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What are the parts of a woodworking vice?

What are the parts of a woodworking vice?

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    parts of a woodworking vice


woodworking vice A woodworking vice has a stationary jaw and a sliding jaw.

These jaws are usually made from metal, but can also be made from wood, depending on the type and model of vice. For more information on each of these materials, visit Metal vs. wooden vice parts.

flat surface jaw Woodworking vice jaws have flat surfaces in order to avoid making any indentations to wood when clamping it.
wooden jaw pads If the jaws are made from metal, then the surfaces can be covered with wooden jaw pads (often called ‘cheeks’) to prevent them from damaging any fragile material. The jaws are provided with countersunk holes to allow the effective fitting of these pads.

For more information on jaw pads, visit  What are jaw pads?

pattern maker's vice Some types of vice also have jaws that can be set at multiple angles for working at the optimum position. The jaws of a pattern maker’s vice can be rotated and tilted to hold workpieces at various angles, and they can also be pivoted to accommodate for tapered and irregularly shaped objects.

For more information, visit  What is a pattern maker’s vice?


threaded screw The screw is the part that is in control of opening and closing the jaws of the vice. The length of this screw determines how wide the jaws of the vice can be opened.
threaded screw The body of the main screw is threaded to offer high strength and ease of use. Acme is the thread form commonly used in a vice screw, as its shape is easy to machine and assemble.
thread types The acme thread shape has a wider base than other thread forms, which means it offers greater strength, as the screw can carry a heavier load. This thread form also allows the use of a split-nut which is ideal for manufacturing vices with a quick-release mechanism.
threaded screw handle and nut The body of the screw runs through the whole of the vice, supported by the guide bars, and connects the sliding jaw and stationary jaw together.

The screw is then held in place within the vice’s mounting bracket by a nut, which keeps the screw static once the jaws are closed around a workpiece. The end of the screw is attached to the vice handle which controls the screw’s movement.


handle The vice handle is used by turning it clockwise or anti-clockwise in order to open or close the jaws. It has thick nuts on either end so that the handle does not slip out of the screw’s outer end.
woodworking vice handles The handle can either be made from wood or from forged steel, depending on the vice.
tommy soldiers The handle can also be known as the tommy bar. This is due to slang that has derived from the First World War when British soldiers were referred to as Tommies and a tommy bar was the name given to a spanner used to assemble and disassemble grenade bombs.

Mounting bracket

mounting bracket The mounting bracket is the woodworking vice’s main body which attaches the tool to the workbench.
view of woodworking vice from below It is shaped so as to bolt level with the underneath of a workbench, while the jaws fit flush with the edge of the surface.

Guide bars

guide bars The guide bars are held in place by the vice’s body and work by supporting the screw, preventing it from damage by holding the weight of the sliding jaw.
guide bars They also keep the sliding jaw in a parallel position to the stationary jaw by guiding it back into place when the screw is contracted.

Additional features

instruction manual Some woodworking vices are available with additional features, along with their basic parts.
woodworking vice with dog


Some woodworking vices are designed with the extra feature of a front dog which gives an additional clamping facility when used in conjunction with a bench dog.

front dog A dog is the name given to a tool that prevents movement by providing obstruction. On woodworking vices, the dog is an adjustable piece of metal incorporated into the front of a vice in order to prevent a workpiece from moving if it is laid horizontally on top of a woodworking bench.

For more information on a vice dog, visit  What is a dog feature?



A toe-in is an additional feature used on many woodworking vices to avoid racking, which occurs when uneven clamping pressure is applied across a workpiece.

For more information on racking, visit  What is racking?

toe-in The feature is built in to the design of the vice, whereby the top edge of the sliding jaw is tilted slightly inwards. This is an overcompensation for the placement of the vice screw, which is then rectified when the jaws close around a workpiece. The jaws then become parallel and pressure is applied evenly across the clamped object.

For more information on a toe-in, visit  What is a toe-in feature?

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