Introduction: Wooden Jaws for a Metal Vice or Vise Held by Magnets

About: Mostly woodworking related projects with a special interest in toys, musical instruments and vintage tools.

I use my metal vice for holding wood and other materials as well as metal, but the steel jaws easily mark any material that isn't metal. These wooden jaws are a simple yet practical solution that require a minimum of skill.

What you will need:

Wood large enough for the project. The jaws on my vice are 10cm wide. I used two pieces of scrap large enough to produce wooden jaws 12cm wide. The depth is up to you. I made the jaws to provide various depths with the deepest edge at 5cm. The pieces I chose were 2cm thick, 14cm wide and 5cm deep.

A hand saw

A hand drill or drill press

4 wood screws 40-45mm long

Wood glue


Hand plane (optional)


Something to check for square. A set square or a protractor

4 round rare earth magnets 6mm diameter

Step 1: Measure Your Vice

My vice had jaw covers that were held by spring pins and they have never held so well. They always seem to work lose.

I removed the old jaws covers and measured the jaws.

They measure 10cm wide and I wanted to make new jaws that give me a bit more width, so I decided on 12cm. They are 20mm deep and the lip is 16mm

Your situation will call for different dimensions, but the procedure for making them will be the same.

Step 2: Prepare the Wood for the Jaws

Cut the wood to the dimension you require.

I cut mine to 12cm length and 5cm deep.

The wood I used is 20mm thick and when joined give me a depth of 2cm or 5cm depending on the orientation when i use them. This will be clearer to see later in this build.

I used a hand plane to clean up and bring the pieces to the final dimension needed. This could be done with sandpaper if you do not have a hand plane.

Step 3: Measure and Drill the Jaws Ready for Joining

First check that the angles are good when the pieces are held together. As you can see from the first picture one piece sits on the edge of the other.

Mark a line along the edge where the pieces meet.

Mark the position for the holes to be drilled for the screws at 2cm in from each end. These holes will be drilled in the center of the edge to be attached (not on the line but midway from the line to the outside edge).

Using a bradawl or some form of spike, mark the location for the holes.

Drill the holes using a 3mm drill bit. i used a drill press, but a hand drill can be used.

Countersink the holes deeper than the head of the screw. This will keep the screw heads clear of any work piece when using the vice.

Use the drilled piece to align the joint and drill a pilot hole to receive the screws. Make sure to drill only deep enough to receive the screw and right through the piece.

Step 4: Joint the Jaws

Apply wood glue and screw to pieces together.

Test fit the jaws for the next step.

Step 5: Install the Magnets

Mark the position of the magnets 10mm from the inside edge of each side and 30mm from each end.

Drill 6mm holes to receive the magnets.

Apply a drop of glue to each hole and press the magnets in firmly and flush (I used CA glue, but wood glue will do).

Step 6: Clean Up the Jaws and Finish

Using sandpaper, clean up the jaws and round or smooth over any sharp edges to prevent catching your hands or marring any work piece when using the jaws in the vice.

I finished the jaws by applying a coat of Boiled Linseed Oil to them.

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Vice Jaws

As you can see by building the jaws with various edge depth gives a few options and the jaws hold really well with the magnets.

Enjoy your new vice jaws.

Namaste :)

Invention Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Invention Challenge 2017