Make a smart vise jig part 1: Clamping taper parts in a bench vise

Over a year ago I had to clamp three tapered table legs in a vise for planing. Anyone who has had to clamp tapered parts in a vise knows that you must support the part with a wedge that matches the part's angle. In most cases one uses a scrap wedge, perhaps a leftover from the initial shaping of the part on the band saw, etc.  Dealing with wedges, I began to think about the possibility of making a universal wedge support that could accommodate a variety of angles. My inspiration came from a Wilton woodworking vise that has an adjustable jaw which can pivot right or left to match the workpiece exact angle in perfect fit. 

Picture 1: Wilton's adjustable vise and the tapered table leg

I started sketching different elaborate contraptions made from wood, metal or even plastic. I figured that this new jig could be an after-market item that you (or I ) can buy and install on our vise's jaw to transform a parallel movement vise into an adjustable angle vise.

Here are some of my sketches…

Sketch 1: A proposed aluminum or cast iron jaw that can be affixed to an axillary jaw wood and be placed in between the vises parallel jaws.

Sketch 2: Here the new after market jaw receives a dedicated socket base that allows it to pivot.  By connecting the socket base to one of the vise's parallel jaws we ensure that the adjustable jaw will stay in its center location while we operate the vise.

Sketch 3: And here a rubber band secures the adjustable jaw. 

Next time I will show the jig I built and used. 

American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.