How to Make a Wood Vise

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to Make a Wood Vise
Wood vices are ideal for carving wooden bowls and spoons. (wood image by Alexandru Buzatu from

A wood vice is a versatile tool for any workshop. Wooden vices can be used to clamp items that might be too fragile to be held in a metal vice. These vices can be made to suit your particular needs. Woodworking projects often are too large for commercially-made vices. You should select a hardwood for your vice to ensure that it holds up to repeated use. Maple, oak or mahogany are good options for a wooden vice.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • One, 4-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board,
  • One 1-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board,
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Drill press
  • Workbench
  • Two, 6-inch lag screws
  • Screw gun
  • Two, 3/8-by-10-inch carriage bolts
  • Fender washers, 2
  • Two, 3/8-inch nuts
  • 3/8-inch wrench

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  1. 1

    Place the 4-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board and the 1-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board on top of each other, so that the edges are aligned. Place the two boards on the drill press. Put a 3/8-inch drill bit into the chuck of the drill press. Drill a 3/8-inch hole through the centre of the boards, approximately 2 inches in from each end.

  2. 2

    Place the 4-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board on the edge of your workbench where you would like the vice to be mounted. Drive a lag bolt down through the board into the workbench approximately 3 inches in from each end, using a screw gun.

  3. 3

    Slide a carriage bolt through the back side of each hole in the 4-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board. Align the holes in the 1-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board with the carriage bolts and slide the board through the bolts against the 4-by-4-by-12-inch hardwood board.

  4. 4

    Place a fender washer over each of the bolts. Thread a nut onto each bolt. To operate, place an object between the two boards. Use the wrench to tighten the nuts until they grip the object you would like to clamp within the vice.

Tips and warnings

  • Place cardboard between the object and the boards on very soft pieces of wood that you are holding in the vice.
  • Wear eye protection when working with wood.

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