30 posts in this topic

I want to start by saying that most of what I'm about to post has already been posted in another thread. I just wanted to add my own idea's to it, or take multiple ideas and put them together.
To see where I got a lot of my ideas see the original post on how to "Build Your Own Leg Vise"

So my take on this is simple. This vise doesn't require a spring as it opens with the screw and due to the design of the vise, the vise face is always parallel to one another. It still allows you to build interchangeable faces for different applications and allows the bottom to be either mounted to a plate and onto a base or to have a "quick mount" like the one suggested on the "Vertical Vise". Also, I have the "required parts" list comprised of things that most scrappers come by very easily. For the record, what I have drawn (since you can't tell from the drawing) the back "upright" section of the vise itself would be made from either 3" or 4" I-beam. The L shaped vise face arm would be made of 1 1/2" solid square stock or 2" square tubing. I know that the tubing might flex a bit, but for MOST of us, I really don't think the amount of flex you might get would be problematic.

drawnvise.jpg

Its a bit of a crude drawing, but instead of a hinge at the bottom it uses casters. the caster on the back of the vise supports the weight of the face as it expands and helps keep it even. The caster on the front of the vise supports the weight as well as acts as a bearing for which the guide to roll on.

legguide.jpg

Harbor Freight sells these cast iron casters for between $3 and $7 depending on size

3castiron.jpg

The screw seemed to me at first like the most complicated part of a vise build. There again, the question of easy availability was answered in the Build Your Own Leg Vise post. The answer for me, was an old threaded barbell. You can buy them at almost every thrift store around for a couple dollars or you can get one new from Wally World for around $20. The advantage, however much you spend, you get 2 screws, AND 2 nuts. You'll see on my vise that I use 2 nuts on the design but you don't have to. You could just as easily use a washer or something welded to the screw to open the vise up and just use the 1 nut on the back. You'll also need a washer or something welded to the end of the screw to prevent it from coming completely out. My idea for the "hand wheel" was to use a little 10lb weight, or make one. Whichever you consider easiest. You could also just use a bar if that's more your style.

screwdrawn.jpg
barbell.jpg

If you were really ambitious you could also make this a double screw vise like the Fisher, by using a 1" bore sprocket with an appropriate chain. Most bike sprockets are 7/8" so it wouldn't take much to center them and re-drill them where you could use regular old bicycle chain.




"Parts List"
4 foot of 3" or 4" I-Beam
Since the passthrough of the face can be anywhere along the length of the vise, I would say enough 1 1/2" Solid Square or 2" square tube to make the bend and pass through and extend 1" past the back caster when the vise is fully opened.
An acme screw and nut
2 Rigid Casters
The rest is scrap bits here and there, and you just sort of put it together.


Heres an image of the basic drawing of "The Vertical Vise"
VerticalVise-4.jpg


A lot of people will say this would cost more to make than it is worth. And you'd be right. Just recently I picked up a 5" post vise for $25. However, I have been looking for a while and really didn't have much to spend. In the time I had been looking I was able to come up with the materials to make this vise. Now that I have a post vise I will probably re-purpose the tubing and I-Beam to make anvil stands. Later on I might build a double screw version of this vise with big beefy jaws just to have one. But my point is this. Sometimes you can't find the tool but you might have enough of this sitting around to put one together. Or a blacksmith teaching someone else might not have a vise for them to use all the time but may have enough scrap iron to build something like mine or like the vertical vise. If you want to build something, build it. Its about using what you have, and having fun with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey! You've been thinking. Sometimes you can find the needed screw on old screw-jacks. The screw jacks are still sold new, but they are pricey. Also, the screw on the bottom of some old office chairs may be usable. It will take a little ingenuity to figure out how to modify the nut, but it can be altered with the cold work of sawing, grinding, and sanding...perhaps welding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How well does that caster stand up to being pounded on by a 4# hammer?

I'd not suggest other folks try it until you have built it and used it for a year or two and worked any possible bugs out of the system.

I personally would not publish a design that's not been tested and suggest it as a good way for other people to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ThomasPowers: How well does that caster stand up to being pounded on by a 4# hammer?"


Thomas I don't know how well that caster stands up to being pounded on by a 4# hammer. I do know that they hold up just fine being pounded on by a 2lb (32oz) framing hammer. I've never seen the "caster" setup in a smithing setting. It was simply a combination of an old carpenters vise idea moved over to smithing. Casters have been being used for years on carpenters vises (the one on my grandfathers vise was a flimsy old white plastic one. If you really had that much of a problem with it, you could cut out the I-Beam and mount a boat roller or something with heavier hardware. You could even cut out the I-beam near the face and bring the face of the vise in over the outer lip of the I-beam so that the impact is driving more on the upright beam than the moveable jaw. This seams like a very minor engineering problem to me.

visewheel.jpg

Example of a wheeled carpenters vise.

"ThomasPowers: I'd not suggest other folks try it until you have built it and used it for a year or two and worked any possible bugs out of the system.

I personally would not publish a design that's not been tested and suggest it as a good way for other people to go."


Well, near as I can tell, YOU didn't. But as near as I can tell, I didn't either. I don't claim this to be the best vise ever designed or "Its gonna be the wave of the future and no blacksmith is ever gonna want regular post vise again!" that would just be goofy. What I claimed this to be, was a combination of different Ideas when building a vise. I linked to the original thread because I found all the ideas there to be interesting. My hope was that someone would see this and go "that's a good idea, but this needs to be made this way" or even if it was "This is never gonna work and this is why!" would be fine. At least then there would be something creative and or constructive gained out of the comment. The comment above you was informative, suggesting screw jacks and old office chairs as a means to recycle an old ACME screw.

I thought it would be good to post this idea and get feedback BEFORE building it. Most engineers I know do just that, they show their plans to one another and ask for help, for ideas, for a 2nd person to take a look and tell them what's missing or what needs tweaked. The whole 2 heads are better than one thing.

I'll edit it though, so that its clearer that this IDEA that I'm sharing has not been tested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems like a lot of work. I've never found postvises to be in short supply even in rural NM Most meetings here there's a couple for sale and even some cheap ones out there if you are vigilant. Certainly easier to find than anvils!

Of course 2 people around here have asked me to try to repeat my "$50 6" postvise in good shape" trick again at Quad-State. I just spent some of my Q-S money on 2 postvises: 4, 4.5" at $30 apiece with the mounting brackets.

The way the plan was presented didn't seem to me to be "Here's an Idea, what do you think?" As a "Here's how you do it"

I once bought a homemade postvise I found in AR; weighed over 200 pounds! Impressive stout in a crude way but the screw was too fine a thread to make using it easy and I sold it on to someone who wanted to experiment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was an argument in the other thread too. Post vises are too cheap and available to worry about building. For some people that may be the case. For those where it is not the case or for those people that really like making things there are threads like this one and the other.

For instance, if you have someone that is new to metal working, and you have the scrap to build one. They can do several things.
Learn to cut metal
Learn to Weld
Learn to recycle other materials
Learn the value of a little bit of elbow grease
After its all said and done, chances are they learned how NOT to do certain things while cutting metal, welding etc. And they wind up with a usable tool in the end. May not last the hundred of years some of these old post vises have. But they learned. *shrugs* just my school of thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a good design, good materials; albeit scrap, good welds; Why shouldn't it last 100 years or more? :) However, I'm with Thomas on the caster thingy. I think the second design with the pivoting jaw and hinged post would be a better design and a lot less labor intensive IMHO

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet they could use that same effort, tools and scrap to build something like a treadle hammer that is useful and NOT easy and cheap to find.

They could: "Learn to cut metal, Learn to Weld, Learn to recycle other materials, Learn the value of a little bit of elbow grease" and learn the value of their time NOT making something easily and cheaply sourced.

I met a new smith once who was copying cheap imported ironwork trying to do stuff exactly the same to make much more expensive copies of poorly designed and made items. I couldn't understand his urge to do so either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neat... I should have thought of that

Blacksmith: So you're new to metal working huh?

Apprentice: Yes sir/ma'am.

Blacksmith: Right then, I know how to cut your teeth, since you're just getting started you're gonna want a treadle hammer. There's some scrap out back, lets get started.


Its an idea Thomas, not a command. Its a what if scenario to begin with. Why is the thought of someone building something that is readily available (to you, perhaps not them) such a hard pill for you to swallow? If they don't want to build it, then this thread isn't something they're going to want to learn from anyway. I swear when I started this thread, thinking I was sharing a simple idea and linking to many others in the same train of thought, I never thought it would turn into getting bashed repeatedly.

At this point I'd just assume admin delete the entire thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unforgivun,

Don't toss in the towel, you've gotten some good feed back and encouragement from some good smith's in this thread along with TP's comments. For reasons of his own he's in curmudgeon mode right now (he does that from time to time) and no amount of debating the point is gonna shake him off the bone - don't take it personal, he's a good guy and a wealth of information when he's in the mood to give it.

Have fun with your idea, if it works - great, if it doesn't - great, it's your time and energy to spend as you see fit and you'll have learned something either way. Just keep asking questions and share the results with us. I for one look forward to seeing how you do!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chyancarrek,

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I don't want the thread taken down because I'm embarrassed or anything like that. I have gotten several good ideas out of this thread even with the negativity.

I want the thread taken down because I feel it is a very poor example of what the IforgeIron community is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Naww, it's a GREAT example of what IFI is . . . ideas and opinions bandied about, sometimes in accord sometimes contention. Either way, discussion and dialog take place and new ideas get planted and grow ( or old ones pruned and brought back to life ).

Everybody has a viewpoint - we takes 'em or leaves 'em as we like!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blake when you get down here I will show you THE BIGGEST pile of unfinished great ideas, ever. Not having such a forum as this, and working alone, I had to improvise, adapt, and figgure it out myself. What I am trying to say is - enjoy the energy! This feedback nay and yea is great! Do not let it bum you out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been following this thread for a wile I have to back up Thomas. I look at these welded up vises as poor substitutes for the real thing and as distractions from the path of developing real forging skills. A blacksmiths leg vise is a very evolved tool, everything about it has been refined and tested in real shop conditions over the past 300 years or more. The pitch of the screw is fast so a smith working with hot metal can tighten the vise rapidly. Remember a you only often have a few seconds before metal is too cold to be forgeable even more so when the metal is clamped in heat sucking vise jaws. So spending valuable time turning a handle is not helpful. A 10 tpi thread will mean you need to turn the handle ten times to go one inch. A leg vise thread is 3 or 4 tpi so for every turn of the handle the jaw is moving about 3/8 depending on the sweep of the arc the jaw moves along. I am a professional blacksmith with 19 years experience. I have made tones of forgings, I am by no means a master though no slouch. I am committed to the trade and learning as much as possible about the craft art trade what ever you want to call it. I have never felt that a good working leg vise was lacking at the forge when used for forging. I don't upset in a vise because i do it free hand. I took the time to teach my self to learn how to make an even upset on the end of a bar. I also heat the material in the forge and don't allow my self to use the torch. By setting some limits you grow as a smith. Its like lifting weights if you never put on another plate you will never get stronger. But all of this being said you are a hobbyist you are doing this for fun and entertainment do what you want go and play. You will learn some things but you wont have a very good vise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tell ya what, since apparently the thread won't be deleted so that there isn't a sense of argument on here I'll do this. I'll run with it. And I'll try to respond to any criticism that I find to be unfounded and I'll try to point out why even if it makes no sense, since that's what is apparently expected. Anything I believe to be a legitimate criticism I'll be more than happy for.



I have been following this thread for a wile I have to back up Thomas. I look at these welded up vises as poor substitutes for the real thing and as distractions from the path of developing real forging skills.



A lot of people will say this would cost more to make than it is worth. And you'd be right. Just recently I picked up a 5" post vise for $25. However, I have been looking for a while and really didn't have much to spend. In the time I had been looking I was able to come up with the materials to make this vise. Now that I have a post vise I will probably re-purpose the tubing and I-Beam to make anvil stands. Later on I might build a double screw version of this vise with big beefy jaws just to have one. But my point is this. Sometimes you can't find the tool but you might have enough of this sitting around to put one together. Or a blacksmith teaching someone else might not have a vise for them to use all the time but may have enough scrap iron to build something like mine or like the vertical vise. If you want to build something, build it. Its about using what you have, and having fun with it.


Does no one read this part of the post? I actually say that since I found a traditional post vise I would not be making my vise or the vertical vise.


But all of this being said you are a hobbyist you are doing this for fun and entertainment do what you want go and play. You will learn some things but you wont have a very good vise.


I am a hobbyist. That doesn't mean I don't want to broaden my horizons and get to where I can sell the things that I create anymore than you do. Just because it is not my primary means of income does not mean that I do not take it seriously. Telling me to "go and play" makes an assumption about me and my personality that you probably shouldn't, but it does tell me something of you and your lack of respect for a hobbyist smith. The idea of this is intended to be a last resort for someone who either can't find a vise, doesn't have one but has the means to make one etc. its an IN THE MEANTIME sort of idea. As far as I'm concerned a subpar vise that gets the job done is better than NO VISE AT ALL.
so let me clear this up by saying I DO NOT CONSIDER ANY VISE TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A TRADITIONAL POST VISE. THERE IS A REASON THEY'VE BEEN USED FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. THAT REASON IS THEY WORK


The pitch of the screw is fast so a smith working with hot metal can tighten the vise rapidly. Remember a you only often have a few seconds before metal is too cold to be forgeable even more so when the metal is clamped in heat sucking vise jaws. So spending valuable time turning a handle is not helpful. A 10 tpi thread will mean you need to turn the handle ten times to go one inch. A leg vise thread is 3 or 4 tpi so for every turn of the handle the jaw is moving about 3/8 depending on the sweep of the arc the jaw moves along.


The barbell that I had is actually 3TPI so It would be plenty fast for this type of work. Even in that picture there, you can see the threads and see that they are NOT 10 TPI. At no point do I suggest using a large carriage bolt as an acme screw.

Now send in the next crotchety traditionalist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next crotchety traditionalist? (grin).

One of the reasons threads are not deleted is they contain information. They also self correct and realign as they progress.

I feel home built vises have a place for the beginner, or the blacksmith out in the field away from his shop. Much like the 55 Forge, it does not have to be pretty to work, it just has to work until it can be replaced with something better. Yes with 300 years of testing and design changes, the vise (and other tools) have evolved into about as good a tool as it can be. But in this day and time, very few use the blacksmithing tools as they were used last century, or the century before.

How many know how to use a chain hoist, or a gin pole? Who needs either one when the large stock is 1/2 inch square and the BIG stuff is 3/4 inch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever turns your crank! Go for it. I'd recommend you stick with a pivot pin. Or make solid steel rollers. After sitting for a few days the rubber one will get a flat spot and the jaw will drop a little. Good to get a little input, take what you choose, ignore the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an idea here. Instead of the casters, what about a couple of big ball bearings mounted on shafts in nice, beefy brackets? Kinda like the ones on that woodworking vise, but fabricated from steel.

https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=1-205-16-B&catname=powerTrans

I'd be more inclined to go with the old-fashioned method myself. But the pin for the moving jaw on my post vise is -- well, I've never actually measured it, but I doubt it's an inch in diameter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I look at your drawing I don't see the need to be so long. I think leg vises are long to better deal with the non parallel jaw issue.
If that is dealt with by the rollers and guide at the bottom is there really any reason to make it long. You could build a square slide
and put the screw inside it to minimize binding. Then you are really building a bench vise. Nothing wrong with that. Food for thought.
Keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also just for your info. Many times when you weld around a nut the weld will shrink the ID of the nut. With a standard thread just run a tap thru it no problem. Might have a little trouble finding an acme thread tap. Thought it might save a nut and some trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thought was to remove the rubber to eliminate "flat spots" like you would get from a heavy table on casters. A ball bearing might be even better though.

Peacock, I think the idea of it being so long is to keep the weight distribution somewhat even. I don't know that it would matter with a roller design though. So you might be right.


EDIT: After clicking on that link to theball bearing that seams like IF you were going to go the roller route it would probably be the way to go. I know someone using those casters on a table that weighs close to 1500lbs but he's not beating on them, they're just to move it. Something beefier might be best. I was thinking with the casters the thing steel bracket would have to be changed anyway and mount the roller between 2 pieces of angle or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, Ill play along but I do see a few potential problems. One bottom track if it is made flat will accumulate scale metal filings and other debris and eventually the rollers will jamb. I suggest using cast iron groove wheel the kind used on rolling gates these have roller bearings on them. http://www.kingmetals.com/default.aspx?page=item%20detail&itemcode=30-400-3 Also it tracks on a 90 degree v so any junk would just fall off onto the floor. You could use a piece of 1" square on the diamond as your rail or track. Another problem the pivoting jaw will want to push out at the bottom when the vise is tightened. The pivoting jaw will have to be very rigid to over come this. Honestly i'm not sure how this will play out in the real world but it troubles me and I suspect there will be unanticipated problems. The threads will need to be a fast pitch like I said your second drawing shows a acme thread with 10 tpi too slow as earlier stated. The weight bar may work but the cheep ones usually have a cast iron nut and a very poor surface finish on the threads. The nut will be brittle and probably crack under strain and welding it will require special care.

Also I fail to see that is wrong with playing around I love to play. This just seems like a diversion from the real thing. You time would be much better spent learning real forging skills and appalling it to something like repairing an old vise. As for calling me a traditionalist I make my living forging metal I use the most effective technology to do that. I just bought an induction forge I have a Hydraulic press and an air hammer. I also routinely use a coal forge, punch holes and forge weld. If i am traditionalist I don't know but if I am, then we all are because there is no real need for anybody to hand forge metal these days. There is always a faster cheaper way to produce an item than a blacksmith working at a forge. As far as the comment being good enough to sell my work I stank when I started but I still sold my work only later did I get better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And THAT is the type of response and criticism that is relevant, appreciated and adds value to this thread.

The filings and scale could indeed jam up the rear roller. Either the addition of a small brush section inside the I beam or turning the cross bar on an angle would help eliminate this problem before it became a problem.

As far as a pivoting jaw, I really didn't see the need for one if you're making a roller vise, the jaw would stay parallel at all times so the pivot isn't needed. A fixed jaw would be preferred on a roller system. I actually thought the pivoting jaw on the vertical vise to be too tall and wondered if that wouldn't make it kick out at an angle if the material wasn't centered over the pivot or running the entire length of the jaw.

I also want to point out if someone only wanted to do a traditional vise idea I don't see a problem with that either, I just didn't see the point in my sketching one out since the "vertical vise" seemed about as efficient a design as any for a homemade vise.

Barbell idea may not work, the nut on the one I have is in fact steel, but some may be cast iron, I do not know. Its just mentioned as an option that happened to fit me since I actually had an old one. There are plenty of other acme options mentioned between the 2 threads and I'm sure there will be many more. My drawing indicating a 10 TPI threading is just a result of my poor artwork. I really should have refined that sketch before uploading. It was originally intended to convey a build idea to be used with a set of materials that I happened to have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now