March 31, 2023

Furniture Makers

We Speak Furniture

Shop-Made Rocker Jaw

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Shop-Made Rocker Jaw

One simple board, cut into the shape of a seesaw, can make a huge improvement to your vise. It allows you to firmly hold tapered work and long, upright boards off to the side of the vise.

For a tapered piece, such as the leg shown here, place the rocker in the middle of the vise. The rocker will automatically rotate to match the leg’s taper as you tighten the vise.

For a long board, move the rocker to the end of the vise. As you tighten the vise, the front jaw will twist a bit—an unavoidable condition known as “racking.” The rocker compensates for racking and applies even pressure across the front face of the board. Without the rocker, you know what happens: As the vise racks, it only pinches the left edge of the board, and the board is free to rotate. Not good. The rocker neatly solves this age-old problem.

To make the rocker, you’ll need a board that’s about 1-3/4″ thick, as wide as your vise is deep and a little longer than your vise’s jaws. I made the curved portion 2-3/4″ dia., but there are no critical dimensions. Just draw the shape on the board’s edge and cut it out on a bandsaw.

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