to further help you decide between which is the best bench vise you need for you trade.

Types of Vises and Their Uses:

Woodworking Vises

The woodworking vise is the most often used kind of vise for woodworking. It is composed of many components. Jaws are the vise components that secure a workpiece. A screw mechanism attaches the workpiece using a pair of jaws, one stationary and one moving parallel to the other. The screw mechanism pushes one jaw in toward the other until they are securely fastened to the workpiece. Depending on the purpose, jaws are usually constructed of wood, plastic, or metal.

Bench vises are not need to be connected to workbenches; as long as the work surface is solid, they may be mounted directly to the surface or to the side. Vises that are connected directly to the surface include a swivel that allows the vise to revolve as required. Because many bench vises have metal jaws, lining the jaws with wood or a comparable material may help preserve the workpiece’s integrity. Jaws may be changed when they wear out. Certain bench vises may also be used as an anvil. Bench vises are classified based on their strength, durability, and intended use. Bench vises, both heavy duty and light duty, are often employed in industrial applications.

Heavy-Duty Bench Vises

Heavy-duty bench vises are usually constructed of iron and are referred to as machinists’ vices due to their ability to resist heavy applications and regular usage. Serrated steel jaws, a precise sliding bar, and an ACME-threaded main screw are all prominent components.

Fasteners should be bought, and fasteners for connecting the jaws to the vise often contain an extra pair of replacement jaws for use when the original set wears out. A typical heavy-duty bench vise will either be fixed or will rotate 360 degrees. Bench vises with pipe jaws are equipped with an additional pair of steel pipe jaws that spin 360 degrees and are interchangeable.

Medium Duty Bench Vises

Medium-duty bench vises are well-suited for a variety of applications. They are often constructed of iron and include interchangeable steel top jaws as well as pipe jaws. Numerous models have a 360-degree swivel and an integrated anvil. Jaw faces may be changed from serrated to smooth according on the application.

Pipe Vises

Pipe vises are used in plumbing to restrain pipes or tubing while cutting or threading. They can accommodate pipes as little as 3 mm in diameter up to 200 mm in length. They may be mounted on a workstation or used in conjunction with a portable tripod stand. Generally, a stand is used for tasks that occur outside of a workshop. They are collapsible for transporting, and they are often used in pairs or more for large lengths of pipe.

Chain Vises

Chain vises secure the pipe with a chain. A chain that clamps firmly around the pipe secures it in a V-shaped support. Typically, the chain is composed of high-tensile steel. Chain pipe vices are ideal for pipes or other irregularly shaped items. In contrast to hinged vices, they often have a greater working range and capacity, since the vice’s working range is limited only by the length of its chain. Due to the chain’s wide gripping area, it can firmly grasp the full circle of the pipe. However, using a chain pipe vice to secure a pipe takes longer than using other vises. This is because the chain must be inserted carefully between the tool’s jaws in order to securely clamp the pipe in place.

Yoke Vises

Yoke vises, sometimes called hinged vises or adjustable jaw vices, hold the pipe in place using a screw. Pipe lengths are held in place by a fixed v-shaped lower jaw and a movable top jaw. Both jaws are serrated to aid with gripping. After positioning the workpiece on the fixed jaw, the moving jaw is lowered and pressure is applied through a screw. A tommy-bar adjusts the distance between the jaws of the vice by turning the screw. Yoke vices are typically constructed of cast iron and may be fastened to a workbench or tripod stand.

Metalworking Vises

Metalworking vises, also known as engineer’s vises, are used to secure pieces of metal rather than wood in order to file and cut them. These vises are sometimes constructed of cast steel but are mostly constructed of cast iron.

Certain models include a cast iron body and a steel channel bar. Cast iron is a widely used material due to its rigidity, strength, and low cost. Jaws are often made of a distinct component to allow for easy replacement. Soft jaw coverings made of aluminum, copper, wood, or plastic may be utilized to protect sensitive work.

They are often fastened to a workbench, with the jaws’ faces protruding slightly beyond the front edge. Additionally, these vises may have a tiny anvil attached to the rear of their bodies, and the majority have a swivel base. Engineer’s vises, also known as machinist’s vises, are discussed in more detail in our guide here.


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