How to use a vise

You may find the inclusion of a vise a handy adjunct in your workshop. The machinist’s vise is very heavy duty, but the household can do with the one known as the utility vise. It has a small anvil and anvil horn as part of the back jaw.

The anvil surface is broken by a small hole into which the hardie fits. The hardie is a small tool with the utility vise. It is used for cutting heavy wire and small rods and bars. Pipe jaws are mounted inside the regular jaws for holding pipes and rods.

Soft jaws, inserts made of brass, copper, or other soft metal, are mounted on the jaws when the surface of your work must be protected. If soft jaws are not available you can easily make a pair out of scrap metal.

If you have to pound against metal parts held in the vise be sure you pound against the back jaw – it’s heavier than the front jaw and strong enough to absorb the shock of the blows. Always tighten and loosen a vise by holding the handle with your hands and applying the weight of your body to secure turning pressure. A good workman never hammers on his vise handle because he knows it may break the sliding jaw or spring the clamping screw.