Introduction: Wooden Vice

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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 !


Merwyn_in made it! (author)2017-12-04

Loved making this, Thanks Matt

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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