Vise Handle Modification
by Robert Beason
Although screwless vises are commonly used on grinders, they work great on smaller, hobby sized mills, though there are a few limitations.
One problem is some models can be difficult to clamp to the mill table. It’s best to get one with clamping slots and either purchase or machine some narrow strap clamps to fit, as I did with mine.
Another difficulty you might run into is the clamping force available. The benefit of this style vise, in which the moveable jaw is pulled down as it is clamped, unlike a conventional vise that may lift the part, comes at a price. The angled orientation of the vise screw that helps to pull the jaw down means not all of its force is directed against the workpiece and I have had parts move in the vise on several occasions.
My solution? A bigger handle!
I used a piece of 1″ drill rod and threaded the end to match the vise nut. The cross handle is made from 1/2″ drill rod. A setscrew in each end of the cross handle serves to keep the handle in place; they are set just proud of the surface so as to not be uncomfortable in your hands. The original hemispherical washer was reused.
The larger handle is easier to tighten by hand and stout enough to accept a cheater bar or even a thump from a soft-faced hammer. No more moving parts!