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Metal vs. wooden vice parts

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metal vs. wood Some parts of woodworking vices, such as the jaws or the handle, can be made out of either metal or wood. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of the two materials, in order to help you determine which would be best suited to your woodworking needs.

Metal

metal vice Most woodworking vices are made out of metal (usually iron or steel).

Here are a few positives and negatives to consider when purchasing a vice with metal parts.

ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
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  • Greater longevity than wooden parts
  • Metal parts tend to be very strong, and so can withstand a large amount of clamping pressure without breaking
  • Less chance of racking with metal jaws
  • Can be more expensive than wood
  • Metal jaws more likely to mar a workpiece’s surface

Wood

wooden vice Some other vices, typically workbench vices, have jaws and a handle that are made out of wood.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a vice with wooden parts.

ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
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  • Wooden jaws are less likely to damage the surface of a workpiece
  • Wooden handles tend to have a larger diameter than metal ones, and so a greater grip
  • More risk of breakage or damage
  • Greater risk of racking with wooden jaws

Which should you choose?

workman's questions Both metal and wooden vice parts have their advantages, and both are sufficient to be used for most clamping tasks.

However, if you are planning on using your vice for heavy-duty clamping then a vice with metal parts may be best suited, as they tend to be stronger and more durable than wooden ones. This is because there is less chance of breakage with metal parts, compared to wooden versions.

happy worker On the other hand, wooden parts also have their benefits. Wooden jaws mean there is no need to worry about damaging the surface of the clamped workpiece, as wood is softer than metal. This means there is less need for jaw pads, which can save you money.

When deciding which to choose, it is best to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of both materials before deciding which is best for you.

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