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Vise Racking Resolved

By: Erich Lage
Here's an easy way to tackle the age-old problem of your vise racking when working on small pieces.

W231 009f01 new

When clamping small parts in my vise, the vise occasionally has a tendency to rack and lose its grip on the part. So I came up with a simple add-on for my vise to prevent that problem. W231 009a01 It involves attaching a wood face to my vise jaw that has a couple of angled notches cut into the ends. This lets me use a simple wedge to oppose the piece I’m clamping in the vise. W231 009a01 d01 I found that unless the wedge makes full contact with the notch, it will pop out of the vise. So to make these pieces match perfectly, I made four identical wedges and used them as ramps to rout the notches in the vise face. The three drawings below give you all the information needed and the step-by-step details for making both parts.

1. Tape the Wedges.

W231 009a02 Apply double-sided tape to the vise face and align the wedges to the layout lines. Be sure to overhang the wedges to guide the router bit.

2. Adjust the Bit Height.

W231 009a03 Flip the workpiece and adjust the pattern bit height so it meets the layout line for the entrance of the notch.

3. Cut the Notch.

W231 009a04 Nibble away at the notch until the bit passes through the face. Then move the ramps to the other side of the face and repeat the process.

Using The Wedge

W231 009f02 new Once you’ve installed this setup, it’s easy to use. Start by lightly clamping your workpiece in either end of the vise. Then slide the wedge into the notch at the other end and hold it in place while you tighten the vise.

Published: Nov. 4, 2021
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