Exchangeable protective jaws – Protect your workpiece and your vice!

Exchangeable clamping jaws and protective jaws for the vice

All DIYers know and use vices. With the help of a vice, a workpiece can be clamped between two jaws and processed. Usually one jaw is fixed to the vice and the other is manually adjustable with a crank.

Aluminium protective jaws with prismatic profile clamped in vice. An internal thread is drilled into the clamped workpiece with a tap

What are interchangeable jaws

In order to keep our vices as long as possible and not to damage our workpieces, there are -for protection- vices with protective jaws or protective jaws. These are also known as exchangeable or replaceable jaws.

GSR Info

are synonyms of interchangeable jaws:

  • Soft Jaws
  • Protective jaws
  • Interchangeable jawsRep
  • lacement jaws
  • Clamping jaws
  • Additional jaws
  • Attachable vice jaws

The most common form, however, is jaws.

Which material is available for soft jaws?

In today’s article we will take a closer look at interchangeable jaws. These have a magnetic strip on the underside and can therefore be attached to the vice easily, securely and non-slip. However, there are some that do not have a magnet and have to be fixed with screws. Soft jaws can be made of aluminium or plastic. The plastic version is cheaper and protects the workpiece. However, it is also more fragile. In addition, plastic soft jaws can be shortened as desired.

A popular material combination is the aluminium jaw with rubber profile.

GSR protective aluminium jaws with rubber profile in the sizes: 100 mm, 125 mm and 150 mm

Aluminium protective jaws with rubber profile

GSR protective plastic jaws with prismatic profile and magnetic strip

Plastic protective jaws

GSR protective aluminium jaws with only one prism profile in the sizes: 100 mm, 125 mm and 150 mm

Aluminium prisms jaws

In what sizes or lengths are available?

Schonbackan is most often available in the following lengths: 100 mm, 125 mm and 150 mm. The plastic Schonbackan jaws can also be cut to the appropriate length.

Which protective jaws are best suited?

The choice of material and profile of the protective jaws depends on the workpiece.

Plastic protective jaws: Clamped toggle between the plastic jaws

yellow plastic jaws with prism profile clamped in vice

What are the available jaw profiles?

There are countless profiles for the most diverse applications and workpieces. The following is an excerpt of the most important soft-jaw profiles:

Soft jaws with smooth surface

The smooth protective jaws are mostly used for machining fine and medium coarse workpieces.

Gentle jaws with longitudinal grooves and/or transverse grooves

Gripping jaws with grooves offer a higher holding force than smooth protective jaws.

Protective jaws with prisms

As the name suggests, protective jaws with prisms have notched prisms on the profile surface. These are particularly suitable when machining tubes, for example. For this reason they are often called pipe clamping jaws. In addition, elliptical workpieces can be machined with these special protective jaws. The notches prevent the workpiece from slipping off in any direction. In the following picture, you can see a clamped pipe. The prism surface holds the workpiece.


GSR Schonbacken aus Aluminium mit Prismenprofil und 90 Grad Absatz eingesapnnt im Schraubstock

Nahaufnahme des Seitenprofils der Schonbacken aus Aluminium mit Prismenprofil und 90 Grad Absatz eingesapnnt im Schraubstock

Nahaufnahme eines senkrecht eingespannten Rohres zwischen Alu-Prismen Schonbacken und Schraubstock

Protective jaws with rubber profile

In the case of aluminium protective jaws with rubber coating, the surface offers increased grip and allows very sensitive workpieces to be clamped gently, but still sufficiently firmly without leaving marks. The rubber-coated protective jaws are available with all possible surface patterns.

Nahaufnahmen der Schonbacken aus Aluminium mit Gummi-Profil im Schraubstock

Seitenansicht eines eingespannten Maschienengewindebohrers zwischen zwei Schonbacken aus Aluminium und Gummi-Profils im Schraubstock

Further special features: 90 degree heel for gentle jaws

In addition to the prism profile, some of the protective jaws have a 90 degree notch. This can be used in many ways. Among other things, this allows various types of workpieces to be clamped with only one pair of protective jaws. In our pictures you can see some examples.

Seitenansicht eines eingespannten Werkstückes zwischen zwei Schonbacken aus Aluminium und Gummi-Profils. Das Werkstück ist im 90 Grad Absatz der Schonbacken eingespannt.

Schonbacken in der praktischen Anwendung: Das werkstück ist zwischen den Schonbacken auf dem 90 Grad Absatz eingespannt, während ein Gewinde geschnitten wird.

Schonbacken-Anwendung: Das werkstück ist zwischen den Schonbacken auf dem 90 Grad Absatz eingespannt, während ein Gewinde geschnitten wird.

What should you pay attention to when buying protective jaws for vices?

Before buying soft jaws, you should measure the jaw width of your vise to find the right size for you. You should also think carefully about what you want to use the soft jaws for and then choose the right jaw profile. The soft jaws are always sold as a pair. Furthermore, it may be possible that some models with magnetic strips – which are used to fix the jaws to the vice – are not as strong. This is deliberately done by the manufacturer so that the chips can fall off without any problems.

You need protective jaws?

You can find protective jaws in our shop

Practical use of protective jaws

In our series of pictures you can see some examples for the use of protective jaws. Soft jaws – whether made of aluminium or plastic – are indispensable in a good workshop.

Soft jaw application: The workpiece was clamped in the protective jaws for soldering

Soft jaw application: During soldering

Soft jaws in use: tool holder clamped in vice with yellow plastic soft jaws

Soft jaw application: When assembling the tool holder with ratchet

Close-up of a vertically clamped tube between aluminium prisms, protective jaws and vice

Soft jaw application: vertically clamped tube

Soft jaw application: Close-up view of a clamped workpiece on the 90 degree shoulder of the jaws for countersinking

Soft jaw application: During lowering

Soft jaw application: Close-up of a walnut shell on the 90 degree heel of the jaws

Soft-jaw application: for cracking nuts

Close-up of the aluminium protective jaw profile in a vice

Close-up of the protective jaw profile


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