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Thread: Lining metal vise jaws

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
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    484

    Lining metal vise jaws

    For the life of me, i cannot find an affordable source of leather to line the jaws of my vise. I searched through a few threads here over the last decade and they all lauded the merits of vises lined with leather, but sadly none had a source for the material. Anyone have a source they would like to share? I have two emmert's i need to line. I could do poplar or cedar faces, but i want to see what all the hub hub is about with leather.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Hampton, GA
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    91
    I'm not sure there is such a thing as affordable source of leather. If I were going to try that, I'd probably chop up a leather belt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SF Bay Area
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    I bought a used woman's handbag at a garage sale and cut it up. -Howard

  4. #4
    Not leather, but I like rubberized cork, which you can get from McMaster. It's very durable and very grippy.

    McMaster calls it: Water-Resistant Low-Pressure Rubber/Cork Gasket Material. 1/8 works for me, but various thicknesses are available.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    A suburb of Los Angeles California
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    642
    It depends on your definition of affordable. At my local leathercraft store the owner also does custom leatherwork.
    As a result he has a bin of scrap leather for sale where $5 will buy enough to line vise jaws.
    AKA - "The human termite"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Western PA
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    Chuck, $5 is downright free. Not 'affordable' is $125+

    Guess im reaching out to some upholstery shops for scraps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Have an Amish or Mennonite community nearby? I've bought leather scraps here in TN for very cheap, thick, thin, flexible, whatever. Once I bought a big box full for $8. They also had larger "scraps" priced affordably by the piece.

    And they would cut leather to any size and shape I wanted for ridiculous prices. I once had a girt strap made for a mini donkey: three pieces, two ends with buckles to sew onto a blanket, the girth strap shaped nicely with belt-like ends with holes to fit the buckles, trimmed nicely and dyed black. Took him 5 minutes and he charged me $3 which included the leather and hardware.

    Where in Western PA are you? I grew up south of Pittsburgh on the banks of the Monongahela River, left in the late '60s to go south.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Crystal Lake, IL
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    81
    If you have the Hobby Lobby chain near you they usually stock bags of leather scraps that are useful for this sort of thing. I think I paid somewhere around $5 or $10 for the last bag I purchased there. I've also purchased cheap (<$20) leather welding aprons in the past -- they're basically big pieces of soft leather.

    --Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    322
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schocke View Post
    If you have the Hobby Lobby chain near you they usually stock bags of leather scraps that are useful for this sort of thing. I think I paid somewhere around $5 or $10 for the last bag I purchased there. I've also purchased cheap (<$20) leather welding aprons in the past -- they're basically big pieces of soft leather.
    Tandy Leather is another option for remnants. They have stores near Cleveland and near Pittsburgh, and also sell on-line.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    15,057
    I lined my vise with this last year. They're about 5/32 thick and holding up well so far.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Palm Springs, CA
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    915
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    I lined my vise with this last year. They're about 5/32 thick and holding up well so far.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Looks great. Nice looking vise as well !
    Dick Mahany.

  12. #12
    I ordered a veg tanned strap belly from Weaver Leather. It's an offcut from the bottom (belly) side of a hide and is very economical. They vary in exact dimension, but average 5-8" wide (mine had wider parts) and they are 7 to 8 feet long. They estimate them at 5-7 square feet total and it's $20.50 plus shipping, so less than $6/sq ft including the shipping. Nice leather. I had enough for two front vises with large wood chops, plus smaller leftovers to make sheaths for my timberframing chisels. I ordered the 7-8 oz thickness and felt I made the right choice.

    https://www.weaverleathersupply.com/...ellies/pr_4340

    Dave

    Leather lined front vise.jpg

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    2,992
    I use some cork flooring craps in my milling vise.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    702

    Leather Source

    I was able to get a 2' X 4' piece from my local shoe repair shop. It's probably 3/16" thick for leather shoe soles.

    It's been so long, I don't recall the price, but I would not have paid much.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    13,244
    Several years ago I was able to purchase about 6 pieces of leather from a local shop. They were about 24" by 18" each and cost me about ten bucks each. I use the leather for laser engraving.

    Another option for vise jaws is 1/4" thick PVC sheet. It's pretty soft much like leather and scraps are available for cheap. I can get PVC scraps by the truck load from a local company, sometimes for free other times for just a few bucks.

    I also pick up clear acrylic from a local frame shop, off-cuts cost about ten bucks, enough to fill up a large car trunk. I generally look for other companies cast-off materials in my local area and purchase in large quantities when its available.

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