A bench vise is a type of vise grip which is designed to attach to a workbench. Bench vises can be extremely useful tools to have, and they are stocked by many hardware suppliers and specialty companies. There are a range of sizes and styles to choose from, which is something to consider when buying a bench vise.
Vise grips are tools which are designed to be cranked shut to hold on to something. Essentially, a vise grip is like an extra pair of hands, but unlike hands, a vise grip can exert considerable pressure, and it will never tire out or get bored. Most vise grips consist of a pair of large jaws which can be moved closer together or further apart with the use of a crank, with safety measures or locks which hold the vise grip shut unless the user takes a specific action to open it.
Woodworkers and construction workers often have uses for a bench vise. The vise can be used to hold something while glue sets, or to hold pieces of a project in place while they are worked on. Without a vise grip, the worker might be forced to wait for an assistant who can act as an extra pair of hands, which can be a nuisance. Vise grips are also steadier and more reliable than assistants, and they carry the definite bonus of not being susceptible to injury if they are accidentally struck with tools.
Vise grips generally clamp onto a workbench with an adjustable clamp which can be used to move the grip around or change the angle. Some are padded to reduce the risk of scarring the workbench, while the jaws themselves are usually made from textured metal which provides traction and a firm hold. Jaws of different sizes and potential opening widths are available, and vise grips are also rated by the amount of pressure they can exert, from light to heavy duty bench vises.
This utility tool can be used in a variety of ways. Many people with a workbench or work counter who do construction or home improvement projects can benefit from having access to a bench vise, and some people invent some very creative uses for their bench vises. Like other tools with moving parts, a bench vise does need to be kept regularly oiled to ensure that it works smoothly, and it may need to be periodically wiped down to remove paints, glues, oil, and other workroom drips.