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COMPACT VISE SHIM FROM GIFT CARDS •

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Project by tyvekboy posted 12-04-2015 09:58 PM 1708 views 5 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
COMPACT VISE SHIM FROM GIFT CARDS •
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Dec. 4, 2015

Preventing vise racking is a common problem we all face. This small device can prevent damage to your vise.

Recently Woodpeckers announced that they were offering a ONE-TIME tool called a vise shim and it only cost $89.99. Order one now while it’s available.

It looks simple enough and very handy and compact so I decided that it was a good challenge to see if I could make one. Aside from waiting for the glue to set up, this project will not take long.

The difference in my version was the use of used gift cards for the thin shims.

I collect and use these gift cards extensively in my shop as shims. They measure about 1/32 inch thick. I used about 38 gift cards in my compact shim.

The other shims — (2) 3/4 inch and (1) 1/2 inch thick plastic cut to the same size of the gift cards. The plastic was the same thing I use in my previous and larger vise shim posting.

The main challenge was how I was going to cut the 3/8 inch recess in the sides of the cards and the other pieces of plastic.

I thought of using a router but decided instead to use the table saw with a 3/8 inch dado blade (actually a Freud box joint blade set). The depth of cut was 3/8 inch deep.

This is a guide to the cuts made in the gift cards and plastic pieces.

To keep the stack of plastic firmly held in place while cutting I used some pieces of plywood that were shorter than the stack on either side of the stack of plastic and clamped it firmly in my crosscut sled. Watch as you make this cut to make sure the gift cards don’t move as the cut is made. I eventually used a piece of plywood secured on top of the stack of plastic to keep them from moving up while cutting.

A right angle reference was also clamped against the back fence of the crosscut sled. This helped to register the stack of plastic.

The first cut was set 3/8 inch from the end of the cards. Without changing the position of the right angle reference, all four cuts were made by repositioning the stack. The right angle reference was then move over so that the next cut would overlap the second cut. This was repeated until the recess was completed. I had to take my time and make sure the stack was firmly clamped in place.

Here are the gift cards and plastic pieces after the cutting operation was completed.

This operation was the hardest part of making this compact vise shim.

The next part was to make the frame that held the stack of shims. I decided to make my frame from a piece of scrap cherry.

You can make it any way you want. I tried several times and finally got it right.

The key is to make the frame so that the bottom has a recess for the 3/8 inch tabs of the shims into which they can retract. The 3/8 inch rabbet only has to be on the long sides of the frame. I would recommend the amount of wood above this rabbet to be a minimum of 1/4 – 3/8 inch. The thinner you can make the frame the more plastic will project beneath the frame and into the vise jaws.

This is what the bottom of the first experimental frame looked like. Keep in mind that one of the long sides has to be removable so that the shims can be placed into the frame.

This is what the top side looks like.

This is the bottom side of the second frame that I made with the shims install.

This is the what the compact shim looks like right side up.

NOTES:

(1) Keep the opening in the frame loose enough so that the shims can easily free fall through the frame.

(2) The long back and front pieces of the frame can be attached using screws. I glued one of the long pieces to the two short pieces of the frame and just screwed one side. If you use screws, 2 screws would be used in each corner.

(3) The capacity of my version is a little over 3 inches. If you would like one of greater capacity, use more 3/4 inch thick shims. Adjust the frame accordingly.

The frame was sanded smooth and finished with Watco Danish oil.

It works great.

Comments, favorites and questions are appreciated.

Thanks for looking.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized





19 comments so far

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3019 posts in 1259 days


#1 posted 12-04-2015 10:42 PM

Nice. I thought that Woodpeckers deal was one of the worst values they’ve offered. I ended up with the Lee Valley version for $15. Didn’t have the creativity to come up with your solution.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9432 posts in 3513 days


#2 posted 12-04-2015 11:10 PM

CharlesA +++

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

1335 posts in 2474 days


#3 posted 12-04-2015 11:27 PM

I didn’t mean to imply that the WP offer was a good deal. They do make great products but they are way outside of my pocket book.

The inspiration of my larger vise shim was that Lee Valley version.

CharlesA … now you know how to make one, you can make one too. All you have to do is collect a bunch of gift cards … lol … Usually near the registers at SAMS CLUB there is a bunch of gift cards … get a few each time you visit and before you know it you’ll have a collection. I’ve seen them at McDonalds and other retail places too. I’m guessing they are there so you can pick them up and have them loaded up to give as gifts.

I guess you could use pieces of wood ripped to 1/16 inch thick for the shims too and use wood for the 1/2 and 3/4 inch shims for this project.

If you come up with another thin material to use instead of gift cards I’m all ears.

However, these gift cards are durable and easy to cut.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3019 posts in 1259 days


#4 posted 12-04-2015 11:32 PM

Your idea is brilliant. Never would have occurred to me.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View sawdustjeff's profile

sawdustjeff

8 posts in 1002 days


#5 posted 12-04-2015 11:47 PM

Great article and execution Alex!
I looked at the Woodpeckers advertisement and immediately thought of the kids selling $25.00 glasses of lemonade. When asked why so expensive they replied, “We only have to sell one!” LOL!

When I first saw that I thought of using a combination of plastic laminate samples. Laminates come in different thicknesses but are more brittle than the gift cards. I think your solution and the cutting guide make more sense.

Jeff, West Dundee

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

4881 posts in 2128 days


#6 posted 12-05-2015 12:38 AM

Nice inexpensive device compared to the WP version and another material that could be used is puck board .
I opted to make a device that is in place at all times for my old vice and it works very well and I don’t have to look for it .http://lumberjocks.com/projects/98847

Klaus

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View BobWemm's profile

BobWemm

1806 posts in 1387 days


#7 posted 12-05-2015 12:58 AM

Great idea.
Thanks for sharing.

Bob

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Roger's profile

Roger

19867 posts in 2265 days


#8 posted 12-05-2015 01:46 AM

You are awesome buddy.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View BigBrownLog's profile

BigBrownLog

61 posts in 1728 days


#9 posted 12-05-2015 02:30 AM

Personally I would have just fabricated both ends of my vice with threaded bolts attached to angle iron so I could use them to adjust as a deadstop opposite the end I was working. I haven’t had this problem yet since I don’t put anything in the vice that cant be put in the center.

-- Whoever said nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to staple water to a tree

View BigBrownLog's profile

BigBrownLog

61 posts in 1728 days


#10 posted 12-05-2015 02:37 AM



Nice inexpensive device compared to the WP version and another material that could be used is puck board .
I opted to make a device that is in place at all times for my old vice and it works very well and I don t have to look for it .http://lumberjocks.com/projects/98847

Klaus
That’s funny that I posted what I’d do in this situation and then I see you had an Idea so I go look and it’s pretty similar to what I had though of. I think your idea is a bit better because it would be less time consuming to do and less materials, so more cost effective.
- kiefer


-- Whoever said nothing is impossible has obviously never tried to staple water to a tree

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

17135 posts in 2567 days


#11 posted 12-05-2015 03:41 AM

That’s cool. Nice and easy to build.
I
i have so much scrap wood in my barrel all the time. I just grab a board and wack it to size on the band saw and the throw it back in the barrel when I’m done.

It is nice that you can have it hanging down so it won’t drop out like my piece of wood!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1797 posts in 2923 days


#12 posted 12-05-2015 03:57 AM

Very clever Alex. I appreciate the practicality of such a device at the bench. I usually just look around for a piece of scrap that is the size I need it or make one out of some scrap wood. Your solution is much more elegant.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

1350 posts in 1744 days


#13 posted 12-05-2015 04:18 AM

I had no idea what this was or how it was used till CharlesA posted his picture. I had never heard of one before. Interesting idea. Would wood veneer work for this project as well.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#14 posted 12-05-2015 01:36 PM

Very nicely done Tyvekboy, like all of projects. Mine is not nearly as elegant or precise as yours and Klaus’, but it works ok. I can imagine though that the more precise it is, the better it will be for your vise in the long run.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2716 posts in 2747 days


#15 posted 12-05-2015 04:04 PM

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