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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Adelaide
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    24

    Default Vice, what wood for jaw faces?

    I have a quick-release vice rescued from a dilapidated old workbench that was sold at an auction for a small sum. I am now ready to install it in my (nearly complete) new work bench.
    The vice came with no wood on its jaws though.

    What wood should I use as jaw faces and what thickness is recommended?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Towradgi
    Posts
    4,775

    Default

    I went with 3mm cork for my latest vice, spray adhesive, trimmed to size. Yes it is a bit easier to damage, but it easy to replace.

    I have, in the past, used 19mm pine and 25mm been a tree.

    The idea is that the sub jaws are softer than the work piece.
    Pat
    Work is a necessary evil to be avoided. Mark Twain

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    27,327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bookleaf View Post
    I have a quick-release vice rescued from a dilapidated old workbench that was sold at an auction for a small sum. I am now ready to install it in my (nearly complete) new work bench.
    The vice came with no wood on its jaws though.

    What wood should I use as jaw faces and what thickness is recommended?
    swings and roundabouts.

    A softer wood is less likely to damage what you are trying to hold but not going to last as long so if you are happy to replace the faces more often then you could use a softer wood.
    Most folks would use a harder wood and then use a softer, grippier, non-marking liner that is replaced as needed

    The vice faces on my work bench use 3/4" thick Jarrah floor boards and originally lined with 3mm thick rawhide leather which works great. After 14 years of "hard use" both vices and their liners were still working fine but I had to replace the liner on the main vice as it got soaked in chainsaw bar and chain oil.
    This time I decided to go with a material called "crubber" as it was cheaper than leather.
    The crubber I used was 2mm thick Nitrile bonded cork gasket material and I bought a 510 x 1270 mm shed of it on ebay for $35.
    I note it now costs $56. Unit price AU $34.70

    Crubber is as grippy as leather but unfortunately not as strong so after 3 years of use is looking a bit tatty so when I replace it I will go back to leather.

    On my mates vice we used a solid piece of 40 x 120 mm thick spotted gum and lined it with some of my left over crubber.
    Vice.jpg

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    861

    Default

    I have cork glued on one, and that synthetic wood on another.
    Both work well.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
    Age
    35
    Posts
    150

    Default

    The vise jaw faces (if you're lining say metal vise jaws) is perhaps best if a durable hardwood - Anything really that you can get your hands on. I line the faces of the wooden jaw liner with full grain leather. You just scuff the wooden surface up with some 40 grit, wipe it with acetone or metho (especially if its an oily wood) and then use titebond or hide glue to stick the leather facing on. When the leather wears out, you can peel it off, sand or scrape the wooden jaw liners and then glue a new piece. If you have contact cement, that also works well.


    Cheers,
    Siggy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dungog
    Posts
    243

    Default

    I have used 17mm(not that The actual thickness is critical) plywood.
    has survived several years of abuse

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
    Posts
    4,675

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    As others have said most woods will do. Softer woods grip better but you can also use leather or something to give a bit more grip. The thickness of the wood will take away some of overall opening range of the vice so there is that to think about. If you intend having the wood jaws wider than the metal jaws then they need to be thick enough not to flex. You may also want to put dog holes in the wood jaw so again you need enough thickness to do that. I would have a look at what has been done on the bench builds on the forum and see what suits how you want to work. Here is a few I have done over the years.
    Regards
    John
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    bilpin
    Posts
    3,292

    Default

    Soft work needs soft jaws. Hard work can stand harder jaws. I have several sets that I fit to suit what I am doing at the time. Its easy enough to interchange as they only have two screws in each face. A set with an abrasive glued to the faces and a set with leather (I prefer deer hide) make a good addition.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sebastopol, California, USA
    Posts
    121

    Default

    My vise has heavy leather (called "harness leather" in the U.S.), glued to thin high-grade plywood from a local craft store, and the plywood then attached to the vise jaws with contact cement. It's worked well. It also uses up less vise capacity, although I'll confess I've never, to my memory, used all the capacity (maximum jaw opening) of any woodworking vise I've owned.

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