Home Made Pen Vise

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Project by hoss12992 posted 11-24-2013 01:18 AM 6534 views 18 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have had several folks ask me about alot of the jigs that I use in my shop. So I thought I would do a series of post with some of them that I use ALOT. Like most folks, when I started turning pens, I bought a pen vise, and it finally gave up the ghost about 5 years later. Rather than spending another $50 and wearing another store bought vise out in time, I thought I could build a better one, and last much longer.

This vise aint purdy, but works like a charm. It is REALLY easy to build, and having seen several LJers either starting to turn pens or wanting too, this is a must. DONT SPEND $50 on a store bought vise, make yours! A couple scrap pieces of 2”x4” and a small scrap piece of 1”x4”. Set your table saw on 45 degrees and cut a V into the center of a 2×4 and 1×4. Drill out a couple of 1/4” holes in the 2×4 and 1×4. Then in the 1×4, go back and drill the 1/4” hole with a 5/16” bit and make the hole a wee bit bigger. A couple of 1/4” carriage bolts and I used 2 nice nobs to make things easier to tighten and loosen. Ended up with just a few dollars in this and have been using it for about 8 years. Occasionally I use this vise for other things besides drilling out pen blanks. This type of jig has several advantages that some of the store bought ones dont. It allows some wiggle room to set odd shaped pieces in it to drill out, aka deer antlers and odd shaped pieces of wood. Not everything I put in this vise is nice and square and straight. Hope this helps someone out

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

22 comments so far

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 4004 days

#1 posted 11-24-2013 01:31 AM

Nothing like a shop built jig ,very satisfying when they work better then a bought one .
Now is this jig bolted to or clamped to the table .
Looks good and the price is right .
Thanks Buddy I like it .

-- Kiefer

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3230 days

#2 posted 11-24-2013 01:43 AM

Thanks buddy, I dont bolt or clamp it to table when Im using it. Just hold it with one hand. Never have a problem with it. I like being able to move it around to line up the bit perfectly. If I were to ever have a problem holding it, I can put a router rubber mat under it, and it def would not move.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Mike's profile


139 posts in 3378 days

#3 posted 11-24-2013 02:03 AM

Nice idea! And a $$ saver too!

-- A person of integrity never speaks of it...he walks in it...

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4912 days

#4 posted 11-24-2013 02:18 AM

Good job brother.
I like yours waaay better then the store bought ones !

View doubleDD's profile


10926 posts in 3380 days

#5 posted 11-24-2013 02:20 AM

I like when simple jigs make life simple. I’m with you.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Cedar Furniture Lodge 's profile

Cedar Furniture Lodge

824 posts in 3609 days

#6 posted 11-24-2013 02:28 AM

That’s good ol red neck ingenuity right there LOL. great job buddy. I just might have to make one of those.

-- "The Cedar King"

View woodify's profile


351 posts in 3409 days

#7 posted 11-24-2013 02:54 AM

I like it. Why buy when you can build!

-- Woodify ~~

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5403 days

#8 posted 11-24-2013 03:36 AM

Nice tip. I’ve been using a store bought jig for the past 10 years, but I may build one for when my “gives up the ghost” like yours. Thanks for the idea.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View mariva57's profile


666 posts in 3341 days

#9 posted 11-24-2013 05:26 AM

Small jigs, but great results. Compliments.

-- The common man thinks. The wise man is silent. The stupid man discusses.

View tonybrews's profile


145 posts in 3380 days

#10 posted 11-24-2013 05:47 AM

Love it Hoss, I’ve got one almost exactly like it. Works pretty darned good too. I went out and got the pen blank jaws for my lathe and so far, EVERY hole has came out perfect. Biggest problem I’ve had on the drill press is acrylic cracking when the bit gets to the bottom. Had to cut blanks longer and not drill all the way, then trim to size. This is no longer an issue on the lathe.

-- Tony, Colorado, [email protected]

View Carl W Richardson's profile

Carl W Richardson

79 posts in 3831 days

#11 posted 11-24-2013 12:01 PM

Great design Hoss.. I will have to make one like that to replace the home-made pen vice I made several years ago and now is in serious need of replacement before I ruin another pen blank and embed the old jig in one of my shop walls…

I also like Tonybrews idea about using a pen chuck on the lathe. My drill press is older than I am and suffers from worn bearings (kinda like me)—accuracy is nominal at best..

-- Carl W Richardson, Tennessee Woodworker

View Tooch's profile


2016 posts in 3213 days

#12 posted 11-24-2013 12:20 PM

nice jig! it’s always fulfilling when you make a jig like this yourself, and save $$ too

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View BusterB's profile


2365 posts in 3345 days

#13 posted 11-24-2013 01:32 PM

Nice one Hoss… I dont ever see myself having the patience to turn pens but can see that sweet little DP vice you built could have some other very practical applications. If you get a chance, could you send me (or post) a pic of the back side of it….think I grasp the concept but you know me…if there is any way possible to make building one of these harder than it needs to be…i’ll find it…lol A well deserved top three buddy.

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View waho6o9's profile


9134 posts in 3914 days

#14 posted 11-24-2013 03:18 PM

Your great vise would be a nice addition to the “Vises of your dreams” thread
started by AirFramer, Eric.

Thanks for sharing Hoss

View TheDane's profile


6029 posts in 5000 days

#15 posted 11-24-2013 04:27 PM

Good solution! Those manufactured jigs are way too expensive.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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