Soft vice jaws, ideas?

I’ll stick this query in the Woodwork section 'cos it appears to have the most footfall, but the question really concerns my metalwork vice, which has been poked into the dirty corner of the 'shop to sort out all things mucky.
I have a perfectly standard, small Record m/w vice with jaws that are 90mm wide. I’ve tried umpteen different ways to make some soft jaws using thick aluminium sheet and 90deg angle.

I’ve tried to stick the ali onto the steel jaws with epoxy and ‘superglue’…a lost cause as the bond will inevitably break, even with scrupulous cleaning and degreasing of the surfaces.

I’ve tried the old dodge of inserting the ali sheet behind the steel jaws, screwing both together and then bending the ali over, using the steel jaws as a former. The problem here is that it’s impossible to obtain a crisp 90 degree bend :weary:

Come on peeps, ideas needed as this little problem is doing my head in…solutions please?

If the vise has enough capacity, make some thin (e.g. 6-8mm thick) ply or mdf jaws that sit in the vise jaws and rest on the innard-bottom parts of the vise, so that the top of these jaws is flush with the top edges of the vise’s own metal jaws. Stick leather on the inside faces of these ply or wooden jaws. The stuff that’s between 1.5 - 2.0mm is best - just squishy enough to not only protect the workpiece but also grip it better via the slight deformation of leather around it.

To keep the jaws stable, shape the bottom of these leather-clad jaws to sit on the vise’s screw thread and any other ledges or sticky-out bits that down there. Having them just resting on the vise parts means they’re easy to remove if necessary. Alternatively, use double-sided sticky tape to clag them to the vise jaws. This will come adrift from time to time but is quick & easy to re-do.


Thanks L, good shout. I’ll give that a try and I think I’ve even got some gash bits of leather loafing around in the 'shop. I’ll post a pic when I’ve cobbled something together.

I could even include some thin rare earth magnets on the back of the ply/mdf jaws to give extra grip to the steel jaws?

I have an arrangement as described within the wooden jaws of a Veritas twin-screw vise. Gravity alone keeps the leather clad grippers in place, sat inside the vise jaws on top of the two big screws of the Veritas. To be accurate, the leather-clad jaws are also kept aligned by having slots cut on their bottom edges which go over the two big vise screws, so that they can neither drop below the top edge of the vise jaws nor move side-to-side.

When I close them on a workpiece, these leather-clad jaws don’t skew, rise-up or otherwise misbehave, despite flopping about within the opened Veritas jaws until they’re closed on to the workpiece.

In short, less can be more. Magnets, glue or other attachments to the vise jaws may not be needed in practice.


axminster do sell some
the smallest is 100mm but if you bend the end plates in a little it should hold on a 90mm jaw

other than that in my normal line of work (metal work fab, with stainless etc) we have some alu angle that we just place in every time we need to hold anything, yes they do drop out some times when you open the jaws, but it is nice and simple.

and if you would like some im sure i have some nice alu box i could cut up and send you a piece for postage price

Yep, I know and did a bit of research the other night, but it would gall me to bodge some 100mm soft jaw vice inserts to fit my 90mm jaws. Many thanks indeed for the offer, much appreciated!

As a last desperate throw of the dice this morning, I wondered whether a couple of blobs of tacky Blu on each of the original aluminium jaw plates would do the trick.

Guess what? Simple is always good and those inserts seem to be (fingers crossed) held rock solid. Happy bunny :sunglasses: