Adjustable-Width Vise Spacer

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Project by rmac posted 11-15-2011 06:48 AM 3047 views 31 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you want to hold a big panel or something in your vise, sometimes you have to clamp it off to one side of the vise because the vise hardware gets in the way. When you do that, it’s a good idea to put a spacer in the other side of the vise to keep the vise from racking. So you have to find something as thick as your workpiece to use as a spacer, then hold it with one hand while you hold the workpiece with your other hand and then somehow snug up the vise with your nose or your knee.

Growing a third arm would go a long way towards solving this problem, but I hear that takes a long time. Also, people who aren’t quite as tolerant as they should be towards biological diversity will point and laugh and look at you like you’re some sort of three-armed freak. So that’s no good.

Maybe you would be better off if you just built this little gizmo. It lets you make any size spacer you need by rotating the leaves in and out of the way. The 3/4” thick blocks on each end of the bolt keep the thing from falling through the vise while you position your workpiece with one hand and tighten the vise with the other.


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

20 comments so far

View Neight's profile


112 posts in 1332 days

#1 posted 11-15-2011 06:55 AM

Excellent idea! Thanks for sharing!

-- Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. -Mark Twain

View rance's profile


4165 posts in 2099 days

#2 posted 11-15-2011 07:31 AM

Now that’s a REAL clever tool. Thanks for posting.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Ken90712's profile


15677 posts in 2128 days

#3 posted 11-15-2011 10:53 AM

Simple yet so effective and cleaver. It makes perfect sense thanks for sharing!!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1436 days

#4 posted 11-15-2011 02:16 PM

A perfect answer to a common frustration. I usually hunt around for a block and hold it with a spring clamp but this is the best. Neat idea, patent it! (but give us building rights OK?).

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Bertha's profile


12951 posts in 1632 days

#5 posted 11-15-2011 03:00 PM

Not to steal Ken’s comment but it’s incredibly clever, like a grown up wooden spark plug gap tool!;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Wolffarmer's profile


397 posts in 2177 days

#6 posted 11-15-2011 03:20 PM

That is a great idea. But if i build one I bet it will be hiding out with the pencils.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View StumpyNubs's profile


6428 posts in 1739 days

#7 posted 11-15-2011 05:14 PM

Not to steal Bertha’s comment, but it’s incredibly clever.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View ChuckV's profile


2598 posts in 2466 days

#8 posted 11-15-2011 06:04 PM

Excellent idea! I have gotten pretty good with my knee, but this is far better.

Thanks for posting this.

-- “While the world with closed eyes sleeps, The sky knows and weeps - steel rain. ” ― Nathan Bell

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 1333 days

#9 posted 11-15-2011 06:48 PM

What a great idea!

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Matt W5MIX's profile

Matt W5MIX

31 posts in 1324 days

#10 posted 11-15-2011 07:45 PM

Really nice idea!

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

View Viking's profile


857 posts in 2134 days

#11 posted 11-15-2011 07:46 PM

Excellent idea Russ!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View rmac's profile


197 posts in 1999 days

#12 posted 11-15-2011 07:48 PM

Thanks everybody. This was one of those “wake up in the middle of the night with a brainstorm” things.


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View Northwest29's profile


1167 posts in 1429 days

#13 posted 11-15-2011 08:22 PM

Great idea. I made one of these a few months ago and it has been very helpful. For those that may be interested rather than using a double nut on one end you can use a nut with a nylon insert and it works just fine. HTH


-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View jumbojack's profile


1404 posts in 1563 days

#14 posted 11-16-2011 02:36 AM

That. Is. Awesome.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View spunwood's profile


1194 posts in 1775 days

#15 posted 11-16-2011 04:30 AM

great idea man!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

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