General Bench Vise

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Bench Vise - The basics

Sounds obvious - it is! A godsend to cut, file or fettle car parts. 

From cutting down a bolt to length, or holding a drive-shaft to replace its CV joints, if you can find the space and a sturdy enough surface for one, a 4.5" or larger vise is a real godsend, particularly if you are repairing and refurbishing parts rather than just replacing them.

This 100mm one was about £20+VAT from Silverline tools. Plain vanilla, no quick ratchet adjustment, average jaws but haven't broken it yet! A shade too small ~ but payed its way ages ago.


Silverline's magnetic soft jaws are cheap, but pretty useless, so here you have something even cheaper to take the edge off those rather coarse jaw teeth (cardboard and duct tape).


As solid and flat a base as possible and a well-braced bench helps a lot too (screw to a wall if possible). Long through-bolts for anything over 3" to 4" are essential and unless the bench is thick strong solid wood best to put some steel or hardwood doubler plates and large washers underneath to prevent crushing - mount it as solid as you can, use the maximum size bolts that'll go through the mounting holes.

Make sure you mount it so the work can run down the side of the bench, near a corner often makes sense.

Two (in line) on the same bench are even better !!

^^ Lacking production tooling and time to make it, Vickers Supermarine fitters fixed over twenty vices in-line to one bench to make the first few Spitfire prototypes' main wing spars
Not many people know that :)


Even a small roving desk vise, with a simple screw clamped base can be well worthwhile (about £15 > ), so don't dismiss one if you've got a spare corner somewhere. A vacuum plugged in nearby is a good idea too!

A low plank bench (doubling as a seat!), if solid enough, can often substitute outdoors, if you have a few G-clamps or those single-hand operated Quick-Clamps that are all the rage, very useful for cleaning up large components, and messy ones too. You'd need a big workshop or garage if you'rre going to use a 4.5" grinder inside, ditto a MIG welder... outside on a low plank bench can be a lot safer and keeps the crap out of the shed/workshop/garage.


A good vise, together with a drill, a set of bits, a hacksaw with a sharp blade and a handful of different files, an enormous amount of fabrication can be done.

e.g. Parts - Modifications - Engine Mounts

(OK, a wee bit of MIG welding too)