Parallels for low-profile vise

Hi folks,

I’m looking to buy a decent set of parallels to get thinner pieces of stock up out of the throat of the Nomad low-profile vise. All of the parallel sets I’ve found out there so far are 6" long, which seems a little long given the smaller work envelope of the Nomad – perhaps I’m wrong about that, I’m pretty new to this.

Have any of ya’ll found a set of parallels that works well with this vise? Or am I being too conservative in thinking that a 6" set wouldn’t work well?

I did a fair amount of looking and couldn’t find a set that wasn’t far too big (long and tall) for the Nomad low profile vise. I just machined and squared some low profile aluminum blocks from square stock to sit under the stock in the vise. If precision is required I use shims and a dial indicator on the carriage to make sure the stock is flat as possible.

Ultimately I have found the Nomad low profile vise has some challenges in gripping without distorting and indeed gripping with enough pressure for all tasks. Haven’t run into anything it can’t handle with some fussing but in my mind it’s one of those things I would like to address (one day)

Hope that helps!

(I don’t have this vise, but use several special vises on other machines)

I would not use parallels with this at all. I generally use dowel pins and shim stock for setups needing less than about 6mm. Then I move to precision square stock (key stock is ok, lathe tool bits and other ground tool stock is good) with shims if needed. The smallest common sets of commercial parallels only go down to maybe 12mm, and are in 3mm (1/8") increments, so shimming is needed for fine work anyway.

This vise looks ideal for 50mm long dowel pins, which are handy on their own, cheap, and come in 1mm (or 0.5mm) increments on diameter (1/32" in imperial)


Try for 3" parallels. They’re even on sale this week

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For my Low Profile Vises, I use 3" (2" for your vise) Dowel Pins (1/8, 3/16" 1/4" 3/8") that I picked up at my local hardware store, and for my larger vise, I use the LittleMachineShop 3" parallels.

Thanks all for the input!

I’ll likely go with dowel pins for now and pick up the LittleMachineShop parallels for some theoretical larger vise that I’ll get in the future.

@RichCournoyer – would you mind sharing some details on the larger vise you use?

Sure I love sharing my vises…(not those):
I have 4 Vises that I use in my Shapeoko.

Two (2) Low Profile (I made these, and they measure 3" wide x 10" long x 1.5" Tall, I gave one away to Carbide3D)


Next is a Homemade High Precision Toolmakers Screwless Vise (That I picked up at a swap meet for $30). PS There is a very similar model at LittleMachineShop Outlet Page for $65, but it is about a 1/2 Taller)

Last is a Tiny Brown & Sharpe No 752 Toolmaker’s VIse that I am currently making (Finishing) ((I’ve had the unfinished body in my toolbox for 30+ years, and only now had the ability to make the missing parts)) I will finish grind the outside surfaces later this week (On the Shapeoko)


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