Magnetic Rubber Jaws for a Vise




About: I enjoy everything

I own a 5-inch bench vise with very aggressive serrated jaws (the part that clamps onto to your object). These jaws work great for steel but on other materials they usually leave permanent indents (aka marring) on the surface. Things that I work on typically need a nice finish surface. To keep a nice surface while holding in the vise, calls for non-marring jaws or soft jaws. I created some rubberized jaws with Jumbo Erasers. The added advantage of this rubberized version is the low cost and the ease of customization for different applications. I also added magnets for holding it in place and ease of removal.

Step 1: Design and Items Used

Items used

Metal Bracket - 2 pieces of metal 5 inches long by 2 ½ inches wide. I used 9 inch by 13 inch cookie sheet to make the brackets.

Super strong ceramic magnets - ¾ inch diameter - 4 pieces needed

Screws - #8 by ¾ lath screws - I believe a one inch screw will work.

Note: I probably will use longer screws if the holes get worked over after years of use.

Rubber eraser - 5 ½ inch long by 1 ¾ inch wide by ½ inch thick – I found them at the local Dollar store – they call them jumbo erasers


All-purpose cement / glue


Hammer – flat face

Tin snips

Nail punch

Wood backing board

Screw driver

File – for metal

Sander or sand paper

wood scrap for backer board

leather gloves

Step 2: Cut the Metal to Size

My vise is metal, so I choose to make the brackets out of metal for the purpose of using magnets. The magnets will create a temporary bond -to hold the jaws in place.

Temporary means I can take the soft jaws on and off without a hassle.

The two pieces of bracket metal (5 inches long by 2 ½ inches wide) were cut out of a 9 inch by 13 inch cookie sheet.

I do not have a good source for small pieces of sheet metal, so this is why I use cookie sheets. I either obtain my cookie sheets from stealing them from the kitchen or from the dollar store.

I use tin snips to cut out the required pieces for brackets.

Step 3: Punch Holes

I placed a rubber eraser on top of the cut metal and scribe a line (with a slight offset from the edge). I did not want the metal brackets to be flush with the edge of the erasers. By offsetting the metal brackets from the rubber allows items to be place in the jaws and not get scratched (by the bracket).

The engraved line provides a good way to locate the position of punching of the holes.

I like to use a metal nail punch for the holes -it is fast and easy. I put a wooden backer block behind the metal and strike the punch with a hammer. In this case I do not remove the little burrs in the hole from the punch; the burrs will sink into the rubber.

I punched two holes per bracket.

I used a hammer to flatten the edges of metal. Flattening the edges make it easier to file and sand the edges smooth. Note: the snips create little burrs with every cut on the edges.

Step 4: Mount Erasers

I did not need to drill the rubber - the #8 by ¾ lath screws work great.

The lath screws have a built in washer. I believe the washer will help hold the metal to the rubber.

The lath screws seem sharper to me, which makes them great for twisting (screwing) into the rubber.

I just used a Philips screw driver to put the screws in.

Two screws per bracket.

Step 5: ​Mount Magnets

I decided not to glue the magnets onto the brackets. I plan on leaving the loose magnets on the bracket when not in use.

But the magnets could be glued - to always keep them with the soft jaws.

I wanted the bracket to fall flat on top of the vise. So; for clearance reason between the bracket and the vise,

I elected to put the magnets as far back on the bracket as possible.

Step 6: Cut Rubber and Form Metal

Cut rubber

The rubber erasers have tapered ends, I kept one side with the taper - but I wanted the other side flush (with the vise). So I used my Japanese back saw, to cut off the taper.

Just a side note: one of my most prized tools is the Japanese back saw. I wanted a traditional Japanese back saw with a wood handle, but I am glad I got this one – a modern version. With a push of the button and the blade comes off for easy storage. I use two long plastic binder clips to protect the edges of my saw.


There is not much to forming the metal to the vise. I closed the vise with the soft jaws and pressed the metal down with my gloved hands.

Step 7: Finished

Is it Vise or Vice -

Well in the United States, the word for the clamping tool with two jaws closed and opened by a screw or lever is spelled vise.

Outside American English - the vise spelling rarely appears; the gripping tool is instead spelled vice.

I want to thank Phil B, for all his help.

Step 8: New and Old

I wanted to share a photo of my old aluminum soft jaws next to the new ones.



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    46 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Great idea, I want to make these for my new vise


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Fantástico, estos son los "instructables" que más me gustan, sencillos pero ingeniosos.

    • ---

    Fantastic, these are the "instructables" I like simple but ingenious.

    2 replies
    Arty Marty

    5 years ago on Introduction

    That is awesome. I make jewellery and sculptures and use copper or brass as my "soft jaws" Even though it's metal, it is softer than most other things you put in there.
    Total pain in the ass when they keep falling off though, so I have been meaning to do something with magnets.

    A few tips:
    * conveyer belt rubber is great stuff, I got a lot of it the other day when I went to a place that makes industrial belts. They will have tons of offcuts you could probably get for nothing, in a range of sizes.
    * if you make a set out of brass or copper, you can soften the metal by heating it glowing red hot, and then let it cool down. This process is called annealing. Copper goes like rubber after you do this. As you hammer and bend the copper, or it gets bent and crushed in a vice over a few months, it goes back to being hard as rock. To make it soft again, just heat it up to glowing red and let it cool.
    * I just had an idea to stick a magnet on the back of the copper with glue, and it should work through the metal. (and just take the magnet off if you need to reheat the metal and then stick it back. neodymium magnets would be good for this... They are very strong for their size.
    I just did a quick sketch of this idea - (see attached)
    * Magnets don't like being heated or banged about - both things which make them lose their magnetism

    Awesome Insttructable!

    1 reply

    Thank you for viewing and commenting on my Instructable.
    Your ideas are great the newer magnets are so strong.. Take care.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    That is so clever!

    I had many years ago some lead sheet I would wrap over the vise jaws.

    the Jumbo eraser is stiff enough to work well.

    2 replies
    Arty MartySlim49

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Just be careful with lead, it's nasty stuff for your health.
    If you are making jewellery or something that will touch the skin, you will get lead impregnated in it from the vice.
    Also, if your working hard and building up a sweat, and the lead is getting bashed about in the vice, when you take the item out, it will have lead on it, you touch it with sweaty hands, and it will get absorbed into your skin. (not to mention if you wipe your face with your hands etc..)
    So yes, its fantastic stuff to use in our vice and not damage things, but the side effects!!! Eeek!

    Fikjast ScottSlim49

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for observing and remarking on my instructables.
    I like your saying " want to know it all!! "



    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! I've been wanting a pair of these but did not want to spend a lot. A couple of suggestions. 1. make the metal plate wider so that you could close the vise and use a rubber mallet to form the metal to the vise. That might eliminate the need for magnets. 2.On embedding magnets into the rubber, you might risk breaking them when closing the vise too hard. great instructable . Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, but you could have sunk the magnets into the erasers with a little epoxy, or not. If you bored the holes a little snug on the magnets, you wouldn't even need epoxy. You could also use smaller magnets. It doesn't take much to hold onto the vise. Good job anyway.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    great tip I use pieces of conveyor belting as i had it lying around here by me great for not damaging threaded rod when you want to cut short pieces off

    1 reply

    this is why I like instructables. I just bought a reel of conveyor belting. I replaced plastic scraper bars on a few snow blowers. That belting is bullet proof. I have some left over - I might try rigging something with it.
    Thanks for the idea and viewing my instructables.


    5 years ago on Step 3

    The snips will not create burrs if you don't close them all the way. Try closing them part way so that each cut stops about a cm from the tips of the blades.

    2 replies
    Fikjast Scottsoundgod06

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 3

    This idea will come in handy on a project I am working on right now. Thank you for the great tip. I will share this with others.