Types of Woodworking Vises- Carpentry & Woodworking Tools Guide

When you are engaged in woodworking as a novice or a professional, one of the must have tools is woodcraft vise or woodworking vise.  You may find metalworking or woodworking vises as broader categories. The only difference is as implied by the name. A woodworking vise is mainly made with wood. It is either attached to the workbench or made into it with jaws made of wood to prevent harm to the wooden material you are working on.

The main types of woodworking vise are plain screw, quick release, woodcraft, pattern maker’s vise, face workbench, tail workbench, and engineer’s or machinist’s vise.

At the end of this article about the types of woodworking vises, you will know more about the following:

  • What are woodworking vise
  • Woodworking vise categories
  • What is their primary use?
  • Types and various woodworking vise

The fundamental design of woodworking vises consists of jaws that grip the material. Some screws hold the grip and manage the hold on the working material.

It is no surprise that power tools like circular saw or band saw create vibrations when you cut through the workpiece. Clamping with a woodworking vise significantly reduces the vibrations while you saw through the wood. According to many carpenters, woodworking vises are indispensable workpieces of equipment in a workshop.

But at the same time, among this assortment of woodworking vises present, which one you go for can become a tiring process until you know the vise types. So, we compiled this guide about different woodworking vise types to get you acquainted with them.

Types of Woodworking Vises

Plain Screw Vise

Olympia Tools Woodworking Vise with Bench Dog

These are cast iron vises. These standard woodworking vises are typical for wooden crafts, and their machined built makes them highly precise. These vises come in a design with a traditional screw mechanism that narrows the space between the front and rear jaws.

At the front, the movement of the screw controls the rotating handle. The handle and screw system is the most widely used system in the woodworking vises, but the name ‘plain screw’ distinguishes it from the quick-release vise.

Both professionals and amateurs use Plain Screw Vise to clamp large pieces of wood to the workbench securely. The only downside of a plain screw vise is that its settings take some time. Besides, it can be a little annoying when working on a workpiece that needs frequent re-clamping. 

Quick-release vise

Eclipse Quick Release Woodworking Vise

As the name implies offers quick release and adjustments, unlike a plain screw clamp. The size of this work tool might be a little bigger, but it provides relatively more convenience. You can readjust the jaws of the vise without a rotating handle.

You will mainly find these Quick-release vises in the woodworking projects that require repetitive adjustments to the material.

The mechanism of quick-release split nut significantly enhances the speed. You will find the front handle with 180 degrees rotation to unlock the nut in most of the quick-release vises.

Woodcraft vice

Woodcraft Vise

These are the common types of woodwork vises that you can find for home use. Their specification and design also make them suitable for such use. They are lightweight and easy to carry, unlike others.

The most appropriate use for such a clamp is in a home workshop with a hobbyist or a DIYer. Regardless, you will also find them in professional workshops as well.

It is best to clamp two wooden pieces glued together. You can connect pieces for painting. Additionally, you can use it to make wooden frames, ornaments, etc.

Besides the three types, you may also be interested in knowing the following kinds of vises used in a workshop.

Pattern Maker’s Vise

WoodRiver Patternmaker's or Gunstock Carving Vise

This woodworking vise is known for its versatility. The vise can rotate, tilt and pivot while at the same time it holds the workpiece between its jaws. The woodworking vise is perfect who making patterns out of wood, working on small details around the wooden piece.

You don’t find many variations in this tool, but the basic version found in the marker pretty much excels at doing its job.

Workbench Vise

As the name implies, this type of woodworking vise becomes an essential part of the workbench in a workshop. There is no need to fix it in other locations. Instead, you can fix the jaws and handle the workbench permanently, and there is no need to detach them. They are mainly found in three different types. There are three types of workbench vises

Face Workbench Vise (or Front Vise)

Heavy Duty Quick Release Front Vise

The front vise or a face vise gets permanently clamped to the base of the workbench. The perfect use of such woodworking vises is when you are drilling holes in sawing the wood. The vise keeps the wood fastened.

A typical Face Workbench Vise Comes in a design with a wooden front jaw attached to a wide beam. The jaw is moveable. It slides in and out of a channel at the bottom of the jaw to make adjustments according to the wooden piece. The beam attached to the jaw keeps it steady while a wooden bench screw drives the jaw.

Tail Workbench Vise (or End Vise)

12 in Quick Release End Vise

This type of woodworking vise gets positioned at the end of the workbench, mainly towards the right-hand end. It holds the wood workpiece flat against the workbench. The woodworking vise typically uses bench dogs that are made a lot the length of the workbench.

Leg Workbench Vise

Pony 27091 9-Inch by 7-Inch Medium Duty Woodworker's Vise

The names of these woodworking vises are self-explanatory. They are all named according to the position they take on a workbench. For instance, the face vise gets positioned at the face or the front vise of the workbench.

Similarly, a tailor leg Workbench Vise is positioned at the end of the workbench. Finally, a Leg Workbench Vise takes its position at the tail of the workbench.

Engineer’s Vise

Yost LV-4 Home Vise

We can never finish discussing the woodworking vises and their types without engineer’s or machinist vise. This is one of the most frequently used woodworking vise today.

This work vise does not work like other woodworking vises. The difference lies in its working mechanism, where you do not clamp it to the workbench.

The engineer’s vise is made with cast iron, and you have to clamp it to a surface permanently. Thus, it does not allow frequent movements.

You can hold the objects between the jaws of the woodworking vise while you work on the wooden workpiece. However, be careful when placing the wood because the vise can damage the wood. So, you can buy wooden blocks to add or DIY your own to prevent any damage.

Engineer’s Vises are among the most versatile tools in a workshop. They are excellent for grip metallic objects. You may find others with a swivel action to rotate the clamped object and work at different angles. 

A few useful tips for using vises


A carpenter uses a lot of tools. They may be when compared with power tools like a circular saw or a table saw. But there are some hazards associated with their use as well.

So, as with other power tools, there are some tips that will help during the use of woodworking vises.

Before you begin using it, ensure that it gets tightly clamped to the post and there is no wobbly effect. Tighten the bolt appropriately to the workbench before you start your work.

Make sure the stationary jaw of the table is positioned a little outside the worktable. This way, there won’t be any obstruction caused by the long workpieces of wood.

Always ensure that the jaws of the vises are appropriately tight, neither too loose nor overly tight.

A common mistake is to over-tighten the vise. But this mistake can be a grave one because it can damage the vises and the wooden grains of the clamped workpiece.

Another issue involved with the above mishandling is accidental cracking of the vise material and heavy material falling on the floor. This can cause trouble to the user as well.

When starting to use the woodwork vise, make sure you have the face shield and goggles for protection.

Always make sure the vice railing is well-oiled to avoid any friction. If you are not sure how to lubricate the vise, here is a great source of information regarding vise lubrication.

Never try to repair the vise yourself. It might seem simple, but there might be many things that you might not know about.

Finally, always use good quality products and never compromise on the quality. After all, you will use them for a long time.


How many types of vices are there?

You will find two types of vises: yoke and chain. The chain vises use a chain whereas the yoke type vise uses a screw to grip the pipe.

What is the difference between fitting Vice and carpentry vice?

Most of the woodworking vises that you may find in the workshops get permanently clamped to the workbench for use. In this way, they are similar to metalworking vises.

The main difference between woodworking and a metal vise is that the former is clamped under the woodworking table instead of above it. At the same time, the top edge of the jaw in a woodworking vise is level with the workbench.

What is a table vise?

This is a convenient workpiece of equipment in a workshop. The tool is portable, so you can use it anywhere to clamp workpieces between its jaws.

What is the difference between a table vise or an engineer’s vise?

A table vise is portable so you can move it around the workshop and use it anywhere. Whereas the engineer’s vise is heavy, and you have to bolt it on the workbench.

Final Words

There are specific tools that are inevitable when you are a woodworker working in your workshop. One of them is a vise that keeps the material clamped to the table as you perform your various tasks.

The article highlights various vises commonly used in the workshops by carpenters and woodworkers. These vises differ based on their construction as well as use. You can get ample information from here if you are planning to buy a woodworking vise for yourself.

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