Pipe Clamp Bench Vise




Introduction: Pipe Clamp Bench Vise

About: My wife and I live in Seattle. I work in marketing and fundraising, and have started dabbling in woodworking on the side. I love baseball and coffee.

I wanted to add a vise to my workshop, after watching a bunch of how-tos on YouTube (specifically Jay Bates' videos), I gave it a try today.

Here's the materials you'll need for this Instructable:

2 1/2" Pipe Clamp sets
1 1/2" cast iron pipe (I bought a 36" pipe, but you could do anything longer than 24")
Wood for the jaws of the vise (Ideally this would be some kind of hardwood, but as I don't have scraps of hardwood lying around, it would skyrocket the cost of this project. So instead I used a couple 3x2 pieces from a pallet I took apart.)

Step 1: Measure for Mounting

I recently built a workbench for my miter saw and left space for this vise. I measured the opening and it came to just slightly over 26".

Step 2: Cut to Length

I trimmed the ends of both jaws, and then trimmed one board to 26".

Step 3: Align for Pipe Holes and Drill

I lined up where I wanted to drill and used a square to draw lines across both boards. I then measured down from the top to align vertically.

Some how at this point I messed up one of the marks as I would later discover after I drilled the holes and they didn't line up. Oops. But hey, woodworking is about making mistakes and then figuring out how to fix them, right? ...right?

Step 4: Mount Pipe Clamp to Jaws

Drill holes through the metal of the pipe clamp so you can mount them on the jaws. I used washer-head screws.

Pay attention to how you affix the clamp to the wood jaws. You have to make sure that the clamp parts clear the bench.

Step 5: Mount the Fixed Jaw to the Bench

I used a mix of pocket holes and 2 1/2" drywall screws. I made sure the jaw was flush with the front of the bench.

You can see here how I had to enlarge the holes after drilling them slightly off. It would have been easier if I had a drill press, but c'est la vie.

Step 6: All Done!

One the back jaw was mounted, you just slide the pipes in.

Once the pipes are mounted and aligned, your vise is ready to go!

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    4 years ago

    Be very careful using drywall screws in Kreg pocket holes. The tapered heads act like a wedge and can split your wood. Use either the Kreg screws or cabinet screws or other flat bottomed head screw from the box store which are usually cheaper. The pocket hole jig has become one of those under bench dwellers that I wish I hadn't spent my money on. I haven't had the success with them that other people have had. In most cases dowels or screw blocks are a stronger choice. Nice job on the vise. Good recovery on the mis-drilled hole, happens all the time. It's woodworking, don't point out the flaws, show the good points! :-}


    Reply 4 years ago

    Oh, yeah, by mix I meant pocket holes and washer head screws underneath (from the jaw into the bench) and 2 1/2" screws through the bench into the back jaw. It's also a very tight friction fit, I had to work it in with a mallet.



    4 years ago

    I just may have to do this one...