Parts of a Machine Vise


A machine vise is a mechanical instrument frequently used in metalworking and woodworking. The vise holds a piece of metal or wood when an engineer, metalworker or woodworker needs to alter it using various tools. Vises are most often fixed to a table or built into benches. A typical vise has a fixed jaw, a movable jaw, a screw and a table mount.

Fixed Jaw

  • The fixed jaw of a machine vise is a metal piece that is anchored to the table or workbench. It has one flat side that faces you and can vary in size. The flat side often has grooves to prevent a metal or wood object from slipping through the vise if it is not tightened enough.

Movable Jaw

  • A movable jaw on a machine vise has a flat, grooved surface that faces the fixed jaw. These two pieces are of equal length and width, but the movable jaw is attached to a screw that allows it to move closer to or further away from the fixed jaw. The fixed jaw and movable jaw move closer together to secure the material you are working with.


  • The machine vise's screw is a long, threaded piece of metal that moves the movable jaw closer to the fixed jaw when it is rotated. The screw usually has a metal rod through its head that is perpendicular to the screw and parallel to the jaws. The metal rod makes it easier for you to rotate the screw and move the jaws closer together.

Table Mount

  • The table mount may be part of a machine vise that is not built into a workbench or table. The mount is a metal piece that can vary in design but generally screws into the tabletop to secure the fixed jaw.


  • When using a machine vise, make sure that the jaws are grasping the material well and that the vise is mounted securely to the worktable or bench. Secure the table mount to a solid table that does not wobble, as manipulation of metal and wood can cause a table to shake. If the table moves too much, you can make inaccurate cuts or measurements. If the jaws are not holding the material securely, a dangerous tool such as a saw or drill could slip and injure you.

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