If you’re building a workbench then you’ll likely spend a lot of time pondering over which vices are going to suit you the best. There’s a lot of choice out there so it can be a big headache but whatever you opt for there’s one step that I definitely recommend you take.
Adding a suede lining to your vice jaw will add ‘bite’ and hold work more securely whilst the soft surface gives protection. It’s a simple change that can make a huge improvement and after spending all that time selecting and fitting it would be a shame to leave this out.
Suede, unlike shiny leather has a ‘grippy’ finish and if you can find the sort that is suede on both faces then it’ll be much easier to stick in place – contact adhesive is best for this and a nice old school one with the solvents in will be strongest (…I probably shouldn’t be saying that).
For a really stubborn grip I often line the mating surface as well as the vice jaw so that the work is sandwiched between two linings. If the front of your workbench is all in one plane like many traditional benches then you’ll want to consider one extra detail when doing this for your face vice or else it can have a negative effect.
Sticking a second suede piece to the face of your bench top means it will jut out and cause a void behind any clamped work that hangs out of the jaw. Even a small void will mean the area is unsupported and when you come to cut or work the wood you will likely find it vibrates a little.
To gain the benefit of the second piece of suede I always recess it in to the top instead of sticking it straight on. It doesn’t need to go in far, perhaps just half its thickness so that when you clamp and compress the suede it becomes flush with the wood either side and work can be fully supported regardless of its length.
Paying attention to this extra detail can make all the difference and ensure you’ll get the most out of your vice.