What Is A Quick-Release Feature In A Vise?

A quick release feature in a vise is a mechanism that allows you to quickly open the jaws of a vise without having to tediously crank the handle for a bunch of rotations. A quick release vise can be a tremendous time saver, particularly in high volume situations where you are taking items in and out of the vise at a high rate.

This quick release mechanism may also be called a quick-action vise or a cam action vise.

You can find a quick release on woodworking, machining, and metalworking vises.

You can create a quick release feature in a number of different ways, but the most common one uses something called a split nut. The nut holds the threaded screw at a certain point giving the vise a sort of “memory”.

The split nut can be made to release it’s grip on the lead screw by a lever or handle. Once release, you will be able to quickly slide your vise open, while the split nut remains in place. When you are ready to close your vise again, you close it to the point of the slip nut, at which point the nut reengages the lead screw locking the vise into place.

Lever Operated Quick Release For Vises

Some quick releases are engaged via a trigger or lever. When you pull on the lever, a loaded spring is connected to a bar that releases the nut and allows you to quickly move the vise jaws.

Handle Operated Quick Releases for Vises

Another mechanism for engaging the split nut is via a handle. Turn the handle one way to engage the nut, and turn it the other way to disengage. Other models may have you lifting the handle up to disengage the nut.

This model has you lifting up on a handle to release the split nut.

The exact mechanism can vary among vises, but most manufacturers are good at providing the details you need to understand how their vise works.

A vise with a different style of release mechanism.