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Wells Bros. foot vice


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While doing some weed-diving in the brush of a friend's orchard, looking for usable "junk", I tripped over (literally) a Wells Bros foot vice that was in reasonable shape.  On the truck it went, and it's sitting in my second shop waiting for a quick re-hab.  Sorry, didn't bring the camera phone in today so no photos..yet.

I see there are a couple of references to the vice on the forums but for some reason, I can't get to any photos.  I can't seem to find photos of a complete one on the internet.  If anyone would be kind enough to post a photo of a complete foot pedal (mine's broken off and couldn't be found) as well as the adjustable heading stop/adjuster end for it, I would be grateful.  Photos of alternative heading jaws (mine are flat jaws) would be nice too.

Also it would be helpful to hear some information about welding the caulks (calks, corks depending on who you are talking to) onto the shoe.  I notice that the V grooves in the swage are open on one side and closed on the other---rather than being a V all the way across.  You can sort-of see this in the attached advertising photo.  I have to assume this served a purpose when doing caulks so if you have info it'd be helpful.

I can't tell what the original finish was but there are hints that it was originally "japanned" as most cast iron of that era was to hide casting flaws.  I can't tell if the hints of green are original color, someone's re-paint, or just old bug guts.  I'd like to restore it to original if possible.

Thanks and sorry to throw such a large bucket-load of questions out on my first post.


caulking vice.jpg

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Yup on the rocks...another hobby that I don't have time for.  Just got a second 20" slab saw for 25 bucks.  Now have one for each hand.  It's been a while since I got out rock pickin due to wife's rheumatoid arthritis but the trip to glass butte OR a couple of years back was probably the most fun for us.  Scored well on rainbow obsidian and oolitic agate near Burns.

Reminds me I need to crank up the tumblers.

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I didn't make it up to the rainbow bed when I was there last, did you find the flame obsidian? It's on the front  butte. I couldn't find the clear green beds out of Burns either, the locals weren't tellin. <sigh> Dad was big on petrified wood and bed agate, The Richardson Ranch is good bed agate picking or was.

I've been wanting to get back to Glass Buttes for a knap in but it's a long way and I'm just not as flaky as I used to be.

Frosty The Lucky.

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When I first started forging I bought my 300# Fisher and swage block from a guy who had one of these for $100. I chose the swage over the vise and dearly regret it today. 

I too am green with envy. I would love one of these for forging animal heads and other tasks. 


Edited by fluidsteel
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Greetings Kozzy,

 I have 3 caulking vices .. 2 Wells and one Green River . I made a foot pedal for one years ago for a friends vice and it was not too hard.. You will find that the movable jaw is cast and the fixed jaw is super hard material. The upsetting jaws are very hard to find .. Took me 10 years before I found mine. The geared upsetting block is available at Greem Mangel. I use mine all the time and live them .. I added a few pictures that I had and hop it helps with your restoration. Great find and good luck..

Forge on and make beautiful things




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Thanks for the photos.  The stop block will not be a problem to make:  I have a C. 1905 Boynton & Plummer shaper that I can use to put the proper V grooves on the back of the block to match the grooves in the casting.  All I really need is to know what the block originally looked like so I can repro it as closely as possible.   It's a bit hard to see the details of construction in the old ad photo I posted. 

I think your photo gives me enough to come close on the foot pedal.  It broke off right at the point where the wide part of the pedal itself is so most is there, at least giving a good start.

I'll check the current jaw hardness--wouldn't have guessed the fixed jaw was hard from the look of it.

Thanks again.

Oh...is that red a repaint or do you think it was an original color?

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  • 5 years later...

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