A workbench vise is a device that is affixed to a workbench for the purpose of securing materials in place when those materials are being worked on or otherwise altered. The design of this vise can vary significantly depending on what types of materials it is designed to hold. Some vises are mounted to the top of the workbench, while others are mounted to the sides of the bench. Woodworking vises are often mounted on the side of the bench so the jaws of the vise sit flush with the workbench surface.
One of the most common types of workbench vise is the tabletop vise. This vise is mounted to the top of the workbench, and is usually made of steel. The size can vary depending on the user's needs, and the larger the vise is, the heavier it is likely to be. This aids in stabilizing items that are clamped in the vise. The jaws of the workbench vise in this case may feature teeth designed to further help stabilize the piece being clamped; the jaws may even feature slots designed to hold pipes or other round materials.
Another common type of workbench vise is the woodworking vise. The jaws of this type of vise are likely to be broader than tabletop models to avoid damaging the wood being clamped. The jaws will also be made of wood, though some are metal; if the jaws are metal, they are usually lined with wood to prevent marring of the clamped piece. It is likely that the woodworking vise will be affixed to the side of the workbench rather than to the top, and the jaws will be lined up flush with the top of the workbench. This allows for easier manipulation of the piece being worked on. It may also contribute to the added stability of the piece.
Most workbench vise designs feature some sort of screw mechanism to move the jaws inward toward each other or outward away from each other. In most cases, this screw is turned using a hand crank made of metal or wood. Sometimes the vise may feature a quick-release design that allows the user to move the jaws in or out without screwing the device; once the piece is lightly clamped, the screw mechanism can be used to do fine clamping adjustments. It is very easy to over-tighten a clamped piece and damage it, so the screwing of the vise should usually be done slowly.