Pass Along HSM
November 08

Steel Replacement Jaws
by R. Primm

I would like to share a recent problem that has finally been addressed in my backyard shop: I needed to hold a flat piece of aluminum bar stock 20" long. I have two vises with 4" jaws, but they both have different sized key ways and solid jaw thicknesses, so I measured the bolt hole locations and sizes and compared them. I ended up making two separate types of aluminum jaws. After re-keying the smaller vise to 5/8" in order to match the other vise, I bolted them on the mill table, installed the new aluminum jaws, and milled a step. Both jaws are now in line with each other. I can now take them off and measure the thickness of each jaw step on the solid part of the vise to find the thickness needed when making steel replacement jaws for future use. This took a lot of time in my off evenings, as I work 10-hour shifts at my place of business, but these are really useful shop aids.

Previously, I would take the keys out of one of the vises and just indicate the solid side of the vise "in," but if the vises needed to be moved farther apart, I would need to realign them, so the keys being in line with each other is a time saver, as I don't have a power feed on my worn out table.

Thanks R. Primm! Your subscription has been extended by an issue!

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