by Michael Ward
Perusing some of the online classifieds, I found myself visiting with a pleasant, retired machinist who was selling some items. One of the items was a Record 5-inch vise. This is a quality vise made in England and was in very good shape. I have a good 4-inch vise that’s served me well, but I just can’t pass up a good deal, especially when it involves metalworking tackle. So, of course, the Record 5-inch vise came home with me.
As anyone who’s used a vise knows, the hardened steel jaws that come with them aren’t appropriate for many tasks, as they can easily mar or damage what’s being held. With the old vise, I had a set of soft jaws that sort of sat on and wrapped around the hard jaws. I made do with them, but they had some shortcomings. The brass rivets holding the plasticized material in place would sometimes damage work themselves. Although brass is soft, it will still damage steel if enough pressure is applied and the area of the rivets is comparatively small, thus concentrating the force. Damage to work would sometimes result. They’ve also led to a lot of calisthenics over the years as they are frequently knocked off the vise jaws and onto the floor.
They were tired, beat up, and ready for replacement — and of course they wouldn’t fit the new 5-inch vise. The thin copper jaws made from flattening some water pipe were not much better. There had to be a better way…which led to the quick-change vise jaw idea.
“Quick-change Jaw System for the Bench Vise” appears in the July/August 2009 of The Home Shop Machinist. If you’re already a subscriber, stay tuned! Your issue will be in your mailbox soon. If you are not a subscriber, and would like to read the rest of the article, request a no-obligation issue now! If you do so by June 30th, you’ll receive the issue with this article in it! You can request an issue by following the links below or by calling 1-800-447-7367. Make sure you tell our circulation representatives that you’d like the July/August 2009 issue!