best vice for shipyard

The Best Vice for a Shipyard in 2022

Shipyards are challenging places. Heavy equipment gets moved around, and giant cranes glide overhead carrying enormous sections of ships ready to be assembled. Nevertheless, new building yards have a sense of order about them. Ship sections wait in line to be welded up.

On the other hand, Ship Repair yards are a little less organized. So here we are dealing with on-the-spot repairs. Repairs that cover a broad spectrum of trades, and this is where the Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice excels. Our vices are built to effortlessly accept a wide array of workpieces and make working on them effortlessly efficient.

Claude Swinden developed and patented his vice almost one hundred years ago, and the swivel head vice has become the leading style of vice for most engineering practices.and certainly the best vice for a shipyard.

swindens - best vice for a shipyard

The benefits of the Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice.


Shipyard work covers almost every sector of engineering. From pipework to complex development and welding, they all require the assistance of a stable and secure helping hand. So let’s look at the factors that make the Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice the most sought-after vice in the Shipyard.

The most appreciated function on the Swinden vice is versatility. Workpieces can be positioned in the jaws and then maneuvered into any other orientation without resetting the workpiece in the jaws. This is a considerable time-saving feature and promotes greater efficiency on the job.

Together with the three hundred and sixty-degree swivel base, the swivel jaws can rotate the workpiece and position it accurately in any position. This applies to the vertical as well as the horizontal plane.

Workpieces that require to be turned around to improve access can be easily and quickly positioned. This feature has a tremendous advantage in allowing for healthy body posture of the artisan and reducing strain and fatigue.

Jaws that Secure Make Swindens the Best Vice for a Shipyard.

The Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice design includes jaws that offer tremendous holding power. We are talking of jaws that can deliver ten thousand pounds per square inch of pressure to ensure that the workpiece is totally secure.

The jaws designed for holding pipework can secure difficult to hold sections without slippage. What is so convenient is that the jaws can be rotated so that one set is used for conventional workpieces while the other jaws are ready to accept pipework.

The two jaw function means no delays while the vice jaws are replaced. Simply swivel over the jaws, and you are ready to work.

Super Tough Construction

The Swindens Heavy Duty Rotating Head Vice with a Heavy Duty Swivel Base incorporates an anvil in the design, which has proved to be a greatly appreciated feature. The Vice has been a preferred piece of equipment for the Department of Defence for many years and has established itself as an almost indestructible piece of essential equipment.

When Claude Swinden developed the Heavy Duty Swivel Vice, he was determined that the vice would have exceptional strength and longevity. Consequently, he relied on Ductile Cast Iron to provide superior strength for the vice. The molecular structure of  Ductile Cast Iron, also known as SG Iron, offers greater strength than conventional Cast Iron. An added advantage of this material compared to traditional Cast Iron is that it allows for closer machine tolerances. In addition, the smoothness of the vices’ movement bears testimony to the overall quality of the design.

Ductile Cast Iron also has a superior shock absorption quality, making for a far more comfortable working environment.

The Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice has a covered screw section that protects the inner workings of the Vice from external matter that would otherwise clog up the mechanism. This feature ensures a wonderfully smooth working operation and one that will last for years to come.

Vices are not renowned for their beauty, but the distinctive Yellow and Gray coating on the vice is both attractive and efficient in protecting the vice from corrosion.

A range of Vices to suit all requirements.

Shipyard work covers almost every discipline in engineering. For example, pipework, hydraulics, and pneumatics are standard shipbuilding and repair features. The specially designed pipe jaws of the Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice ensure that work in these spheres can be carried out efficiently and accurately.

One of the most appreciated aspects of the vice is the ability to rotate the workpiece without removing it from the jaws. This is a great advantage, particularly when welding up piping, as the pipe can be rotated while still being securely held in the jaws, allowing for a comfortable welding position.

Protection from surface damage to sensitive and delicate workpieces such as hydraulic rams is adequately provided for by utilizing the special nylon jaws available as an additional item.

There are three sizes of Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vices available.

The four-inch model can accept piping up to three inches in diameter and weighs 22 kilograms or forty-eight pounds.

The six-inch model can accept pipework up to five-inch diameter and weighs thirty-five kilograms or seventy-seven pounds.

The big guy of the trio is the eight-inch vice that can handle pipework up to a seven-inch diameter.

All the models can rotate through three-hundred and sixty degrees vertically. They all have cast steel anvils that are incredibly robust and have hardened steel jaws.


Buying a vice is usually a bit of a ‘grudge’ purchase. It is probably one of the most abused tools in the workshop. Subjected to hard knocks, welding, and grinding, it is expected to handle all of this without complaint. Excessive force will sometimes be applied to tighten the jaws way past their design, and the vice is expected to be up to the task.

The Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice has proved itself over decades of hard work in extreme temperatures and harsh conditions like the middle east conflicts to the taxing environments of North Sea oil exploration. History has shown that the design and development skills of Craig Swinden have stood the test of time and have produced a vice that provides a superior quality of service.

So no matter what engineering challenges the Shipyard can put up, the Swinden Heavy Duty Swivel Vice will be equal to the task. The response of companies that have installed our vices has proved that the versatility and toughness of the vice will improve speed and quality of workmanship in all Shipyard activities.

Why Swindens is the best vice for a shipyard.

Check our references:

Devonport Dock Yard

Faslane Scotland

Irwin Shipbuilders New Brunswick Canada

In all Babcock International workshops

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