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      • Published 17 Jul 2023
      • Last Modified 8 Aug 2023
    • 6 min

    What are Vices?

    Discover the world of vices and their applications, as we explore the various types available and their effective usage in woodworking, engineering, and metalwork.

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    Vices are versatile tools used in various industries to hold objects in place during intricate tasks. They provide a stable grip, allowing professionals to work precisely and accurately. Vices are commonly found in workshops, construction sites, and engineering facilities.

    What are Vices Used for?

    Vices serve multiple purposes across different industries and professions. They are primarily employed for:

    • Woodworking: Vices are indispensable in carpentry projects, holding workpieces securely while shaping, carving, or sanding. They facilitate precise cuts and joinery by preventing slippage or movement during intricate operations
    • Engineering and Metalwork: Vices play a crucial role in metal fabrication and engineering tasks. They securely grip metal objects, allowing for precise drilling, filing, grinding, and assembly. Vices are particularly valuable when dealing with small or delicate metal components

    Types of Vices

    Vices come in different types, each designed to cater to specific needs and tasks. Understanding the various types of vices available allows professionals to choose the best tool for their work. Let's explore the different types of vices commonly used in woodworking, engineering, and metalwork.

    Bench Vice

    Bench Vices

    Bench vices are typically mounted onto workbenches or tables. They consist of a stationary and movable jaw, operated by a screw mechanism. Bench vices are available in various sizes, with wider jaws providing a larger gripping capacity. They are commonly used in woodworking and metalworking applications.

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    Hand Vices

    Hand vices, also known as portable vices, are compact and versatile. They can be easily carried and clamped onto work surfaces as needed. Hand vices are ideal for smaller tasks or when working on-site, providing a secure grip on small objects such as screws, nails, or pipes.

    Pin Vices

    Pin vices are specialised for holding small, delicate objects like wires, pins, or jewellery components. They consist of a handle and a collet, allowing precise control and a gentle grip. Additionally, they feature interchangeable chuck heads for inserting collets of different sizes. Pin vices are frequently used in jewellery making, electronics, and model building.

    Drill Vice

    Drill Vices

    Drill vices are specifically designed to securely hold workpieces during drilling operations. They provide stability and accuracy by preventing movement and ensuring precise alignment. Drill vices typically feature sturdy construction, adjustable jaws, and a reliable clamping mechanism. They are indispensable for professionals who frequently perform drilling tasks in woodworking, metalworking, or engineering.

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    By understanding the different types of vices available, you can select the ones that will suit your specific needs and tasks. Whether it's a bench vice for general woodworking, a hand vice for on-the-go work, a pin vice for delicate tasks, or a specialised tool like a drill vice for drilling operations, choosing the right vice enhances precision, efficiency, and overall work quality.

    Are Clamps and Vices the Same?

    While clamps and vices share the objective of holding objects in place, they differ in their design and application.



    Clamps generally exert pressure from the outside, securing materials between their jaws.



    Vices, on the other hand, use an internal gripping mechanism to hold objects firmly. Vices offer a more stable and secure hold, making them better suited to precision work.

    Best Vices to Have in a Toolbox

    When assembling your professional toolbox, it's crucial to include vices that cater to your specific industry and tasks. Having the right vices at your disposal ensures a secure grip on workpieces, leading to precise and efficient work. In this section, we will explore some of the best vices to consider for your toolbox. These range from versatile workshop vices to specialised vices for drilling and metalwork.

    • Workshop Vices: A sturdy bench vice is an essential tool for any workshop, providing a versatile gripping solution for woodworking and metalwork. Look for a bench vice with a solid construction, adjustable jaws, and smooth operation
    • Drill Vices: Drill vices are specifically designed for securing workpieces during drilling operations. They ensure accurate drilling by eliminating movement and enhancing stability. Look for drill vices with robust clamping mechanisms and precise alignment features
    • Metal Vices: If your work involves extensive metal fabrication, a metal vice with hardened jaws and a substantial clamping force is indispensable. Metal vices are built to withstand heavy-duty tasks, such as cutting, grinding, or shaping metal components
    • Workbench Vices: Workbench vices are larger, heavy-duty vices that are permanently fixed to workbenches or tables. They offer increased clamping capacity and stability for demanding projects. Workbench vices are suitable for professionals who require a reliable and durable gripping solution
    • Carpentry Vices: For woodworking, a carpentry vice with wide jaws and a quick-release mechanism is invaluable. Look for a vice that can be easily installed and adjusted, ensuring a secure grip on various workpieces
    • Metalwork Vices: When working with metal objects, a metalwork vice specifically designed for metal fabrication tasks is essential. Look for a vice with hardened steel jaws, a swivel base for flexibility, and a reliable clamping system

    By incorporating the right vices for your industry and tasks into your toolbox, you equip yourself with the necessary tools to ensure stability, precision, and efficiency in your work. Consider the specific requirements of your profession, the materials you work with, and the tasks you frequently perform when selecting vices for your toolbox. Investing in high-quality vices will pay off in the long run, as they contribute to superior workmanship and overall productivity.


    Vices are indispensable tools for professionals, providing a stable and secure grip for various tasks in woodworking, engineering, and metalwork. By understanding the different types of vices available, such as bench vices, hand vices, and pin vices, you can select the most suitable tools for your specific needs. Having the right vices in a toolbox ensures enhanced precision, accuracy, and efficiency in professional projects.

    Investing in high-quality vices can significantly improve productivity and work quality. Whether you are a carpenter, engineer, or metalworker, having the right vices in your toolbox ensures that you have the necessary equipment to securely hold and manipulate workpieces.

    When selecting vices for your toolbox, consider factors such as construction quality, clamping force, jaw size, and ease of use. Different vices cater to specific needs, so it's essential to choose those that align with your professional requirements.

    Remember, vices are versatile tools that withstand repetitive use and provide reliable grip strength. Proper maintenance, such as regular cleaning and lubrication, will prolong your vices' lifespan and effectiveness.

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