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I Forge Iron

Just bought a leg Vice

Chris Jones

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OKay, so I was on ebay - as you do, and after having a conversation with the wife about me not having the room in the garden to set up a forge and that the neighbours wouldn't like it etc etc. I see a leg vice up for sale at the stupidly cheap price of £13 inc postage.

So now that it should be on it's way to me I have a few questions:

1. what do i need to check before I start using it - general issues/problems etc.
2. It looks quite rusty but not too bad - i was just going to wire brush it, grease the screw and then give the non moving parts a coat of hammerite - does this sound like a good idea?
3. How do i mount it? Obviously it needs a flat surface for the bracket to bolt to, but what do i do with the leg? I was thinking of mounting it on a large bit of tree trunk I have - about 1 foot across so should be stable enough.

Any thoughts?


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i personally would not paint it, if it is going to be under cover, as there is nothing worse than having plumes of paint fumes coming up every time you put a hot job between the jaws.....
what size jaws has it got?
if the tree stump is still rooted in the ground 1 foot should be plenty round, but if it is just free standing, it would not be heavy enough, depending on the vise size..... i regulary used to reposition my vise stump, it was a 2ft round stump with a 4in vise on it, but it would move like a swinging door in a house of the night.. ;)
the leg should be secured with a loop to the stump, or leg of the bench on which it is set.

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Do the jaws align when it's closed? If not tweaking it before you paint it is best.

What condition is the screw/screwbox in? I often soak mine for a week in diesel to get rid of the hardened crud in the screw/screwbox, clean it several times and then put it back in place and grease it. Also store with the jaws closed to protect the screw.

If it's stiff to open you may want to pull the pivot and the moving jaw and clean inside the cheeks and oil that joint as well.

I don't paint mine as they get rough duty and we have little rain---especially in the shop!

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Thanks for the answers so far.

I think I'll just paint the bits that aren't going to have hot metal near them or moving parts - just as my storage isn't the dryest in the world - Wales is generally damp in the best of times.

The jaws are 3 inch according to the seller - I have no idea whether they align or even if they move - but for £13 I wasn't going to argue.

I'll post more once it arrives and i get the time to tidy it up.


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I painted mine, even the inside of the jaws and the paint has proven surprisingly durable, maybe the iron is heat sink enough. I like Naval Jelly for rust removal/conversion rather than wire brushing as it doesn't remove any metal and doesn't blear details. It also leaves a nice phosphate finish for primer. You must be careful to keep it away from joints, hinges, screws, etc. as it tends to stick them together inconveniently well.

My small vise is 4", a 3" would be just fine properly mounted. My large one is 6" and mounted to a heavy steel bench so beating on it with hammers is just loud.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Run the screw all they way out and flush it with kerosene/diesel, inspect the screw and box for good threads, let dry, grease and assemble. Plan to do this regularly.

If that stump isn't rooted in or buried deep consider making a movable stand either with wheels or that you can hook with a hand truck. The mounting really needs to be just about ON a post, I had mine on a table and the flex in the top would cause the wedges to pop on the mount. I have since built a movable post out of steel.

Good score.


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