Disposable Soft Jaws
© Frank Ford 2005; Photos by FF

About a year ago I was looking at a box of scrap headed for the dumpster at a shop that was making some kind of flat aluminum gizmo. I picked up about a hundred of these 3/16" thick aluminum cutoffs that were just over 6 inches long. Every so often I've used one, but I was starting to question whether I was wasting my own shop space storing these little pieces.

Last week I had a tiny inspiration, and clamped them ten at a time in my mill vise and straightened up one edge:


Then I flipped them over and cut a recess in the other edge that would be a tight fit against the bottom of my 6" vise:


Now, I have a whole bunch these cool little soft jaw plates that index nicely into the vise:

They're quick and easy to set up and I can machine and dedicate pairs of them to an individual projects that I find myself repeating from time to time.

I also made some for the 4" swivel vise I use on my little Rusnok mill. Here's a pair in action:

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