Adjustable-Width Vise Spacer

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Project by rmac posted 11-15-2011 06:48 AM 3412 views 32 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 1813 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


4243 posts in 2581 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


16864 posts in 2609 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 1918 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


12989 posts in 2114 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


407 posts in 2658 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


6830 posts in 2221 days

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

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

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View ChuckV's profile


2872 posts in 2948 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.

-- “And the products of wealth push you along on the bow wave of their spiritless undying selves.” ― I. Anderson

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 1815 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

32 posts in 1806 days

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

Really nice idea!

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

View Viking's profile


878 posts in 2616 days

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

Excellent idea Russ!

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

View rmac's profile


198 posts in 2481 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


1469 posts in 1911 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


1666 posts in 2045 days

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

That. Is. Awesome.

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

View spunwood's profile


1198 posts in 2256 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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