If you’re a CNC machinist, an industrial worker, or a hobbyist, you’ve probably heard of soft jaws. These simple tools can help you achieve a level of precision that makes it possible to mill and bore ultra-precise holes in your workpieces. So, what are soft jaws? They’re simply inserts made from nylon or rubber that go inside your vise’s jaws. These jaws can be used with all kinds of vise grip fixtures, protect them from damage, or add features that are impossible with a standard hard jaw. They help you make tighter tolerances, hold more delicate parts, and prevent sliding while working on expensive items that require precision grinding and polishing. However, with different soft jaws available in the market, buying the right tool can be tedious – especially if you don’t have much time on hand. To make the buying decision easier for you, we’ve collected some of our favorite soft jaws for vise in 2022 that’ll help you complete all tasks quickly and efficiently.
Buyer's Guide: Finding Your Quality Soft Jaws For Vise
Choosing the right soft jaws for your vise is an important decision. After all, you use your vise to hold parts for drilling and tapping, working with small parts, and grinding. Without quality soft jaws, you could damage your workpiece or lose precision. But how do you know which soft jaws are right for you? We’re here to help! Here’s a quick guide that’ll help you choose the right soft jaws for your needs.
Why Are Soft Jaws for Vise Necessary?
One of the most overlooked tools in a machine shop is the vise. Yet, it plays a critical role in holding parts of your workpiece. The problem with vises is that the jaws are made of hardened steel. As such, they can damage parts during clamping. The best solution is to use soft jaws for vise when machining any part. A soft jaw is simply a piece of plastic or rubber that fits over the vise jaw and protects the surface of the workpiece from damage. In addition to protecting your workpieces from scratches or dents, they keep the smaller piece from falling out of place. They also help to reduce the vibration and make it easier to grip cylindrical items or other awkward shapes without having to find another way to secure them in place.
What Are Soft Jaws for Vise Made Of, and Why Does That Matter?
Jaw faces come in many different materials. The most common are TPU material, synthetic rubber, and nylon. Let’s compare these three options to determine which is best for you.
TPU material is a type of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (don’t worry about the fancy name – it’s just plastic). TPU material is very durable but rigid and not very elastic. It will not wear out quickly from clamping and unclamping, which makes it ideal for repetitive operations. Because of its rigidity, it will hold your workpiece more securely than softer materials. Plus, it is resistant to temperature changes, holds up well to abrasion, and has very good dimensional stability.
Synthetic rubber is exactly what it sounds like – a synthetic version of the natural rubber that comes from trees. Synthetic rubber jaws are much more flexible than TPU material or nylon jaws and will conform to almost any workpiece shape. Although they hold parts in place without marring them, they also lose their clamping force more easily. It also isn’t very durable when working with very hot parts or abrasive materials. On the plus side, they are available in different thicknesses, so you can easily choose the one according to your tool and your project.
Nylon is also another strong material, but it has the added benefit of being flexible and lightweight. The main advantage of using these materials is that they can be easily molded into any shape for your application. They don’t rust like metal does and will not break if dropped on a hard surface. They also have better wear resistance than other materials such as aluminum which is why they’re used in many industrial applications where durability is important.
Keep These in Mind While Buying Soft Jaws for Vise
Here are a few things you have to take into consideration before buying soft jaws for vise:
From standard 4″ size to 6″, these jaws are available in a range of options. It is very important that your jaws fit well in your vise; otherwise, you will have trouble clamping your parts properly in place. Before buying, you must measure the size of your vice grip, then choose a jaw that matches its size compatibility.
The design of soft vise jaws can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. You can choose between serrated and non-serrated jaws, depending on your needs. Generally speaking, serrated ones are recommended for soft materials because they have a better grip. Apart from edges, you should pay close attention to the back pattern of the jaws. For example, if you want to clamp a cylindrical workpiece in place, you will have to go for soft jaws that have V grooves on their surface so that they can hold round workpieces firmly in place without any problems. Other jaws in the market come with an innovative reinforced diamond pattern and offer exceptional grip and clamping capability. Make sure that you get one that has a functional design for your specific needs!
A good pair of soft jaws should have magnets inserted at the base so that they can stick firmly in the vise without falling off or moving around while working. This way, you won’t have to fumble around looking for nuts and screws to bolt down to your machine. Additionally, it will help prevent inaccuracies in the final product.
ALTIN Soft Jaw is the perfect jaw for holding small parts and increasing your productivity. The jaws are designed with a serrated teeth pattern that increases the grip strength and allows you to work with a different type of item. These jaws are made with heavy-duty nylon that won’t mar the surface or lose its shape after constant use. Weighing just 7 ounces, it’s one of the lightweight jaws on the market right now that’s more than capable of handling any job without adding unnecessary bulk or weight. More importantly, these jaws can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, so you can easily fix them at optimal positions.
It fits any standard vise, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’ll work with the equipment you already own. Plus, it comes with 3 neodymium magnets that are embedded into each jaw to ensure a powerful grip on your workpiece.
The next soft jaw on our list is from Horusdy, which is synonymous with comfort and quality. These non-marring soft pads have exceptionally sturdy TPU material to ensure that your workpiece will be protected from scratches and dings, no matter how many times you use these jaws. It features a high-density grain reinforced design that increases its stability and enhances the grip level. It won’t slip or move in any way while you are working on those delicate or intricate designs.
The soft rubber pads are compatible with all types of metal, wood, or plastic, making them very versatile. This ensures you will be able to use them for virtually any application. Available in 6″ size, these jaws have a universal shape to fit most vises. The best thing is that they have high steel forging holes drilled in them for bolting to the vise, so you won’t have to fumble with screws and nuts.
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you know how important it is to have the right tools for the job. That’s why Trisense has designed its soft vise jaws with the precision and attention to detail that professionals demand. These jaws are made from high-quality aluminum and feature a protective coating that ensures that your materials will not be damaged by the jaws. This is extremely important when you are working with delicate materials such as glass, ceramic, or polished stone. The jaws are also equipped with rubber padding to reduce vibration, which will ensure that your work does not suffer from chipping or cracking.
Additionally, these awesome vise jaws are compatible with any standard 4″ vise and have a special V-shaped design to protect round and hex parts while clamping. Just like other products on our list, these soft jaws are embedded with magnets to enhance their gripping strength and hold it firmly in place. With these babies, you never have to worry about getting your workpiece damaged again. Instead, you can focus on what matters: creating incredible pieces of art that will last for generations!
Made with heavy-duty aluminum and rubber padding
String embedded magnets for extra strength
Fits the most standard vise of 4″
The magnets are not properly flush against soft jaws
If you’re looking for a strong, versatile tool that can grab and hold almost any surface, you’ve found it. Ion Tool’s Soft Vise Jaws are designed to work with both round and flat surfaces. The jaws are made from soft, durable TPU material that can be easily cut to size for whatever project you’re working on. It features an innovative diamond design pattern for maximum clamping power and strong magnets in each corner for easy installation.
Most importantly, the TPU material won’t mar your product, so it’s perfect for projects that need to look their best. These strong jaws are extremely versatile and can be attached to any standard 6″ vise, clamps, drill press, and more. This means that you can purchase one set of ION Tool’s soft jaws and use them with your entire collection of tools rather than having to buy another set of vise jaws every time you get a new tool. They are perfect for holding, clamping, and positioning round or irregular-shaped components, including wood, plastic parts, PVC pipe, and steel.
Can be used for different tools, including vise, drill press, clamps, and more
Durable TPU material with a hard-wearing surface
Innovative diamond pattern for enhanced grip
Not appropriate for delicate projects
People Also Asked
Q: Can I use the soft jaws vise for gripping irregular shapes?
A: Yes absolutely! Soft jaws can be reused for different sized parts, making it easy to swap workpieces quickly and efficiently without buying new vise jaw sets for every job or changing out your standard steel jaws between every setup.
Q: How long do vise soft jaws last?
A: With proper use, you can expect to get three or four uses out of one pair before replacing them.
Q: What is the best material for soft jaws for vise?
A: You should choose one made with proprietary, highly durable rubber material and designed to hold up to the rigors of repeated use in a machine shop environment.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.