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I Forge Iron

Just nab'd me a leg vise!

Alan DuBoff

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Stu, similar as those wooden vises on benches, it's invaluable when working with hot metal.

Apprentice, not sure yet, haven't seen it up close. They might not close tight, but should be fixable.

Frosty, it's a honker, it's 7" jaws and 107 lbs. Yeah, I'll have a couple things to fix, like adding a spring and the mount is not clear to me, but looks like it might slide up and secure the square section at the top, I'm not certain.

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Stupid question time! :rolleyes:

OK, you have been warned, ah, why is this type of "Leg Vice" so much better than the typical steel bench vice?

I would figure it is some what more flexible for a blacksmith, but being a total newbie, I'm not sure how that would be?

I'm fairly sure I'll have a bear of a time finding one here in Japan.

I've got one of these.............
..........in the bike garage, and I was figuring that if I mount it on a large block of wood, I could then secure that block of wood in my large Record woodworking vice......

But back to the leg vice, what are the advantages over the "modern" bench vice...?

Cheers! :)

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First of all those "typical" vises are generally cast iron *not* steel.

Cast iron is a brittle material and whanging on them with a hammer will generally result in a broken vise.

Next note how it's mounted: when you hammer on a piece of hot steel in that vise it will try to tear itself out of the workbench---if it doesn't just break at the base first.

The leg vise will generally be made from wrought iron or steel (some were ductile iron as well but not as common). It is mounted so that it's foot rests on a support on the floor so the force of your hammering is transferred there---the mounting bracket is actually a slip fit design so if your vise's foot digs a bit deeper it will follow it down. It is common to use a several pound hammer working steel in such a vise so it has to take the force!

Finally back in OH the leg/post/blacksmith's vise was *cheaper* than a cast iron bench vise...

Find out what Japanese smiths use for a vise...


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  • 3 weeks later...

You don't absolutely need a vice to twist stock, especially small items like S hooks and wrought iron, take two pair of tongs and twist. At the forging contest at Sofa this year (06;-) we did a dosey doe with two pair of tongs to get our twists into the S hooks we were forging;-)

Leg vices get used for a lot of technics that require pounding: heading, right angle bends, forging a tight offset, hinge barrels, animal heads, hollow form chippendale legs;-)

You use the tools you have, you can always use more tools;-) Some tools are better for somethings...

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I've found something that in my opinion is more useful than the traditional "swan neck shaped" hold down. I have a lag bolt screwed into my anvil stump about half-way up. I use this to attach my "hold-down"
Hold-down: two pieces of 2"x 1/16" strapping with a three lengths of bicycle chain (or any flat chain for that matter) welded to one end of each piece of strapping. on one end i drilled a hole to fit over the lag-bolt, on the other end is a stirrup.
To use: attach hold-down to lag screw and drape over the anvil so that the sections of chain are over the anvil face. I slide the hot steel to be cut/punch/whatever under the chain and then step down on the stirrup with my foot. The hot steel is held in place and both hands are free to work with the steel and tools. (one of these days i am gonna get pictures taken and posted here).

I've also seen alternative forms of this tool made of motorcycle chain (the kind with multiple chains side by side) and a large *lead* ball for weight. and another that used cable instead of the strapping. I just used what was handy:)
-Aaron @ the SCF

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