What are Bench Vises?

The correct clamping of workpieces of any material to be cut, drilled, filed, or machined in any way requires special hand tools to make sure not only the accurate operation and high quality but also maximum comfort and safety for the artisan.

Some of these tools are essential subjects in all workshops, whether mechanical, blacksmithing, carpentry, plumbing, locksmith and even watches and the like and one such tool is bench vise. Basically, a bench vise is a tool of great strength and resizable with a weight that can broadly range from 200 grams to 30 kilo grams. A bench vise is consisted of the following parts;

  • A pair of jaws to firmly hold the workpiece for preventing any slippage.
  • A screw or crank which is rotated manually to open or close the jaws.
  • A support base

The bench vise base is mounted on a work bench or table using different methods, depending on the design of the tool which can be fixed or swivel.

The mouths or jaws are two as one is fixed and the other is moveable. The moveable jaw travels through a threaded shaft in a nut housed inside the fixed mouth at one end and the shaft is provided with a crank. On the jaws, there are various interchangeable paths for jaws to be striated profiles which are holding the workpiece being screwed. By moving the crank clockwise, the jaws close which allow the jaws to pinch the piece interposed between them. If the crank moves in the opposite direction, the mouths open and the jaws release the piece. The opening of the mouth can occur in two ways which leads to two large groups of bench vises mentioned below;

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Parallel Bench vise

These bench vises are the most used because the jaws are always kept parallel in any opening, holding pieces of various sizes appropriately to that size without exerting too much pressure on them. These bench vises are constructed of cast iron or cast steel which is more expensive but more resistant.

Standing Bench Vise

They are constructed of forged steel and are very resistant. They come from times when horseshoes were being prepared and used to hold a piece that must be hit with a heavy hammer, which makes them ideal for blacksmithing. They are attached to a sturdy workbench or wall, and the long leg is secured in a solid base on the floor. They are not suitable for mechanical adjustment work because their jaws are not kept parallel when opened and, therefore, the parts are not properly secured or deformed if tightened too much. Please, click here for more information about bench vises.