Wedge Keeps Vise from Racking
Even a high-quality bench vise will rack a little when a workpiece is clamped on one side and the opposite side is left empty. A common fix is to insert a spacer in the empty side to match the thickness of your stock. But this means you need several spacers of different sizes or an adjustable deck of shims.
Instead, I use a hard-maple wedge to support the open end of the vise. I add a lip that registers it level and keeps it from dropping to the floor. A pair of wedges, one narrow and one thick, will provide support for a wide range of stock thicknesses.
To make the wedges, start with stock that is 1-3⁄4 in. thick by 8 or 9 in. long. I cut the wedges at the bandsaw, making one that tapers from 1-3⁄4 in. wide to 1 in., and a second that goes from 1 in. to 1⁄4 in. On each, I glued a cap of 5⁄16-in.-thick by 2-in.-wide stock to serve as the lip.
Use a handplane or sander to clean up the sawcuts. Soften the edges, and the wedges are done.
To use, clamp a board in the side of the vise with just enough pressure to keep it from falling. Now push the wedge in as far as it will go and snug up the vise.
Chris Gochnour, Murray, UT