When using a tap or die to cut new threads or clean up old ones in certain small components, it sometimes is better to hold the tap or die in a vise instead of the part being threaded. Otherwise, the part might be damaged or distorted if clamped in a vise tightly enough to remain steady during the threading operation. But even a tap or die isn’t entirely secure when gripped in a vise; the jaws only hold it in two planes, allowing either tool to easily tilt side-to-side while the work is being performed. And in the case of a die, if the jaws of the vise are drawn up too tightly, the die can be slightly pinched, possibly causing the resulting threads to be poorly cut.
None of these issues arise if you use this innovative Tap & Die Vise Block (part #GT-011; $64.95) from Graham Tool Co. (www.grahamtool.com). It consists of two identical halves made of black-anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, each with two v-shaped grooves and two three-sided cutouts, one large and one small, machined into each half. On the backside of each piece are a powerful neodymium (rare earth) magnet and four small tabs at the corners. The tabs allow the blocks to be positioned squarely with the jaws of the vise, and the magnets hold the blocks firmly against the jaws.
When the two halves are clamped face-to-face in a vise, the mating v-grooves form square slots, and the three-sided cutouts become hexagonal pockets. The slots capture the square ends of all the taps found in most standard threading sets; the two hex pockets and even the large square slot in the middle will grab both hex and round dies of all normal sizes with equal security. The block can be held in a vise either vertically or horizontally, depending upon which direction helps make the work more convenient. Plus, you can also use the block as a set of aluminum soft jaws to hold other objects in a vise without fear of damage.
For riders whose mechanical interaction with their motorcycles is limited to routine maintenance, this tool is not worth the expense; they would likely never use it. But for others who tackle larger repair and rebuild projects not just on their motorcycles but also on their ATVs, cars, trucks and other mechanical devices, the Graham Tap & Die Vise Block can be a handy, useful tool.