Before studying this item in depth I would suggest that you look at my web pages
on the benefits of the toolmakers style vice. This details my thoughts on using a
toolmakers style vice as a milling vice, and describes how they can provide a greater
workpiece capacity, particularly for, but not only to, the small machine user. Likewise,
for the viewer who carries out milling on the lathe, either on the cross slide or
vertical slide. Viewing the item is not though essential for carrying out the re-machining
of the budget drilling vices seen in Photo 1.
Details of the vices I am using, and suggestions for possible alternatives if your
location makes these difficult to obtain, are given at the end. Their sizes though
are 40, 64, 80 and 100mm jaw nominal widths, opening to similar values.
In upgrading these to approach those of a Toolmakers Vice we are attempting to achieve
an accurate result, at least as far as can reasonably be accomplished in the home
workshop. This will not of course be equal to that of an commercial version.
However, the tasks that can be undertaken can be divided into two groups. One containing
those features that are essential if the vices are to be reworked whilst the other
group are for features that can be omitted. Even so, all in this group can be omitted
or included but not individually.
I. The face on which the jaw moves, being the one on which the workpiece will often
be located, sometimes using parallels, to be parallel to the base of the vice.
2. The jaw faces to be at right angles (upright) to the face on which the moving
3. The top of the vice's fixed and moving jaws to be parallel to the base of the
4. Clamping grooves to be included on each side.
5. The jaw keep plate removed and a longer more robust one fitted.
Optional Features(either all or non)
6. The two long sides of the vice to be vertically at right angles to the vice's
7. The two long sides to be parallel
8. The fixed jaw face to be at right angles to the vice's long sides.
9. All, or part, of the fixed jaw end to be, parallel with the fixed jaw, horizontally
If omitting the optional features some faces would be left in the condition as received
as a result they could not be used as reference surfaces for positioning the vice
on the machine table, or positioning the workpiece in the vice. Unless the reader
needs to limit the work involved I think the full update is the ideal approach and
my descriptions are based on the vices being fully machined. There is though one
other factor that must be considered.
As the above will require, both the top surface of the rail on which jaw moves and
the jaw under surface which slides on this, to be machined, this will lower the bore
in the moving jaw that accepts the end of the tightening screw. The result will be
an alignment error between it and the threaded hole in the back end of the vice's
If the amount removed is kept to a minimum the misalignment may be accommodated by
the clearance between the end of the screw and the hole in the jaw, also, the clearance
between the screw and the thread in the rear upright. In fact, one vice that initially
became tight when attempting to open it fully, worked perfectly once the surfaces
were machined. This showing that being budget vices errors of alignment may already
exist. Should the two surfaces need more removing than can be accommodated by the
clearances present then I detail later a method as to how this can be worked around.