Introduction: Panavise Mashup | Junior Head + Standard Base

About: Dream. Create. Inspire.

Panavise makes a slew of bases, and attachments. Many of their parts are interchangable. You can mix a standard or low-profile base with numerous different vise attachments. However, not everything matches with everything else.

For example, the Panavise Junior vise is inexpensive and very handy, but is a self-contained unit: it includes both a base and vise. Since I have a standard low-profile base I use with other vise attachments, I wanted to see if I could make my Junior vise fit it to give me the added flexibility of the standard base and reduce the number of things I have around my workspace.

Turns out Panavise had the same idea and now sells just the Junior vise head, but I already had mine and didn't want to buy another ... so, here's how I did it.

Step 1: Preparation

Look over all the steps to get an idea of what's involved. Basically, you're going to cut of a  short piece of metal rod and saw/file a groove around one end for the "Junior" head to clamp too.

The materials you'll need are:
1) 5/8" round rod of some sort. (I used zinc coated rod from Home Depot)
2) Hack saw (with a good, sharp blade)
3) Miter box (or, some other way to clamp/hold rod while you saw)
4) Flat and triangle files
5) Marker and ruler
6) Clamp
7) Small piece of wood to use as a stop
Find a good work surface. That will make the sawing easier. I used the floor. Not the best, but I threw down some canvas, and there you have it …

Before diving in, it's a good idea to take the head off the Junior vise just to see how it goes together. You'll see that the head has a pincer that fits into the shaped attachment on the base. That's what the groove in the rod is for.

The standard PanaVise base is just a simple clamp that holds a 5/8" rod.

Step 2: Saw Off the End of the Rod

Looks like the rod I got was chopped to length rather than sawed. This means that the end was a little deformed in the process. I decided to cut off about an inch to make sure I was working with good, straight metal. Not absolutely necessary, but will make everything fit better in the end. Clamping the rod makes it much easier to cut. It will still take a while. When you're done, de-burr the sharp edges on the end using a flat file. 

Step 3: Make a Groove Around One End

It's easier to make the groove when you have the whole rod to hold onto, so I decided to do that first. I measured about 1/4" from the cut in the mitre box and clamped a small piece of scrap wood there to help position the rod in the right place.

Then, I just used the hack saw to saw the groove. Make sure not to go too deep. If you do, the Junior end won't clamp very well. Better to make it too shallow then go back and adjust it rather than the other way. In fact, when I first tried this, the groove was too deep and I had to start over.

When you have the groove cut, shape it using the triangle file. When you're all done, the Junior top should fit into the groove and when clamped down, there should be a small gap at the base of the top (see the photos). 

Step 4: Cut the Rod to Length

Now, just measure 1 7/8" from the grooved end of the rod and make a mark for your final cut. You can make it a little longer if you want, but this length is convenient and makes sure the Junior head clears the clamping screw on the base.

As before, clamp it into the mitre box and saw off the piece. Then, de-burr it using the file. Viola! You're done except for putting it together. 

Step 5: Mash It Up

To put everything together, fit the Junior top over the grooved end of the rod and tighten things up. You can now insert the new head in a standard or low-profile PanaVise base.

Step 6: Conclusion

So, there you have it. I guess I could have bought a new Junior head to fit the standard base, but what's the fun in that? And, in this process, I learned is that a 5/8" rod fits into a Panavise base. So, now I can imagine making other interesting jigs and custom accessories for my vise.