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.

I use this vise for all my “in the round” carvings, because it is inexpensive, ease of use and is portable.

Oh, and did you catch it is cheap and easy to make!

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 insuring 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 dinning 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 - FLexable

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, but watch out for children picking up your sharp carving tools.

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 then 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. and you can click here for the adjustable handle information. Make sure you order the correct size of 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 advise 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


  1. art yeager Said,

    February 3, 2010 @ 7:46 am

    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. admin Said,

    February 5, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

    I took my eye bolts to the local welding shop. It only cost me $5.00 and it works great.

  3. carving vice - Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board Said,

    December 28, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    [...] Re: carving vice Try this site for a picture: The BLOG of Jerry Hartzell | Woodcarving on a Budget – Jerry's Carving Vise | The BLOG of Jerry Hart… [...]

  4. Don Dailey Said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    I have found another solution to the “movement” problem. So far it seems to be working.

  5. Don Dailey Said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    Sorry, forgot the link… my blog (

  6. Derrick Said,

    April 13, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    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.

  7. graphicgranny Said,

    February 13, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    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,

  8. admin Said,

    February 14, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

    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,

  9. Melody Dees Said,

    April 12, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

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

  10. Poor Man's Vise Help - Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board Said,

    May 1, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

    […] threads in the archives. One of these might help you. Claude [edit] Here's the direct link:…-vise/#more-30 [/edit] __________________ My ETSY shop: Claude's Wood Carving My WCI Gallery Last edited […]

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