Even if you’re starting in woodworking, crafting a simple homemade vise clamp for your workshop is within your reach, regardless of your skill level. Instead of splurging on an expensive benchtop vise, you can easily create your own. I’ll show you how to build one quickly and efficiently.
If you have a garage workshop or a small workshop with no space and you want to save money on tools and equipment you can make a simple benchtop portable clamp vise.
It is a handy solution to a problem most woodworkers, hobbyists, and makers encounter. You can attach the vise to any bench using ordinary clamps, turn an ordinary desk into a workbench, move the vise around the shop as necessary, and quickly use it whenever needed.
A bench vise can be a significant investment, and I know from experience that not everyone has one in their workshop – I didn’t either at first. However, you likely have a set of clamps, which are much more affordable than a bench vise. These clamps are all you need to build this Vise Clamp for your workbench.
How to Make a Portable Bench Clamp Vise
Take a look at the video below to see how easy it is to make a portable bench clamp vise!
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*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
What you'll need to build a DIY Vise Clamp
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What is a Homemade Vise Clamp?
A homemade vise clamp is a simple woodworking jig that can help you with multiple woodworking tasks. It’s an essential bench vise that is simple enough for even newcomers and beginners in woodworking to create.
This DIY vise doesn’t use traditional jaws; instead, it incorporates F-clamps secured to the base with L-angles. With just a couple of these clamps, you can easily attach the vise to your workbench. There’s no need for elaborate tools or complex setups. It’s a budget-friendly solution you can build with materials you already have in the workshop. What is great about a homemade vise clamp is its versatility and portability – it provides all the advantages of a standard vise, with the added bonus of being able to use it anywhere you need.
Benefits of a Homemade Vise Clamp
- Easy to Create: A homemade vise clamp is a simple woodworking jig that even beginners can make without any difficulties.
- Steady Work Surface: By attaching it to your workbench, it provides a stable and secure platform for your woodworking projects.
- Versatile: Can be used for various tasks like drilling, cutting, planning, and more, ensuring your wood stays in place.
- Budget-Friendly: Making this clamp won’t break the bank. It’s a cost-effective solution that works.
- Portability: Take it wherever you need it. Its portability means you can set up a reliable workspace anywhere.
Let's Start Building
This benchtop vise is a project you can comfortably complete in just one afternoon. You don’t need any special power tools to build it; ordinary tools around the shop will suffice.
The materials you’ll need include a board to serve as the base, a set of F-clamps, and a few L-angles for attaching the clamps to the base
How to Make a Simple Homemade Vise Clamp
Step 1: Prepare the L Angles
Start by preparing the L-angles that would support and hold the F-clamps. Those are ordinary angles you can get at your local hardware store.
Add a bit of epoxy on a washer and attach it to the angle around the predrilled holes. Make sure all the holes are easily accessible and there is no epoxy excess. The best way to do it is by using tweezers.
(If possible get angles with pre-drilled holes, it will save you some trouble. If you don’t have those, drill 4 holes in – 2 holes to fix the L-angle to a plywood base and 2 to fix the F-clamps.)
Put a bit of epoxy on a nut and attach it over the washer. Carefully get rid of the epoxy excess so that the holes are clear. Make sure the epoxy does not get in the nut thread.
NOTE: Adding a washer between the L-angle and the nut can enhance the strength of the joint. This small addition allows for a greater application of epoxy, making the joint more robust and durable.
Repeat the process 7 more times for all the angles.
Fix the angles together using M4 bolts. Make sure the bolts are long enough to be able to fit the F-Clamps between the angles.
Step 2: Mount the Clamps
NOTE: If you don’t have a plywood board you can also use a thicker piece of MDF or HDF.
Place the L-Angles on the plywood board and insert the Clamp between the angles.
Find the right position for the vise, tighten the bolts to secure the clamps, and then fix the angles with the clamps to the board using wood screws.
Step 3: Make Angle Covers
To enhance the vise, you can create two simple wooden covers. These covers are placed over the angles to protect the workpiece from scratches or damage caused by the angles. They also double as stands, providing a stable base for the piece you’re working on.
Start by cutting two strips of wood. Make sure the strips match the width of the angles. Then, on each strip, mark the distance between the tops of the angles. This step ensures that the wooden covers will fit precisely.
Cut 2 shallow lines on the stripe and use them as rails to cover the top of the angles.
Step 4: Testing the Clamp Vise
I made a few test runs with the clamping vise and I was quite surprised and happy with the result. It is not a full-fledged workbench vise but if you are looking for a simple benchtop vise that can be easily mounted to a benchtop and used right away this one will do the job.
And eventually, when you get yourself a workshop vise you can disassemble this jig easily and get the clamps back 😉
This project is a great choice for woodworking beginners, regardless of your skill level. If you need a quick and straightforward benchtop clamp vise that gets the job done, this is the one to make. It’s an easy build, and you’ll be able to complete it in no time.