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What is a woodworking vice?

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wood work vice A woodworking vice is a type of vice primarily designed to solidly clamp wood without damaging the surface.
hands Wood often needs to be clamped when completing tasks such as sawing, drilling or carpentry. This is so that the user can keep both hands free and away from the material during applications, and so a woodworking vice is an ideal tool to use in these situations.
woodworking vice Most models of woodworking vices are designed to be permanently bolted onto a workbench. They are usually attached underneath the workbench with the upper edge of the jaws level with the surface of the workbench.
woodworking vice Woodworking vices are attached in this way in order to hold workpieces in a low position, to make applications such as sawing or planing easier for the user. This is to prevent the user from stooping whilst they are working.

As the surface of a woodworker’s bench is usually at the optimum working height for its user, the vice is then also in the best working position. Having the vice in this position also keeps the surface of the workbench clear for the user to complete other tasks.

woodcraft vice There are exceptions, however, as some models of woodwork vices (a type of woodworking vice) are portable and are designed to be clamped to the edge of a work surface, rather than be bolted to it.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of both clamped and bolted bases, visit Portable vs. permanent vices.

woodworking vice with large jaws A key characteristic which makes woodworking vices ideal for wood clamping is the flat surfaces of their jaws. The smooth surfaces avoid damaging or indenting wood when clamped.
woodworking flat jaws The jaws of woodworking vices are also very broad, which avoids cracking the wood as the clamping load is distributed over a large section of the workpiece.