Instructables

Fast Easy Speed Vise Mod

Vises have their vices as do I. One of my vices is I have too many vises. But I don't have very many genuine speed vises. Being as impatient as the next guy I get pretty frustrated when I am doing a project and I have to fool with a vise with a handle that drops. Now real speed vises are mechanically difficult to replicate with most manufactured vises so I've devised a simple solution that involves wrapping some wire around the handle in a particular way that keeps the handle from falling down and lets me maintain the handle's balance as I turn it in, or out.

This greatly facilitates the speed which I can adjust a vise, and consequently makes me a happy guy. I like this idea so much I've done with all of my regularly used vises in my workshop.
 
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Step 1: Determine Wire Gauge

I base what gauge wire I am going to use on the size of the vise I wish to modify. Usually larger vises have larger, and heavier handles, so I use thicker gauge wires with them. My regular go to wire for large vises is coat hanger wire. But I have a twisty on my Panavise. So I pretty much run the gamut of wire gauge selection with this trick. I always use solid wire to do this. I do not think stranded wire is suitable for this application at all.

Step 2: Determine Length

Picture of Determine Length
My school of thought here is go big as I can always trim to fit. For large vises where I use a coat hanger the length I get out of a cut coat hanger is ideal to start out with. So I just cut the twisted up hook part off.

Step 3: Get Bent

Picture of Get Bent
My wire wrapping is symmetrical so it stands to reason that bending the wire in the middle is how to begin.
bfk2 years ago
Great idea! I tried it out on my Panavise with .020 soft galvanized wire and it works beautifully. I made one change. Instead of bringing the wires back to the hub and twisting them together there, I terminated the wires at the end of the windings and hid the ends by forming them into tiny loops with a pair of round needle nose (I'm afraid of raw wire ends sticking out... I'll find every one).

Sliding the handle all the way over allowed me to fully open and close it in a couple of seconds.

Tomorrow, I'll wrap one of my monster vises with .050 spring stainless. Spring steel should hold it's shape better and maybe need fewer windings as well.

Nice Instructables... I'm going to follow you. Thanks for the tip.

Ever count all your vices and clamps? You can never have enough.:)
pfred2 (author)  bfk2 years ago
There are probably neater and cleaner ways to wrap the wire. I just started doing it the way I do because it is fast and easy and I never took the time to figure out anything else.

I never took the time but rest assured I am a man of many vises

http://i.imgur.com/85txw.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/TDtjE.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ajCoh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/keEYF.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ajr2I.jpg

You should see my Vise Grip collection ... I've added a few since I took this:

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/426/p9290008d.jpg

As far as clamps go I'm pretty good with what I have now. Every now and again I still pick them up though. They're too hard to take a picture of.
bfk pfred22 years ago
I used to sail quite a bit. Whenever I'd pull into an anchorage and start talking with my new neighbors, the conversation always gravitated to ground tackle (anchors).

Since I built a workshop, I noticed the same thing about clamps. Why do we need so many? I do the same thing as you... Always looking... Not quite as many Vise Grips tho... Think it's a disease? And is it treatable?:)
pfred2 (author)  bfk2 years ago
Most of us were only born with two hands and I think it is nice to have a reserve of help we can count on.
bfk pfred22 years ago
Here's the part I told you I was going to make today. It's .050 spring stainless wire. the ends are tucked in (and rounded... Too many holes in my hands to not be afraid of exposed wires... Especially stiff ones) I made it twice as long as it needs to be, so I'll be shortening it ASAP. It works beautifully as you can see in the photo of the handle sticking up, and as soon as it's shortened, will be nestled next to the hub and completely out of the way of my spinning hand.

You should consider applying for a patent. You have until 11/30/12 to apply. A provisional patent gives you "patent pending" status and a year to test market them to woodworking stores... They're a great idea.
Photo Jan 25, 12 31 11 AM.jpgPhoto Jan 25, 12 39 59 AM.jpg
pfred2 (author)  bfk2 years ago
Hey yours looks great!

I'd patent it but I can't decide on the name. Either the DeClunker or Anti Dork Vise Device. The first vise I wire wrapped has an absolutely lethal handle I made for it out of a foot or so long 3/4" pipe nipple with two couplers for end caps. When that sucker came crashing down God help the finger caught in it! It would give me blood blisters if it got me just right. Even if I remembered to move my hand out of the way the noise drove me nuts. Something had to be done.

But then it worked so great I started putting it on all of my vises. I'm glad you're enjoying yours.
rimar20002 years ago
Bravo! Your ideas are always useful, pfred2.

I had a medium quality vise, but I partially ruined it, I gave it and bought one of those cheap rotating base, but the quality is bad, and I've done two or three repairs and still it is giving me problems. It seems I'll have to spend some money on a good quality vise.

BTW, when you read "walrus" in a translated from spanish text, that mean "vise grip".
pfred2 (author)  rimar20002 years ago
This guy makes vises:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk-QSce2HBw

If you get a car screw jack you might be able to make something with it.

Walrus? I have been on a walrus buying kick lately then. I just got 3 pair for 50 cents each.

One pair the release lever was missing so I made a new lever for it:

Here I copy a lever in another pair:
http://i.imgur.com/MqIJJ.jpg

This is the lever I made:
http://i.imgur.com/LGBiK.jpg

I get things cheap but I have to fix them up.
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