Recently I started making small boxes that required cutting some small parts on my band saw. Some of the parts were small and I didn’t feel comfortable getting my fingers close to a moving blade to finish the cut. I have been injured in the past by a wood cutting blade (table saw) and trust me, it’s a nasty thing to go through. So I figured I needed some way of remotely holding a part while cutting safely and came up with a flat profile vise that works perfectly for cutting small parts on the band saw. In addition to using it with the band saw, it can be used for holding parts on my drill press table for more accurate drilling. Most likely I will find other ways to use this vise. Below are some pics showing it’s construction.
The vise is simple enough to construct, consisting mainly of 4 blocks of 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ maple trimmed and drilled to size. The handle is a 5/8″ hardwood dowel which is shy of the rest of the 3/4″ stock material. My goal was to have a vise that would lie flat on the work table, holding a small part and be able to easily and safely guide it through the bandsaw blade.
Eventually I made two of the vises with the picture above being the first one. You will notice in that pic that the threaded shaft is off center of the block that engages the hold on a part. I designed it that way figuring that it would apply more pressure towards the top of the block. Come to find out that while advancing or retracting the block it had a tendency to rack so I would have to push the block back or forward a bit. Not a big deal but annoying. Building the second one I centered the threaded rod and guide bars, which worked much better.
Here is the vise shown on the band saw in position for cutting a small part. Even if the part is taller than the vise, the leather strips glued and trimmed to the vise blocks holds the part firmly and I can guide the part through the blade effortlessly.
Here is what is looks like on my drill press. It’s not dead on accurate like a sliding cross vise but for some woodworking operations it works great, especially for small parts. An optional rear block with a 45 degree cut into it to hold odd shapes would be an option.
I have found this vise a valuable addition to the shop. I would appreciate it if anyone would like a detailed dimensional plan to build one of these to let me know in a comment.