Slip-On Soft Jaws for a Vise




As I started to do more and more metalwork and woodwork it became clear to me that I needed something to stop my vise from marking up my work. I considered buying some soft jaws but didn't want to have to take apart my vise every time I needed to remove them, plus I'm operating on a teenager's budget. I eventually began to just clamp the work between scrap wood to protect it, which was pretty awkward. Every time I re-positioned my work I had to move the wood as well. So, after some brainstorming, I sketched out a design for slip-on soft jaws.

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Step 1: What You Need:

- Thin aluminum, around 30 gauge
- Hacksaw, or other way to cut metal
- Vise
- Hammer
- Bench grinder or equivalent

Step 2: Template

- Measure the width and height of the jaws of your vise. Add about a 1/4 of an inch to each measurement and then double the height measurement. Draw a rectangle with the dimensions.
- Divide the rectangle in half lengthwise.
- Add square tabs to each side of the rectangle that are half the height.
- Transfer the template to the aluminum.

Step 3: Cutting & Grinding

- Use the hacksaw to cut out the soft jaws.
- Use the bench grinder or whatever you have to smooth and shape the edges of the metal.

Step 4: Bending

- Use the vise to bend the side tabs on the dotted lines at 90 degree angles. Make sure the jaws can slide onto the vise.
- Use the vise and hammer to bend the jaws at 90 degrees on the dotted line. Make sure the jaws still fit on the vise.
- If the corners of the bends are rough file or grind them smooth.

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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago

    How is this "soft jaws" if metal is still what holds the (wood or anything else)?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    It's true, metal still contacts what you clamp in the vise. However, the metal used is much softer than the jaws of the vise and doesn't have the ridges typical to vise jaws that tend to "bite" whatever you clamp in them.


    Reply 11 months ago

    You could glue on some ribbed vinyl carpet runner to get both a gripping and a soft surface. Pinching in the side tabs would give you a friction fit. Going to make some this way for my 5" Record vise.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You could epoxy a few magnets to the underside of the top overhang to help hold the soft jaws on the vise.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have a lot of copper laying around, could I possibly make on out of 3mm thick copper? or would it not be weighted enough?

    1 reply