A home made pattern makers vise…

Guitar repair viseOne of the most versatile tools in a luthier’s workshop is a pattern makers vise. Also marketed under the name “Guitar Repair Vise”.

With their swiveling jaws they can be used to clamp and hold irregular shaped and tapered objects, like guitar necks.

They are great, but quite expensive, especially when you add postage fees and import taxes. There are alternatives available, but the quality varies and they are hardly cheaper. But here is a little secret:

Something that was created by humans can also be re-created by humans…

In an attempt to make as many tools for the shop myself, I decided to give it a try. The first step to bake something is to gather the ingredients, so I scrounged up some parts.

PartsAt first sight they don’t look like it, a nose-wheel from an old trailer, the door of a tv chest, two legs from an oak side table and various pieces of salvaged hardware.

The two table legs were cut to make the posts on which the jaws are placed. The sides of the little door became the sliding rails. The nose-wheel provided the thread and bolt that forms the spine…


Simple but effective…

In use


This entry was posted in Projects, Research, Think different, Tools, Uncategorized, Woodworking, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A home made pattern makers vise…

  1. onofre garcia says:

    Can i ask for a step by step way to make this pls love you guys


  2. darinmolnar says:

    You are a Maker after my own heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. amarlow says:

    Brilliant! I love that it’s your Fender clamped up for demo purposes. Of course, I have a few questions…
    1. Is the base afixed to the bench top in some way?
    2. Is the base as thick/tall as it is for some particular reason? Perhaps this puts the guitar at the right height for you? I am wondering if the base could be quite thin/short indeed, lowering the vise, and allowing the front and rear lower edges of your repurposed stiles to rest on the bench, for more stability.
    3. For what did you use the wing nuts (in image32)?
    4. Say the nose wheel screw moves in the x-direction. Could you modify your design to pivot the vise in the y-z-plane? possible with a large bolt through the thick base? would there be any value to you as a luthier, ie. being able to roll the jaws of your guitar repair vise to the left or right?

    Great inspiration, this. Thank you, Jan.


    • Hi Allan,

      1. The base is affixed to the bench top with a vise that goes through that same top.
      2. The base is so tall because the ‘normal’ pattern makers/gunstock vises are this tall. If it was lower it wouldn’t be as versatile as it is now. It also brings the work up to a good height when I’m working on my lower bench, and for detail work on my taller bench.
      3. The wing nuts are to secure the vise to the bench top.
      4. I sometimes use it on the Y-Z-plane by securing it to the front leg of the workbench, but those instances are rare. It’s often easier to clamp something down to the benchtop with a glue clamp.


  4. Ian Robinson says:

    Hi there. Any chance you have plans for the vise? Thanks, Ian.


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