Gooseneck Vice




Introduction: Gooseneck Vice

About: General badass, totally awesome, probably the most interesting person you will ever meet.

This is a quick and dirty gooseneck vice. It's not my design (there's not an original thought in my head except by accident). But it's a copy of a design that works great. The best part of these projects is that it builds your fab skills tremendously and leaves you with a very functional tool.

My need for this vice is for making, modifying and adjusting horseshoes. Mainly rasping them while their still red hot or holding them for grinding. But I'm sure there are many other uses for this vice from blacksmithing, to shop work, to whatever floats your boat. It's a handy little thing to have on any work bench or mobile workshop. For general blacksmithing I often use it for twists, etc because you can operate it one handed and not lose heat fiddling with the bigger bench vice

This instructable is for a quick and dirty vice. There will be no exact measurements or dimensions given, because I didn't take any. We are making a vice, not a space craft. You will need to do some of this by eye and make it work to your needs and available scrap metal.

I used a forge to form the gooseneck and a few other components. It's very possible to build this with an acetylene torch instead of a forge. Or just welding the gooseneck with a few pieces into a hex like.shape

Either way I will assume you have basic forging and welding abilities. Hopefully your welding abilities are better than mine and don't require as much grinder beautification

I get almost all my metal from the drop section at a steel supplier. These are the bits left over after a cut, and are sold by the pound. Rummaging through the pile you can find lots of bits and even inspiration for more projects.

You will need the following materials:

3"or 4" square tubing, approximately 14" in length

3/4" or 1" square stock

3/4" x 5/16" bar stock. or close, exact stock not important, Have about 24" of this at least

some steel plate, 1/4" is good enough, wouldn't go thinner. you you need to cut 2 pieces of 2"x4" and one 5"x8"

a 3/4" bolt and about 8" of threaded rod, coarse is better

a spring, medium grade, not as stiff as a valve spring, but get something fairly beefy

You will need the following tools:

cutting device

welding device

The following tools are optional but make life easier:



acetylene torch

Step 1: Making the Body

I started off with some square tubing. This was 3" square. You could
also use rectangle or even round. Go with whatever you can scrounge up. Make sure it's somewhat sturdy and not light gauge conduit. I went for something in the middle to save weight.

Cut your square at approximately 16" or whatever height you want your vice to be. Theoretically you could ground mount it and use a 36" or more piece of tubing.

Make your cut at whatever angle you want your vice to be at. Less than 45 is ideal for my needs. I eyeballed it, cut with the torch and cleaned up with the grinder. Bandsaw or chop saw will save you the grinder part.

Step 2: All About the Base

Next you need some plate steel for a base. I cut mine at around 5" x 8". Bevel your corners, drill four holes for mounting later, and weld it to the square tube. As you can tell by my welds. I'm not a professional welder. Or amateur. I'm actually quite terrible. But good penetration should hopefully keep it from breaking.

Step 3: Everybody Get Loosey Goosey

Now you can make your gooseneck. I used 3/4" square stock. A tad thicker like 1" would have been more ideal. However, this looks like it should be sturdy enough.

I used a propane forge because I have access to it.

For length of my gooseneck, I used 18". As you forge it out, it will grow a bit. I cut my stock with a hotcut, picture above. You can also cut this on the bandsaw, or whatever you have.

I approximated my gooses neck. You want enough room to place stock in there and move around to position. If you're good at math you can calculate our angle to make the jaws line up exactly. I'm not. So I eyeballed and we will adjust later. The bottom hinge part make a 90° bend big enough to drill for a 3/8" bolt. You might need to bump your stock to make room for a bolt. You could also weld on a 90 bend.

Step 4: Jaws of Life

Now we can cut out the jaws. I used some more plate. 1/4". Cut two jaws to whatever shape you like. I've seen guys use an old rasp for these too, but I didn't want my vice marring my stock. You could use a rasp if you want traction.
I went with a trapezoidal shape. It seems to work best with these vices. Flame cut them unless you like buying bandsaw blades. Then pretty them up on the grinder. Bevel your edges and you can weld one to the top of your body.

Step 5: The Hinge Mechanism

Now we can make our hinge at the bottom. Cut two pieces of 3/4 x 5/16 r enough to make your hinge clear. Mine were about 1.5/2"

Make them equal and drill a hole for your 3/8bolt through both. Make sure the bolt holes line up exactly.
Now we can start to line things up. Take your two hinge pieces and bolt them to the gooseneck piece. Now line your gooseneck up with the top in the closed position. Double check there is room for articulation, mark it, and weld it on. Check it still articulates, and you're good to go.

The last photo is how I cut my bar stock. I use a bar stock sheer. This is by far the quickest way to cut bar stock under 1/2".

Step 6: Gooseneck Jaw

Now you can weld on your top jaw to the gooseneck piece. Check your angle so your jaws line up, and weld it on there. I splayed out the end of my gooseneck and used the mig to fill it in. However, mig welds are brittle for hammering. I later went in and filled it with oxy/acetylene weld and made it look pretty and flowing.

Step 7: Aww Nuts

Next step is to make the arms for the your bolt that operates the clamping action. I set mine down on the anvil so they have that little inset in them. (second picture) This isn't necessary but will make it stronger and keep it in line with the body. I used the same stock for this, 5/16 x 3/4

Now you can weld in your nut. I wanted mine as compact as possible, I believe I used about 4" of travel or adjustment/space from the body. You can use whatever works for your needs. This nut takes some force so I recommend welding on the ends and sides. However. Make sure you don't get weld inside your threads. Also be careful you don't warp the nut. This happened to me on the first try and I had to swap out the nut. The second time I had to clean up threads from my puddle spillage.

Also. Many nuts are galvanized, etc. Ensure you don't breathe in the fumes when welding those. Grind off as much as you can. Or better yet get a solid steel machine nut-non coated

Step 8: Springy Sproingy

To make this vice useful and efficient we need a return spring. I got mine from true value.

Side note: I'm from Canada but at school in New York. I had never been to a true value. This place has a phenomenal assortment of fasteners. Like almost as good as fastenal/brafasco without a $30 minimum order. I love this store. I went with a beefy looking spring and cut it down to fit in my clamps.

I also welded on two little nubs to keep the spring contained. You can really use anything for this, probably even a few dallops of weld.

Step 9: Almost There

Now you can put your clamp together. Bolt everything up, and thread in some threaded rod.
Once you know how much threaded Rod you need to operate your clamp, go ahead and cut off the excess. Make sure you leave enough to attach a handle.

For the handle I just used some 3/8 metal rod. Drilled a hole in the threaded rod, and welded it in there. With a quick bend at the end for a wooden handle.

The wooden handle I just drilled a hole down the middle of some square wood I had kicking around. Put on a washer and tacked the washer on to keep the wood on and rounded it up. Pretty basic.

Step 10: Le Fin

Now everything should be operational. You may want to heat up the
clamp area and adjust it with a hammer so it closes and traps your stock nicely. Due to the simple design. It will only be parallel in one section. So calibrate with the stock you use most. It still works on a variety of stock sizes though.

And that's about it. A $10-$15 gooseneck vice that retails for $200+. I have mine mounted to my aluminum anvil stand which I made (might do an instructable for this later if there's interest)

Hope you can find use out this. It's a handy little tool, especially for the cost. It has easy one handed operation for putting in hot metal, etc...

If you liked it, vote for me. If you didn't, feel free to write a passive aggressive note in the comments :)

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    7 years ago

    Did you make your forge? If so, could you do some type of a retrospective instrucaible on that?


    7 years ago

    In school as a farrier. Worked with horses my entire life and trying a new direction.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice work!

    Are you a farrier by trade? I've got a brother-in-law that is, and it's fascinating to watch him work.