Many applications require a material to be held tightly before performing any action upon them. The action could be in the form of cutting, polishing, sawing, drilling, levelling etc. You must have noticed such actions at a carpenter shop, metal workshop or a manufacturing facility where a lathe or CNC machine is used (especially in the last two places.) The device at the center of such actions is the vice, which typically comprises of a large anvil work surface, a swivel or fixed base, grooved steel jaws with an opening of various sizes, say 100m to 200m, and a lever to fasten the material.

You can use such a device to provide stability to the material upon which an action is to be performed with precision. The materials in use in such cases can be wood, metal, alloy etc. Let’s find out the various ways vices can be of help.

Facilitates the joining of material parts

In a carpenter shop, various wood pieces are joined together by using adhesives. And post application of the adhesive, the wood pieces are held tightly and left undisturbed. This is done until the adhesive dries up and the two pieces fuse together to look like a single unit. Here, instead of relying on gravity to let the pieces bind themselves on their own, it would be better if a bench vice is used. Since the strength of binding would depend on the absence of air pockets (besides the quality of adhesive used) between the surfaces, the use of a vice becomes important. The same holds true for metals as well.


While using a saw machine on a piece of lumber the latter should be held tightly lest it moves and disturbs the precision of sawing. This is where tools such as vices come in handy as the perfect solution to secure the lumber in place.


The task of drilling holes requires absolute precision and stability, which can only be achieved by using such a tool.


The use of sandpaper in levelling a wood or metal surface of rough and abrasive edges is fairly common. However, you can face certain issues while carrying out levelling such as that of time taken and of firmly securing the material. While the time taken to finish the task would depend on the skill and perseverance of the person, securing the material through the use of such apparatus can be a much better option than say, using your arm or legs.

Types of bench vice

The particular apparatus comes in many types, styles, sizes and shapes. Let’s discuss the two widely used ones.

  • USA Style: Made of cast iron steel these have jaw opening surfaces that can range from 100m to 200m. These provide a fairly large anvil work surface and are placed upon a swivel base, which helps you to adjust the height and orientation of the tool. 
  • French Style: Similar to its USA cousin, this particular device made of cast iron steel comes in various jaw opening sizes ranging from 150mm to 200mm. This one too comes with a swivel base wherein the height and direction of the vice can be adjusted as per the requirement of the job.


Whether you use the most advanced CNC machine for various cutting jobs at your facility or a basic saw at a carpenter shop, the use of simple devices like vices cannot be overlooked.