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I Forge Iron

Vise as a small press?

Eddie Mullins

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Let me just preface this post by saying that I will build a hydraulic if I want an actual press..... but after seeing this blueprint http://www.iforgeiron.com/page/index.html/_/blueprints/uri-hofi-series/bp1011-dimple-technique-r192 were Uri is using a tool to create a dimple in the vise, I was wondering if this isn't basicaly functioning as a small press? and if there might be more applications? maybe creating offsets for tongs, heading rivets, etc? This isn't an exercise necesarily in the pratical, but possible as I have a vise and not a press, and I want to make some tools this weekend : )  .  Do any of you use tooling in your vises or have ideas for some that might work?

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Well there is the 3 bar straightening tool for knife blades:  Take round stock, cut three pieces and bend so they hang over the vise jaws.  Position as needed 2 on one side 1 on the other  and place unhardened blade between them and close gently till bend is removed. *sometimes* you can get away with straightening a hardened and tempered blade---but there are so many variables I can't advise it for someone starting out.

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A press in its most basic form consists of two parts: A Ram, and a stationary Anvil, or Die.  One advantage to a normal press is its vertical orientation - you can set you work and/or dies on the Anvil, and they don't have the tendency to fall on the floor, as they would between the jaws of a horizontally oriented vise.


So the main challenge to Vise Pressing is to keep your Work and Dies from falling on the floor.  As illustrated in Mr. Hofi's BP1011, the Die holds itself in place, leaving two hands free to actuate the press (vise) and hold the work. This design is elegant and should be referred to, to maintain simplicity.


Sometimes it's necessary to cradle the work as well.


With 12 Ga. Electrical wire, or even baling wire, one may quickly fashion a "basket" or "cradle" that hangs off the vise jaws in the same manner as described by Mr. Hofi and Mr. Powers. But think of hanging from four points, as well as three. Center your work directly over or as close to the axis of your screw whenever possible.  many times you will have to work off to the side, as in Mr. Hofi's illustration.


Does your vise have removable jaws or is it a post vise? If you do offset work, will the operation force your Dies to shift out of position? now things can get hairy.


Many operations can be handled, just by hanging pieces of metal on the jaws.


I have done all sorts of press work in a nice, beefy vise. You can cut sheet metal with scissors, but tin snips work better, and an electric shear, even better. I love my three ton arbor press, and some day (sigh) I will have a nice fully powered hydraulic press.  But I still find myself doing press-work in the bench vise.  


Keep it simple - the moving jaw is the Ram, the stationary jaw is the Anvil/Die.




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Yes, a vise will work as a press but with some strict limitations. It's SLOW so it'll only do things that don't have to move far or can be done cold.


A good friend of mine in Fla. forge welds with a vise and it works a treat.


Frosty The Lucky.

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