Jerry’s Wood Carving Vise

Jerry's Carving Vise
Jerry’s Carving Vise

This wood carving vise was inspired by an article in Wood Carving Illustrated Issue #5, titled “Build the 1797 carvers vice” and was the winner of the 1998 Poor Man’s Contest.

My version of this vise is a little more costly than $17.97, but the additions are worth the extra expense.

I use this vise for all my “in the round” carvings.

Details and Features

If you look at the plans for the 1797 carvers vise you will see that my vise is almost the same, but there are some subtle differences.

  • The Handle is spring loaded and can be re-positioned at will while maintaining a secure hold on your project.
  • Positioning notches have been cut into the pivot side of the TEE thus ensuring your project will not move, even while doing light mallet work.
  • It is painted a lovely Hunter’s Green, to match the decor of our dining room.

How to use

Portable Mounting Base
Carving Vise – FLexable

The use of the vise is pretty self-explanatory, the eyebolt is tightened by the spring loaded handle that puts pressure on the swing arm, keeping it secured in one of the positioning notches. To move your carving project forward or backward, simply loosen the handle and rotate the arm to the desired notch. Also as you move the arm you can rotate the pivot arm giving you 360-degree access to your project.

Carving Vise - FLexable
Carving Vise – flexible

By mounting Jerry’s Carving Vise on a portable workbench like shown in these pictures, you can take your favorite hobby anywhere you can carry your caving tools. When visiting friends at their lake cottage I just take my vise and C-clamps to use with their picnic table or deck railing. This vise also works well if you like camping, or visiting your favorite park.

How to build Jerry’s Carving Vise

My version of the “Poor Mans Carving Vise” comes with a larger price tag than $17.97, at $31.76. But I find it meets my needs and is far less than those manufactured models that sell between $75.00 and $200.00!
(I have included links at the bottom)

All materials can be purchased from your local hardware store and the handle is ordered online from Carr Lane Mfg. See the link below for how to purchase the spring loaded handle.  Make sure you order the correct size of the handle as they have a few options. I used “Size-3” 5/16-18 M10 model, but you will want the size that fits your eyebolt.

A list of the parts can be found with the plans for the 1797 carvers vise and below is what I used.

Note: One word of advice is to weld the eyebolt closed as it can spread apart.

  • 1″ Black Iron TEE
  • 1″ x 6″ Black Iron nipple
  • 1″ pipe flange (galvanized or black Iron)
  • 5/16″ eye bolt
  • 6″ x 3/8″ Black Iron nipple (Swing arm)
  • 3/8″ Pipe cap
  • 1″ x 3/8″ black Iron bushing
  • 5/16″ Carr Lane Spring loaded handle (part# CL-5-AH-3)
  • Mounting board of your choice (I used a scrap 2×6)
  • Miscellaneous screws

Links to for purchase carving vises

Happy Carving

14 thoughts on “Jerry’s Wood Carving Vise”

  1. How do you secure the eyebold to the handle stud…with a coupling nut ? Comments on metal bonding epoxies that create a “weld” vs. an actual molten weld.

  2. I built one of these this weekend with my Father-in-law. Very cool. We did make an improvement. In addition to the pipe flange at one end, we added a 1″-8 tpi thread at the other end of the carving arm so that standard lathe mounts could be added. Which is great since I like to carve my bowls after they come off the lathe.

  3. Thanks for the solution to the problem I have been wrestling with… to poor for a Jerry-Rig! I can hardly wait to build this and get really into my carving!What is the movement problem Don Dailey spoke of?

    Again thanks,

  4. Nancy,
    The movement problem is that head of the arm does not swivel like that of the Jerry-Rig you mentioned. I have yet to find the solution that Mr. Dailey spoke of.
    Good luck with your carving vise. I use mine all the time.
    You can contact Don from the link he posted.
    Best Regards,

  5. I was not able to download the plans for the 1797 carvers vise , anyway you could send them to me.

  6. I’ve built the poor mans vice, the issue I’m having is the rod turns inside the eyebolt will not stay secured. If I’m using a mallet and cutting from the side the rod rotates, any suggestions on how to secure it? I’ve tried using an 80 grit piece of sand paper but it only works for a short time.


  7. Any suggestions on how to get a copy of the Wood Carving Illustrated Christmas 1998 article about building the 1797 poor man’s carving vise? Many thanks from a newbie carver who’s excited to build one. I appreciate it!

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