How to Make a Homemade Wood Vise

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Drill

  • 3/8-inch drill bit

  • 1 2-by-8-by-12-inch hardwood board

  • 1 1-by-6-by-12-inch hardwood board

  • 1 2-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board

  • ¼-inch drill bit

  • Box of 3-inch deck screws

  • Screw gun

  • 2 3/8-by-8-inch carriage bolts

  • 4 3/8-inch fender washers

  • 4 3/8-inch nuts

  • 3/8-inch wrench

  • 2 ¼-inch lag bolts

  • ¼-inch wrench

  • Vise mounting surface

A simple vise can be made from items around the shop.

A vise is one of the most useful tools in the shop. It is often overlooked when thinking about outfitting the wood shop. Commercially available vises are costly and have limitations. Wooden vises on the other hand can be made by the woodworker. The woodworker knows what operations are performed regularly in the shop and therefore can design the vise to specifically address those needs. Several sizes of homemade vises can be made for less than the typical commercially bought ones you would find in the store. Why not build a couple homemade wooden vises for your shop?


How to Make a Homemade Wood Vise

Step 1

Use a tape measure to measure in three inches from each end of the 2-by-8-by-12-inch hardwood board. This board is the back jaw of the vise. Make a pencil mark at this measurement in the center of the board on each end. Do the same with the 1-by-8-by-12-inch hardwood board. This board is the front jaw of the vise. Use a drill and 3/8-inch drill bit to drill holes through the boards at the pencil marks. The holes should line up if you place the boards on top of each other.


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Step 2

Place the 2-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board in front of you. Measure and mark three inches from each end of the board. Use a drill and ¼-inch drill bit to drill through the board at the pencil marks. This board will form the base of the vise.

Step 3

Use a screw gun and three-inch deck screws to fasten the base of the vise to the back-bottom side of the back jaw of the vise. Screw through the front of the back jaw into the base of the vise. Space the screws evenly every 6 inches.


Step 4

Place the base of the vise onto the edge of the vise mounting surface. The back jaw of the vise should hang off the edge of the surface. The base should be fully on the mounting surface. Use a ¼-inch wrench to fasten the base of the vise to the mounting surface using the ¼-inch lag bolts.


Step 5

Slide one 3/8-inch fender washer onto each of the 3/8-by-8-inch carriage bolts. Slide the carriage bolts through the back side of the holes in the back jaw plate of the vise. Slide the front jaw plate onto the carriage bolts from the front side. Slide the remaining to fender washers onto each of the carriage bolts. Thread the 3/8-inch nuts onto the end of each carriage bolt. Use the 3/8-inch wrench to tighten or loosen the vise as needed when using the vise.


Use cardboard or felt between the jaws of the vise when using very soft woods in the vise.


Always wear safety glasses when woodworking. Follow tool safety precautions.


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