View Full Version : Soft jaws, what's good?

01-08-2010, 12:36 PM
Aluminum, or brass? What's preferred. Functions of softness versus how well they'll stand up to metal forming. Any particular alloy of AL preferred? The only concern for AL is it's tendency to leave dark marks (minor concern.) I'll be forming and bending .25" O1 steel rod. Other than that, thoughts in general what do you prefer. (I know alot of you will answer BOTH !)



01-08-2010, 01:25 PM
I used Al for quite a while, but switched to mild steel a couple years ago... steel is way more durable, and cuts just as easily.

Mark Hockett
01-08-2010, 03:47 PM
I use about 80% aluminum jaws and 20% steel, not including the factory hard jaws, in both the lathe chucks and the mill vises. I buy 12' of stock at a time and split it between the two. Here are some examples of jaws I use,

01-10-2010, 04:37 AM
My softjaws are Al as I happened to have an L shaped extrusion sitting around that did the job. However, I have found that having the Al as thick as I have (around 3mm) is not good sometimes as when holding something like steel rod the Al will extrude away from the material if I really tighten the vice. I've never tried brass.
One source I read (can't remember what) did suggest that grinding off the serrations was a good idea as they were the main cause of marking.
If you are bending a lot of steel rod, have you considered making up some custom jaws complete with half rounds to clamp the material for your vice? This could be worthwhile as as well as providing good contact area for the material (less indentation/ flat spots), the half rounds will provide sideways stability - sometimes a problem when bending rod in a vice. (if you were cunning, you could probably insert the custom jaws with some hardenable material to preserve the clamping surface).


01-11-2010, 05:40 PM
I ended up making them out of brass. Keeping in mind general use plus the rod stock I'm working on now, I milled a shallow "V" slot on one of the jaws. Looking forward to using them.



Thanks all,