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Portable vice - buying advice sought

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John Smith 4728/04/2021 15:29:26
150 forum posts
5 photos


Can any of you recommend a good quality table vice?

What I seek:
- Needs a G-clamp onto a domestic table (easy removal)
- Broadly FLAT jaws (no teeth to damage the part being clamped)
- Jaws should NOT be replaceable (if in means accepting 2 holes in the gripping faces of the jaws)
- Jaw width (7 to 10cm)

Bonus/Nice-to-have features:
- Removable rubber covers for jaws (for more vulnerable parts /quieter filing etc)
- Reasonably wide opening of jaws (e.g. 8cm??)
- Built-in anvil
- The jaw covers might include a V-slot for gripping circular cross section.

Probably not needed
- Ability to swivel
- Ball-joint

With thanks


Andrew Tinsley28/04/2021 16:40:57
1418 forum posts

I really don't know of anything that fits all of your needs. I would go as far as saying that your ideal doesn't exist. You need to whittle down your "must have", requirements, then you may be in with a chance.


Dave S28/04/2021 16:57:11
126 forum posts
23 photos

Stanley 702

Robert Dodds28/04/2021 16:59:51
287 forum posts
39 photos


clamp on swivel vice.

There are lots to choose from but beware any profiled edge on you table as the throat of some of the G clamps is not huge and could reduce the stability of the vice in use.

Regards Bob D

Peter Cook 628/04/2021 17:03:02
124 forum posts
38 photos

Stanley STA183069

ega28/04/2021 17:18:44
2140 forum posts
176 photos

The Zylis would satisfy some of your criteria.

JasonB28/04/2021 17:20:06
20637 forum posts
2296 photos
1 articles

Also consider screwing any vice to a board then you can clamp the board to your bench which will widen the choice, Parrot vice is quite versatile

Ian Parkin28/04/2021 18:22:29
948 forum posts
225 photos

The zylis is a quality solution as ega says i have 4 of these in different workshops

John Smith 4728/04/2021 18:45:31
150 forum posts
5 photos

@Andrew Tinsley - Knowing that it is unlikely to find a vice that suits ALL of my requirment I had already prioritised my list. Are you saying the even the basics that I have listed cant be found?

@Dave S - "Stanley 702"
i.e. A vintage corner vice that is no longer manufactured, yes?
It's clearly designed for only wood work because it is made from aluminium.
Unfortuntately I will be doing all manner or materials and the aluminium will get battered. Also my parts will be too near to the table to get good access for filing/sawing etc. Interesting suggestion though!

@Peter Cook 6 - "Stanley STA183069"
Like I say I DON'T really want a ball and socket thing, because it will (presumably) flex too much and be more bulky than required. To be honest I just want something simpler.

@Ega - Zyliss vice
Ingenious for sure. But bit bulky, fussy and complicated. Again, aluminium jaws are asking for trouble. Another interest suggestion though.

@JasonB - Parrot vice
A strong contender but it would need to attached to a board which would then be clamped to a table. Possible... but the board would make it bulky to put away.

Whilst at Axminster Tools, I did spot the
I don't really need, nor want all that swivelling and replaceable jaws have holes. But I like the fact that it has an anvil. But if pushed maybe I could make my own jaws out of mild steel with parallel side and just lightly glue them in.

In general is it possible to buy smoother or completely flat (i.e. flat-faced) jaws to sit over the top of (or replace) the heavily textured jaws that they all seem to have?

I have lost count of the number of times that I have used the dead-flat clamping faces on my old table vice.

PS I am still pondering Zyliss...

Wait I just found these things:
"Engineers Soft Vice Jaws 150mm/6" - Anti-Marking Magnetic Clamps with Rubber Grips"

Magnetic to help them stay put, and would cover up any screw holes underneath them. 

They would certainly help for gripping softer materials. Sometime I want to grip with completely flat faces though... (e.g. squeezing together a part whilst it dries). 

OK maybe I have to admit defeat and abandon the flat faces??

I was just thinking that this looks perfect:
Nice flat jaw faces with no holes - so no need to find magnetic soft vice jaws with flat faces etc.
I didn't specify them but having double guide rods will of course help give a smooth action...

Then I saw the price £107.60! can deliver them for a bit less £83.61 but that's till a LOT.





Edited By John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 19:12:38

not done it yet28/04/2021 18:59:08
5946 forum posts
20 photos

But bit bulky, fussy and complicated.

I thought that was close to a good description of someone.

Best to get two vises to cover most of your requirements. Maybe three might be better...

Michael Gilligan28/04/2021 19:00:42
18080 forum posts
845 photos
Posted by John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 18:45:31:


In general is it possible to buy smoother or completely flat (i.e. flat-faced) jaws to sit over the top of (or replace) the heavily textured jaws that they all seem to have?



Our guys used ‘Record’ vices that came with screwed-on textured jaw facings ...

Remove facings; surface grind; re-fit facings; be happy.

... that’s how they did it.



Edit: __ But you have already rejected removable jaw facings !


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 28/04/2021 19:16:31

Dave S28/04/2021 19:09:46
126 forum posts
23 photos

The 702 ticks all of the must haves, 1 bonus and both not needed.

Didn’t see must not be alloy in the list.

Frances IoM28/04/2021 19:12:35
1118 forum posts
27 photos
John- have you ever thought of a small shed ? - producing a world beating novel concept on a kitchen table is I suspect a thing only found in prewar novels
Ady128/04/2021 19:21:48
4442 forum posts
693 photos

Arose by another name...

multi angle vice brings up a few hits

Grindstone Cowboy28/04/2021 19:23:03
620 forum posts
57 photos

Those blue Draper soft vice jaws... recently bought a pair and sorry to say they are pretty poor. The soft plastic is too soft for anything I've tried to do with them. Considering removing the plastic and replacing with some red fibre (if I could find any of a decent thickness), as I have an old pair of fibre-faced ones that (despite one having lost its fibre) work really well and will hold screws, etc. firmly but without marring them.


P.S. I'd not bother about the anvil, pretty useless and if you hit it hard, could be expensive.

Edited By Grindstone Cowboy on 28/04/2021 19:25:49

Michael Gilligan28/04/2021 19:30:25
18080 forum posts
845 photos
Posted by John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 18:45:31:


I was just thinking that this looks perfect:


Then I saw the price £107.60! can deliver them for a bit less £83.61 but that's till a LOT.


Twenty would be plenty !!

Quid, that is



Edit: __ perhaps it’s better than I thought at first glance

... it actually has a specification !!

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 28/04/2021 19:45:46

JasonB28/04/2021 19:31:51
20637 forum posts
2296 photos
1 articles

Two bits of aluminium angle cut to length and slipped into the vice will give smooth non damaging jaws, recess a couple of holes in the back and glue in magnets if you want but I find the magnets attract swarf.

Pete.28/04/2021 19:33:31
540 forum posts
86 photos

Then I saw the price £107.60! can deliver them for a bit less £83.61 but that's till a LOT.

Edited By John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 19:12:38

£83.61 with delivery included seems like a fair price for a good quality cast iron vice, when you're pricing something have a think what it would cost you in time and materials to make, then it'll seem like a bargain.

John Smith 4728/04/2021 19:34:01
150 forum posts
5 photos

@Frances IoM - No, I rent. Buying a small shed is not an option.

@not done it yet - Physical space is at a premium. On the up-side, I don't mind paying a bit more for quality.

PS Like I say I think wanting flat faces is a mistake. I think I can just stick some flat steel (or aluminium) plate onto whatever is there - maybe just held by double-sided adhesive tape. [ All I will say is that exactly parallel completely flat-faced jaws has been extremely useful to me over the years with my old vice... ]

Anyhow if so, that brings quite a few options back into play. 



Edited By John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 19:41:53

Edited By John Smith 47 on 28/04/2021 19:43:17

Tim Stevens28/04/2021 20:25:47
1430 forum posts

It seems to me that there is a contradiction between:
a) the need not to mark the surface its clamped to, and:
b) the need for an attached anvil.
Either you are intending to hammer stuff on it, or you want no marks on the table.

In my experience any clamped-on vice is going to be a problem sooner or later - never mind attacking it with a hammer. If it is done up enough to be firm, for filing, sawing, tapping a thread, etc, it will mark. And if it is not done up tight it will mark worse as it screws round ...

Sorry - Tim

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