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How To Adapt A Metalworking Vise For Wood

A Simple Way to Make a Metal Vise Work for Wood

If you don't have a dedicated wood vise, here's a way to convert just about any standard metal working vice into one that will securely grip wood without marking or damaging it.  These easy-to-make jaws slip on quickly and are held in place with magnets.

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Poplar wood strips
Step 1

Cut Parts to Size

The vise pads can be as long as you like. These are about 1 1/2" in width and 12 inches in long.

Boring hole with Forstner bit
Step 2

Bore Shallow Holes in the Jaw Face Pieces

This can be done with a Forstner or spade bit the same diameter as the magnets.

Checking magnet to be flush with surface
Step 3

Insure That Holes are the Correct Depth

The top of the magnets should be level with the surrounding wood surface.

Gluing down magnet
Step 4

Glue Magnets in Place

Instant CA glues are handy for this. Hot melt glue also works.

Attaching sections of vise jaw pads
Step 5

Attach the Two Vise Pad Sections Together

Apply glue and pre-drill clearance holes in the top section.

Vise jaw pads installed on metalworking vise
Step 6

Set Wooden Jaw Pads in Place

The magnets will hold the pads in position and allow them to move with the vise jaws.

Planing wood held in adapted metalworking vise
Step 7

Ideal for Holding Boards Vertically

Just drop the workpiece between the jaws and tighten. No risk of marring wood.

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