A vice is a mechanical device used to secure an object to allow work to be performed on it. Vices have two parallel jaws, one fixed and the other movable, threaded in and out by a screw and lever.
Woodworking vices are attached to a workbench, typically flush with its work surface. Their jaws are made of wood or metal. The metal part is called cheeks, and is used to avoid marring the work. The movable jaw may include a retractable dog to hold work against a bench dog. Traditional workbench vices are commonly either face vices that are attached to the front of the workbench, or near the left end or end vices that are attached to or forming part of the right end of the bench.
An engineer's vice, also known as a machinist's vice or a metalworking vice, is used to clamp metal instead of wood. It is used to hold metal when filing or cutting. It is sometimes made out of cast steel or malleable cast iron, but most are made of cast iron. Some engineer’s bench vices have a cast iron body but a steel channel bar. Cast iron is popular because it is typically rigid, strong and inexpensive. The jaws are often separate and replaceable, usually engraved with serrated or diamond teeth. Soft jaw covers made of aluminum, copper, wood or plastic, and may be used to protect delicate work. The jaw opening of an engineer's vice is almost always the same size as the jaw width. An engineer's bench vice is bolted onto the top surface of a workbench, with the face of the fixed jaws just forward of its front edge. The vice may include other features such as a small anvil on the back of its body. Most engineer's vices have a swivel base.
Machine vices are mounted on drill presses, grinding machines and milling machines. Abrasive chop saws have a special type of machine vice built into the saw. Some hobbyists use a machine vice as a bench vice because of the low cost and small size.
A vacuum vice is a hobbyist's tool, commonly used to hold circuit boards, model airplanes and other small work. They are mounted with a suction cup and often have an articulated joint in the middle to allow the vice to pivot and swivel. Jewelers also use vacuum vices to hold jewelry.
Pipe vices are a plumber's tool, often used to hold pipes in place for threading and cutting. There are two main styles: chain and yoke. The yoke type vice uses a screw to clamp down the pipe, and the chain style uses a chain for securing the pipe. Whether the user is welding in a workshop or cutting wood in the user’s garage at home, having the best bench vice for the job at hand is vital. These low cost, multi purpose tools will save the user time and even act as a helping hand to get the job done.
Clamp-on vices are basically very light-duty bench vices. They usually have smooth jaws for wood, plastic and light metalworking, but some have serrated jaws for getting a better grip on metal. Some unique vices combine these features in a rotating design. They also help to secure an object while working on the object.
Heavy-duty bench vices are frequently made from iron so that they can withstand heavier applications and frequent use. The featured components include serrated steel jaws, precision slide bar, and an ACME-threaded main screw. Fasteners should be purchased, and fasteners for attaching the jaws to the vice will often include an additional set of replacement jaws, to be installed when the first set wears out. A typical heavy-duty bench vice will either be stationary or feature a 360-degree swivel. Heavy duty bench vices with pipe jaws feature a secondary set of steel pipe jaws, which also rotate 360 degrees and are replaceable.
Vices that combine the functions of a pipe vice with a metalworker's vice do exist, and are quite common. Some vices have a rotating design to provide both bench and pipe jaws. These are often used by plumbers.
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