Introduction: Top 10 Vise Hacks!

Picture of Top 10 Vise Hacks!

Get the most out of your Bench-Vise!

After building three vises, I think I came up with enough tips, tricks, improvements, unusual uses, and hacks to stop you from getting screwed while DIY'ing (pun not intended!).

In this Instructable I will show:

How to make an improvised Drill-Press with a vise

How to save space- Clamp tools in your vise!

How to save money - Know if you should build or buy

How to make an improvised vise with a C-Clamp

And many, many more!

Let's get started!

(Oh, and if you thought three Instructables in a row about Vises too much, This is the fourth one... :)

EDIT: Part two of this series, an Instructable with 10 MORE tips and tricks for bench vises is up now! I've also made a compilation video of my favorite ones from both this Instructable and part two, which you can view here:

Step 1: Build or Buy?

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Build or buy? BUILD!

"As a "maker", I don't think it makes sense to pay $100 to $500+ on a vise, when it's basically a big chunk of wood/metal and a bolt. I know that I'm not the only one that thinks that." (from here)

As I've mentioned before, I've built three vises, and I don't think a vise is something you need to buy... Light duty and woodworker's vises can be easily built, and heavy duty metal-worker's vises can also be built.

Here is a list of all of my Instructables on how I built my homemade vises (like the pictures):

1. How to Make a Wooden 6" Bench-Vise (My favorite one, it works extremely well)

2. How to Build a Wooden Drill-Press Vise (My first one, not as good as I thought it would be)

3. How to Build a Twin-Screw Vise from a Turnbuckle (Not very useful, mostly an excuse for getting rid of my Turnbuckle ;)

There are many more people that built their own vise, so make sure to check them out here, or by Googling them: (Collection)

Step 2: Open a Tube of CA Glue

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My tube of superglue almost always glues its cap on itself, making it almost impossible to remove. Luckily, because CA is so fragile, when you squeeze the cap in a vise, it crumbles.

Ta-daa! An easy way for opening a tube of CA glue!

Step 3: Pry Open Electronic Devices

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A vise is a great tool for prying open electronic devices, from phone chargers and computer mice, to flash-drives and TV remotes.

In only several seconds, you can pry a device that you probably would have never been able to open because of its impossible screws. Why not give it a try?

Step 4: Hold PCB's While Soldering

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Before I built WAVE, I would hold big circuit boards in my vise. This would come in handy while trying to unsolder big components such as electrolytic capacitors and relays, but it wasn't really comfortable for soldering components on PCB's.

I later came up with the idea of mounting a small vise onto the top of a microwave transformer, which has been a HUGE improvement for my soldering projects easier. You can see how I built WAVE- The Ultimate Helping Hands Vise here

Step 5: How to Save Space- Clamp Tools in Your Vise!

Picture of How to Save Space- Clamp Tools in Your Vise!

One of my favorite uses for a vise is for clamping tools. Whether if you're using it to save space by making a mini portable router table, or using it to hold your sharpening stone, it's always extremely useful!

In the first picture, I've clamped my wooden Hand-Plane so it'll be easier for me to joint boards, in the second picture I've clamped my mini bench grinder so I won't have to waste any clamps by clamping it to the table, and in the third picture I'm using it to hold my sharpening stone.

I also use my vise for holding The Flat-Pack Bandsaw, but it you can also use it to hold a sander, to help ease the task of sanding small parts.

Step 6: How to Make an Improvised Drill-Press With a Vise

Picture of How to Make an Improvised Drill-Press With a Vise

Since I have only two hands, it was pretty much impossible to take pictures for this step.

What I did here, is mount my Dremel in My Homemade Drill-Press Vise, and bring move it up and down for drilling perpendicular holes. If you place squares on both sides, you can make this a really accurate Drill-Press.

Step 7: How to Make an Improvised Vise With a C-Clamp

Picture of How to Make an Improvised Vise With a C-Clamp

I made this way before my grandpa gave me my vise. This was taken apart the day I restored my metal vise, meaning that these pictures was taken a long time ago, so sorry for the quality...

I bought a C-Clamp at the hardware store, and connected it to my workbench by wrapping some sheet metal which had been screwed down to my workbench. I don't really know how to explain this, but this was the best way that I could think of doing this.

This worked well enough for the projects that I used to make back then...

Step 8: Improvised Solder Dispenser

Picture of Improvised Solder Dispenser

A solder dispenser? Yes!

By clamping a dowel in my vise's jaws, I can use it as a wire dispenser for soldering. As long as your vise is big enough, this can hold any type of spool that you want...

Step 9: Protect Your Workpiece - Use Soft-jaws!

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Soft Jaws? I've made magnetic soft jaws from silicone adhesive!

Any type of material can used as a "soft jaw", which protects you workpiece from getting marked by your vise's jaws.

You can use plastic, silicone adhesive, leather, heat-shrink tubing, wood, erasers, towels, leather gloves and many more. These are only a few ideas...

Personally, I think I'm going to glue some Silicone Tape onto my Wooden vise's jaws. I think this should work pretty well.

Step 10: Save Time! - Open & Close Your Vise With a Drill

Picture of Save Time! - Open & Close Your Vise With a Drill

Time! Time is something many people don't have.

The vise you see in the picture is My Homemade 6" Vise, and it takes quite a bit of time to open and close it, so I've glued a small piece of wood, and inserted a screw through it. This way, I can open and close my vise in only a few seconds.

Alternatively, you can also build Izzy Swan's Homemade Quick-vise.



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I read and answer ALL comments, so make sure to leave your suggestions, upgrades , improvements, and any other ideas in the comments below!


Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-31

100,000 Views! - August 31st, 2016

100K in exactly 20 days.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-11

I'm having rpblems with maiking the thumbnail with Instructable's Pixlr editor. I will restart my computer and edit it...

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-11

I've restarted my computer, and it still doesn't work. After editing the picture, and clicking save, the screen just freezes.

I'll try to fix this ASAP... :(

Gud work! :-) Same with me,try using pixlr online apart from Instructables editor.

Thank you!

This was a known bug, but I've heard that they fixed it :)

Kiteman says that he uses the Pixlr website, which worked (for the future...)

TechnicalKid (author)2016-10-12

Nice Job

Yonatan24 (author)TechnicalKid2016-10-13

Thanks! :)

mid_life_crisis (author)2016-08-22

The silicon pads are useful, but there's an easier way to accomplish the same thing. You can buy pads for the bottoms of chair/table legs that are about the size of a quarter and already have double sided tape on one side. Stick them to an appropriate sized magnet and instant removable vise pad.

Thanks for the tip!

patjjrick (author)2016-08-20

The Mini Bench Grinder, is it an instructable??

If so where, cannot find it.


ElectroFrank (author)patjjrick2016-08-20

If you mean the little red and black thing, it looks like the motor unit from a Unimat Classic 1 modeller's lathe, with the accessory grinding attachment.

Yonatan24 (author)ElectroFrank2016-08-21

That tiny Bench-Grinder isn't an Instructable. It's a "6-in-1 woodworking tool" that I got online, which contains a Bench-Grinder. You can see it here.

I've used it in several of my recently published Instructables, which you can see here :)

ElectroFrank (author)Yonatan242016-08-21

Yes, that is the cheap Chinese copy of the "Unimat 1 Classic" lathe system (which I have)(and is about three times the price).

Dawsie (author)2016-08-21

love the soft pad magnets will have to make some for Dad as he's always using my towels :-/ this should solve that problem for me and I have some which I bought for him to use when welding corners all have to do is pinch a couple of them and add some silicon to them :-)

Great idea thanks for sharing it :-) I will have to look at making myself some wooden ones for holding my jewellery findings will be softer than the mini-vise that I bought for the work :-)

Yonatan24 (author)Dawsie2016-08-21

Glad you liked it! :)

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-08-20

Great ideas for the beginning vise user. I have a metal 4" jaw vise for light metal work, but the advantages of wood for delicate and especially marrable surfaces (jewelry and such) are pretty nice. Thanks for the good info!

Thank you! Glad you liked it!

BishalB7 (author)2016-08-17

I want basics of jewelry craft.

Yonatan24 (author)BishalB72016-08-17

Sorry, I can't help you with that :(

Try Googling "basics of jewelry craft", that might help

DavidJ11 (author)2016-08-14

I love the magnetic silicon pads. With delicate objects I used to struggle to slip a shim of wood either side as the vise closed - but not any more!

Yonatan24 (author)DavidJ112016-08-16

Glad you liked them! :)

beswickat (author)2016-08-14

One day, my wedding ring became oval and I couldn't slip it off when I went to work in my work shop. So I put my hand in a vice and gently applied pressure to return the ring to a more round shape (it worked beautifully). Of course, someone walks in when I was doing this and couldn't believe their eyes when they saw me with my hand in the vice and apparently winding it tight. :=)

Yonatan24 (author)beswickat2016-08-16

Great idea! My Grandma's wedding ring had to be sawed off of her finger because a Bee stung her, and her finger swelled. I guess it wouldn't work for this one ;)

inad (author)2016-08-14

A+ for spirit of creativity, in how to use a vise, and how to make a vise and what can be a vise! Here's one that needs no picture I have a 1/8" thick 14"x24" rectangle of sheet iron that I can clamp to my wooden woodworking table vise. It acts as a temporary welding table for small projects and to help with grounding projects for the wire or arc welder.

Yonatan24 (author)inad2016-08-16

Thank you!

Great tip! My Grandpa just gave me a really old Black&Decker Workmate 4000, that is basically a sawhorse with a vise and bench dogs. Mine looks pretty much like this, but I think bench dogs could work really well for holding sheet iron :)

SherpaDoug (author)2016-08-14

1) If you want a big screw for a custom vise you may be able to salvage one from a cheap office chair that has a screw for height adjustment.

2) For holding little things at odd angles I often hold a large hemostat in my Panavise.

Yonatan24 (author)SherpaDoug2016-08-16

Yes! I've been looking for an adjustable height chair like the ones you're talking about for months!

A friend of mine has a chair like that the he uses for his piano, but the screw is made of some kind of plastic. If a chair like that can hold a 100KG person (for example, it could be more/less), I see no reason for it not to give 100KG of clamping pressure :)

M2aestro (author)SherpaDoug2016-08-15

The screw-adjusted office chair just might also have a slotted screw with a partial nut that allows one to make a fast vertical sliding adjustment for chair seat height, and then a fine adjustment height before locking. This kind of screw can be the best for rapidly adjusted bench wood vices, for you can quickly change from thin to very thick or from narrow to very wide clamping needs without turning the handle more than one turn. If you have the opportunity, then use that kind. My very best vises have that quick adjustment feature. Also note that one can make vises with rabbited jaws that accept inserts to fit special requirements.

ThomasK19 (author)2016-08-11

Nice tips! How about using a Torx or Allen screw (hopefully glued tightly) rather than a Philips which will loose grip after 5 times use? Also you should have something to center the lever while winding to balance it. Probably a wooden shim is enough, but some ingenious centering device wood be cooler ;-)

M2aestro (author)ThomasK192016-08-15

I don't see a great number of Phillips head screws on hardware around here, except for some wood screws and on some electrical components (for which the Phillips head screw was invented, I believe). I'm a great believer in using hex head machine screws (such as cap screws, for example), which are available in inch and metric threads, coarse, fine, extra fine, and some obsolete sizes. I avoid only the relatively weak 6-32 threads in things I design or build (That size has a small root diameter to outside diameter ratio, and is usually used in electrical fixtures where strength is not an issue.) I guess I should add that although I have some size 14 machine screws left over from repairing antique hardware, I'd never design that size into anything new.

Yonatan24 (author)ThomasK192016-08-12

Thanks! I normally use a Phillips bit in my drill, so that would be the easiest for me. Since this is only used for "speed" opening and closing, I don't think the screw should get damaged...

Center the sliding part of the handle? I haven't had a problem with that, since the centrifugal force (some kind of weird law like that in physics?) makes it spin faster than it can fall... The picture above was only a prototype (you can probably see the crack in the wood). When opening and closing, I can always put the on 1, so if it hits something, it'll stop immediately...

ThomasK19 (author)Yonatan242016-08-12

I tried to ban Philips screws where possible. Torx and Allen last much longer when you have to use them often.

I got an idea for your vise after watching the link with that spectacular one by Izzy Swan. If you split the thread in the moving part of your vise you could make it a lower/upper part which could be clamped by a cam like you use them on bicycles for rapid fastening of wheels. When loose, the threaded rod can slide to any position. And after clamping it would just be moveable by turning the thread with the handle.

M2aestro (author)ThomasK192016-08-15

I have never used a vee thread split nut clamping device, but I can attest to the fact that Acme thread and truncated Acme thread split nut clamping devices, vises included, can be great labor savers. Remember not to have the split nut on vee threads held by too weak a radial constraint or it might actually jack open the radial restraint. This is a case for using a cam as ThomasK19 suggests, instead of a weak snap ring that locates onto a grooved exterior of the nut.

Yonatan24 (author)ThomasK192016-08-12

I know. Philips screws don't last, but all of the screws that I have are either ones that I salvaged from other devices, or ones that were bought...

Do you mean something like cutting the hex-nut in half? Like what John Hiesz did here? A bit confused... :)

ThomasK19 (author)Yonatan242016-08-12

Exactly like so, just that this one is a bit bigger than yours :-) So I guess for clamping the thread with your smaller vise the quick cam could be fine.

BeachsideHank (author)2016-08-11

This is a useful collection of what I call "Methods Of Work" scenarios, nice post!

Yonatan24 (author)BeachsideHank2016-08-11

Thank you!

"Hack" is an annoying over-used word, but these are pretty much "hacks" :)

BeachsideHank (author)Yonatan242016-08-11

The ones that drive me nuts are "awesome" and "ultimate", and they usually are neither. ☺

DavidJ11 (author)BeachsideHank2016-08-14

So very true. The words usually indicate click bait and are best ignored.

Yonatan24 (author)BeachsideHank2016-08-11

Uh-oh... I'm working on "The Ultimate Collection of DIY Workshop Tools" now...

When organizing toilet paper rolls like a cloud becomes a hack, I don't know what to do...

Ultimately, these were the awesomest hacks I could think of for this awesome Instructable. ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: 15 year old, sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!
More by Yonatan24:60+ Unusual Uses for Workshop Tools & Materials! the Ultimate Collection!Workshop Tips, Tricks, & Hacks to Save You Time & Money!My Top Instructables of 2017 - Yonatan24
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