Introduction: Wooden Vice

The idea behind this project was to create a simple and useful woodworking vice (yes, that's how you spell it over here in the UK) that could be clamped to my makeshift workbench (my desk).

As I don't have any metal working equipment, and only a few hand tools, a wood based vice made sense. Also, the wooden clamps I made a few weeks ago have performed so well that they seemed to be a good base for the project.

Step 1: Tools

To build this project I used the following tools:

A bench hook (home-made)
Two wooden clamps (home-made too)
Panel saw
Hack saw
A plane
Marking guage
A square
A drill
And a sharp pencil

Step 2: Materials

The vice is built from a recycled piece of MDF, to give the flat vice faces, and some stronger stock to act as a clamp - a section of 2x1 would be ideal, but this is just what I had lying around (and I dont mind using a saw and a plane).

The threaded rod is M6 and so are the nuts and washers - this should be plenty strong enough.

Step 3: Cut the Stock

From the left:

The clamp rails are 30cm x 2.5cm x 4.5cm

The MDF face plates are 14cm x 18cm x 2cm

The front rail is 18cm x 3cm x 2cm

The studding is 14cm and 24cm

Step 4: Drilling the Main Rod Holes

This is a relatively simple build, just be sure to keep the vice faces and the back rail sandwiched together with clamps before drilling the holes for the studding - good alignment will improve the strength.

Also once the first hole is drilled, thread a piece of studding through the sandwich to ensure the second hole will be true.

Step 5: Assembly

Now all you do is put all the pieces together.

After assembly the front face was sticking so I've widened the holes to 9mm improving the travel.

Enjoy !


BenH197 (author)2016-09-08

Hey Matt,

Thanks for putting together this project. Any chance though you could add some more detail on the drilling and assembly for a beginner like me? Thanks!

Yonatan24 (author)2016-02-04

Hi, I've added your project to the "Make Your Own Bench-Vise!" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

guy90 (author)2015-09-15

Nifty idea, saves a lotta money!

adam.deiterick (author)2015-01-04

.... EPIC! AMAZINGLY SIMPLE! A+ Plus on this idea. I've seen store bought ones, made out of cheap-fake-wood, that do not hold up. And they are really stupid-expensive. Now, I just got into woodworking not too long ago, and very much a newbie, but I use larger stock. Can your design be adapted, for longer stock? example, I am sanding to long board sides, together at one time so they are even-finished? probl'y a stupid question. But thanks for your help! I AM SO GOING TO MAKE A SMALL ONE! Lastly, any ideas, if wood desk seal would help it, stand up to the weather?

llib111 (author)2012-11-23

WHen pressured is applied to the wing nuts, the jaws form a "V" instead of straight alignment. How do I fix? Jaws too wide? Nuts too low??

I have used this technique exactly some time ago but mostly to do hold down wooden clamps and handsrew clamps.
For a vise I think it works ok if you have the patients to go through all those fine threads.
Otherwise a good instructable, thanks for sharing it.

 Yeah, the fine threads are a pain, but it does make a good spare. (BTW I love the concept of the Smallest Workshop in the World)


red-king (author)2010-05-06

 I would have used larger rods, and i would have used 3 of them, and only put a nut on the middle one. That's just me though, what you have done should work fine too.

stephenniall (author)2010-04-13

Im going to build one of these for my Desk (For my electrical and woodworking projects in my bedroom). Thanks for the idea

Phil B (author)2009-09-01

You made a wooden vise. Wood vice would be illegal things done by wood. Otherwise, you have a nice Instructable. Thank you for it.

matt byrne (author)Phil B2009-09-02

Glad you liked it Phil. However, according to my Oxford English dictionary 'Vice' is indeed the correct spelling - we brits are funny like that.

kerns (author)matt byrne2009-09-02

A wood vice is something that can be used to hold wood. A wooden vice is something MADE OF wood, that could hold something.. like more wood.

Yes? So it's not the spelling of the word <vice> being addressed.

The words "wood vice" describe an immorality on the part of, or perhaps implemented using, wood. Ahem. Erm. Hehehhhh...

The description of a vice as "wooden" signifies that the vice is *made of* wood. Or stiff in it's delivery of a punchline. Ba-dumph tsssh.

kitsuken (author)kerns2009-09-29

You made a wooden vise. Wood vice would be illegal things done by wood.

Phil was making *both* points, the spelling and the wooden ones.

also, technically a wooden vice would make an ideal wood vice as it wouldn't damage the wood like a metal vice would. So it's accurate either way

graeme.t.cooper (author)kerns2009-09-05

can someone get the hook please. For our next act........

matt byrne (author)kerns2009-09-02

Err, well, thanks for clearing that up Kerns ;)

Phil B (author)matt byrne2009-09-02

I apologize. I did not realize you are from the UK. I know there are such differences between UK and US usage, but was not aware of that one. I had run into "C clamps" (US) and "G cramps" (UK). Thanks for tolerating my lack of knowledge.

blackcat_rj (author)2009-09-15

Matt, Do you have a instructable to wooden clamps? great instructable! ;)

matt byrne (author)blackcat_rj2009-09-16

Haven't made one yet, but will do so at the weekend - I need a couple more clamps for a project I'm working on at the mo' so I'll take some pictures :)

morfmir (author)2009-09-02

great instructable, very useful vice from simple and cheap materials. /Thomas

matt byrne (author)morfmir2009-09-02

Thanks Thomas, that's a great compliment coming from you.

SinAmos (author)2009-09-01

I think this is helpful for a lot of people without beautiful vice, but I have an ancient metal vice that is too good to be usurped by woodage.

matt byrne (author)SinAmos2009-09-02

Well if that's you in your profile picture I'm not about to start an argument !

SinAmos (author)matt byrne2009-09-02

Of course that is me. Start it.

stephenniall (author)2009-09-01

what a great idea . must be cos ur a brit ! ! We are the best

matt byrne (author)stephenniall2009-09-02

Thanks a lot for you comment, and I'm sure Great Britain thanks you for your patriotism ;)

madwilliamflint (author)2009-09-01

Nice :) The threads seem like they'd be fine enough that it might be a headache.


Yes indeed, that's one of the problems with it. I had a thought of hacking up an old g-clamp to get the threaded rod out of that (which has a much steeper pitch), but I haven't worked out how to fix the female side to the face of the vice (if you see what I mean).

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