A variety of metalworking vices is available and there are also accessories you can buy for different types of work. Most vices are made from heavy duty cast iron and have hardened steel serrated jaws which give a very firm grip. They are sold in different sizes which indicate the width of the jaws: the greater the jaw width, the bigger the jaw opening – and the more expensive the vice. Get the biggest you can afford to give you the greatest flexibility.

One basic model is the mechanic’s vice with sizes ranging from about 64 to 1 52mm. The vice should be fitted with replaceable jaw plates. When soft, plated or polished surfaces are to be gripped, most vices can be fitted with soft, fibre-grip jaw facings. Some models have a swivel base so the vice can be locked in any position through 360 degrees.

If you intend doing a lot of metalwork. you may find it worth buying a vice with quick-release jaws which can be moved rapidly inwards or outwards.

– Some workshop vices are fitted with a back anvil, which is useful for rivetting and shaping metal. On others it may be possible to use the jaw slide as an anvil.

– Another feature of some vices is shaped jaw plates which will grip pipes and circular sections.

– Clamp-on vices are useful for lightweight work when it is not possible to have a vice permanently mounted; but many of these lack stability for heavy work.

One particularly versatile model has a suction pad for instantaneous mounting on smooth surfaces, a drilled baseplate for permanent mounting and a G-clamp attachment for temporarily mounting the vice on a bench top. Special rocking grooved jaws are supplied to grip metals, including pipes, and there are rubber jaws available for delicate work.

Below A selection of vices suitable for metalwork; always choose the best you can afford 1 Hinged pipe vice for gripping pipes during cutting and welding 2 Engineer’s vice with back anvil and quick-release action 3 Mechanic’s vice 4 Replacement vice jaws 5 Heavy duty vice with back anvil and quick-release action 6 Hand vice for holding metal while drilling 7 Swivel base for a mechanic’s vice 8 Workshop table vice 9 Lightweight precision vice

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