A welding vice is an incredibly useful tool for any welder. Welding vices will hold the project that you are working on steady so that it does not slide away from you. Some welders use vices to hold their welding guns. This allows them to simply turn larger projects as needed or run them through the flame rather than trying to do both with only two hands. And it saves them from the worry of the welding gun possibly slipping or being dropped.
If you need a durable and portable welding vice but cannot find one, why not make one? If you have some scrap material lying around, you can easily make your own portable vice.
For the base you need 2” x 2” x 3/16” angle iron. You will want to weld it together in order to make a rectangle. Both ends of the slot opening, located in the middle of the welding vice base, need to be the same distance apart. Do not just eyeball it. Measure so that you can be sure. This will make the movable jaw easily slide on the base.
For your fixed jaw, you can use 2” x 4” x 3/16” angles that are welded together. Weld them to one of the base's ends and have the 4” piece facing up and towards the inside of the base.
Now you need the sliding jaw. It is made from the same size pieces and welded together. The sliding jaw should be on the base with the 4” ends facing each other. At the bottom of the sliding jaw you should put two 1” square by 1/4” thick steel pieces. These will act as guides and keep the jaw from jamming when you slide it back and forth. There needs to be about 1/8” space between the base frame and the outside of the guide. This lets the jaw slide on the guides. Now take a piece of steel that is 1” x 1/8” and cut it to extend onto the base sides by about 1” on either side. Weld it to the guide pieces. This is what will hold the jaw to the base and allow it to slide.
Now you will need something to move the sliding jaw. Drill a 5/8” hole in a piece of steel that is 1/4” by 2” wide. Over one side of the hole weld a 5/8” nut and then clamp it to the end in the middle of your base across from the fixed jaw. Now close the jaws and put a 5/8" threaded rod through the hole, place a piece of angle iron that is about 2” x 2” x 3/16” and 2” wide on the outside of the sliding jaw where it is met by the rod and make a box. The rod should be aligned through the base's center and you should mark the spot on the box where the rod meets. Now drill a 5/8” hole for the rod. Unclamp the piece that has the nut and thread a 5/8” nut about 1 inch on the rod and put the rod through the new hole. Add another 5/8” nut on the opposite side. Close the nuts, leaving a space of about 1/16” between the angle iron and the nuts. This will make sure the rod can spin freely. The nuts should be tacked to the rod only. Now put it on the base with the angle iron end on the sliding jaw, which forms a box. The flat piece that has the nut should be clamped to the base end and then both pieces welded.
Need a handle? You can take an old valve handle from something like a 4” gate valve and add it to the end of the threaded rod. This should be easy to turn when you are wearing welding gloves. You'll have a vice that is useful and durable when you finish.
This is just one example of making your own welding vice. You can use whatever scrap materials you have that you feel would work and you can adjust them to make any size vice you need.