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How to use a vise

Message 1 of 5
321 Views, 4 Replies

How to use a vise

Im not a machinist and learning the hard way...

I have a pretty strong accurate vise now.  But when I clamp the stock into it, the parallels get loose and the stock lifts off (about .2mm in some cases).  The stock is not completely true.

I have resorted to clamping the stock down onto the parallels then tightening the vice...Parallels remain nice and tight....

Is there a more elegant machinist way of achieving this....

BTW the moving head of the vise does not appear to rise of the base.

Message 2 of 5
in reply to: jscott6SWZG

There can be numerous things going on to cause this. Most machine shops will use something like a Kurt vise, these have a special bearing in the moveable jaw that moves the jaw down the harder it is clamped. But even these vises won't help much if the stock is saw cut on both edges that are being clamped, or if the 2 clamped edges are not close to being parallel. You don't tell us what kind of material you are clamping and how far it is sunk into the jaws. If you are clamping an 1/8" piece of Delrin 6" square, then no matter what you do, you will have problems clamping it into a vise. Generally, when clamping a piece of stock into a vise, a person would use something like a parallel keeper, like this, Kurt - 6 Inch Max Opening Capacity, 14 Inch Long x 8 Inch Wide, Parallel Keeper - 09211756 - MSC Ind... to keep the parallels from flopping around. Then after clamping the part into the vise, gently tap the part down on the edges that are being clamped with a plastic hammer to seat the stock onto the top of the parallels. if the stock is roughly cut, sometimes these kinds of jaws will help, they have a built-in step and serrations to dig into the material, Hard Steel 6” (150mm) Non-Machinable Serrated Vise Jaws ( .


If you can tell us more of what you are trying to clamp, and the type of vise you are using, we might have more suggestions for you.


Leo C

Message 3 of 5
in reply to: jscott6SWZG



Look for a "pull down" type of vise where the moving jaw(s) have a system that pulls the jaw down as it is tightened and has either teeth or an angled top edge,  Something like the Lang or Chick or Gerardi systems, yes, they are expensive but if properly looked after they will last you probably the length of your machining career 🙂 🙂


I have used the Kurt system that @leo.castellon suggested and ended up weighing them in for scrap as to use them as @leo.castellon describes is time consuming and if the stock is not set with the bottom lower than the center of the jaw then there is still the risk of the stock moving if any reasonably heavy cutting is required such as Roughing with large stepovers/tools.


However, having said that at the end of the day it is down to preference and of course the Budget 🙂 🙂

Message 4 of 5
in reply to: engineguy

Aluminum 6061

chop saw is out .2mm on 100mm

probably in both dimensions

Message 5 of 5
in reply to: jscott6SWZG

Thx guys i tried the parallels together. Made sure i was clamped on best side.  Gentle tighten.   One nice tap leave hammer down. Cinch

i did clean up one side…

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