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Looking for advice and opinions about the best material to cover the metal jaws of my vise to hold machined engine and gearbox parts firmly without damage.

My metal vise jaws have a ribbed or waffle print, and I assume they are steel, so they cut and leave marks on machined part surfaces.

I have tried using smooth polyurethane shims (between the part and the vise jaws), but they don't always hold the parts tightly, especially round ones.

At this point I'm thinking about finding some lead sheet, about 1/8" thick, and covering the vise jaws with that, but I have also heard that thick leather or rubber can work too.

There are several "off the shelf" magnetic copper and aluminum vise shims available online, but rather than continuing to buy things that may or may not work, I was hoping that you guys could tell me what has worked for you.

My current need is for something that will allow me to hold a transmission gear steady, without damaging the teeth (while I remove and replace the large spring clips and internals), but I also need to secure a machined shaft from time to time.

What materials have you used to cover your vise jaw faces that (a) did not damage machined surfaces, and (b) still held the work securely?

Urethane?
Polyurethane?
Aluminum?
Copper?
Leather?
Rubber?
Lead?
 

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I have always used copper since my days of High School metalwork class - 50 years ago. Old exhaust gaskets will often be sufficient.
 

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I have pieces of aluminum bar stock drilled and split to hold round shafts in sizes from 1/4 in to 2 in. or so. They hold tighter than any other method I have tried.
I also made a set of jaws for my Wilton bullet vise from O-1 tool steel unhardened and ground. They will not mar steel parts if you don't crank down on them.
Bob
 

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If you don't want to spend money,try pennies,literally.I've read that they have been used in milling vises,where the work has to be very secure. But here's a thought;for what you're doing,couldn't shim material,ie,copper/aluminum be used in a bearing splitter(no marr!!) to hold the gear,and then arrange that in the vise or clamp it to a table?You're going to need one anyway? To hold a shaft in a vise,aluminum split collars are fairly inexpensive and can be had in many sizes...?? Just my two cents
 

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I have and you can buy magnetic caps that slip over the jaws to various sized vices, 4", 5". They are made with rubber pads that allow you to grab and hold onto most anything without marring the piece you are working on. The beauty of these is they don't fall off when you release the vice to remove your working piece and you're guaranteed to not cause any damage.
 

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I have and you can buy magnetic caps that slip over the jaws to various sized vices, 4", 5". They are made with rubber pads that allow you to grab and hold onto most anything without marring the piece you are working on. The beauty of these is they don't fall off when you release the vice to remove your working piece and you're guaranteed to not cause any damage.
They are about $12 at Home Depot or Lowes and they are great for parts that do not have to be gripped tightly.
 

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This is a totally different idea. What I do is take some tubing (not garden hose) but a decent tube by the foot from Home Depot that has an ID about the same size as each jaw. Cut to length and push it on. Very tight. Then when done, cut it off.

Been working for me for years.
 

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I use cardboard from a box. Probably wouldn't work if a lot of force was required, but works well for most delicate stuff.
 
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