Modie

Recommended care for a Prentiss Vise

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I recently acquired an old 4" Prentiss bench vise. It works perfectly, except that I can't remove the pin in the top that allows the fixed jaw to swivel. It has a wonderful patina (I know, that just doesn't sound manly does it?), with only the slightest of surface rust in a few spots. I don't know if these vises were ever painted from the factory, but I would like to preserve the patina (there's that word again) so I need some advice on what to use to clean it with. I have wiped it down with WD-40, but would like to give it a good once over with something to remove some of the caked-on grease. In other words, I need to use a cleaning agent that isn't abrasive enough to get down to the bare metal.

Also, can someone recommend a good lubricant/grease to use? Thanks!

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." ~ Proverbs 27:17

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I cleaned up years of grease and dirt accumulations out of the boom of an extendahoe simply with a scraper and a wire brush attached to a long handle along with a little mineral spirits. I'd use the same methods to clean the inside of that screw box. I'd probably pick up one of those wire tooth brushes and attach a longer handle in some way, dip it in a bowl of mineral spirits and start working the inside. If need be you can wrap a rag around the brush and use it like a cleaning pad for a rifle to help mop out some of the crud. Because we needed to weld up the boom, I followed this by cleaning with acetone on the brush and rag to remove as much oil/grease as possible, but I doubt you need to go that far.

 

Beautiful vise.

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The pin at the top of the heal jaw doesn't have anything to do with releasing the swivel base. The lever on the swivel base is the locking mechanism. Lifting the handle releases the lock so the base can turn.

If there's a model number on the vise do a web search in Patent Servers for the patent drawings. Good drawings will tell you how a thing works better than all the photos and text in the world.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The pin at the top of the heal jaw doesn't have anything to do with releasing the swivel base. The lever on the swivel base is the locking mechanism. Lifting the handle releases the lock so the base can turn.

If there's a model number on the vise do a web search in Patent Servers for the patent drawings. Good drawings will tell you how a thing works better than all the photos and text in the world.

Frosty The Lucky.

Frosty that pin unlocks the static jaw so that you can hold odd or uneven shapes.  You could drill and tap it for a slide hammer or remove the nut and push it out from the bottom with a nut and bolt used like a small jack.  Some guys remove the swivel base and drill a hole for a pin punch so they can drive it from the bottom . Be gentle you don't want to damage the castings. I think if it were mine I would leave it as is. Looks nice now just clean some more and wipe with paste wax.

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Mr. Frosty,

Yes sir, I understand that the lever on the swivel base is the locking mechanism for the swivel base. But the pin on top can be removed to allow the jaw on the fixed part of the vise to pivot left or right for the purpose of holding an odd shaped object; I just can get the darn thing to come out yet. I have seen drawings like the one you speak of and it shows the pin removed and the jaw adjusted. There are no threads on the pin so it should just pull out, but I'm still working on it:).

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Greetings Modie,

Easy fix.  Use an air chisel with a blunt end and tap on all sides. This will compress the rust and debri so solvent has a path.  Still stuck.. Heat just the top of the pin and heat transfer to the base.  Again with the air chisel and lube.  Later try a sharper air chisel with upward force to remove., This will put a. Slice in the pin but replacement is a simple job. 

I hope this helps it is a tried and proven method that I have done many many times. Let me know if it works for you. 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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Modie  Does that stamp  say Stanfield? That could be E S Stanfield hardware , sometimes the jobbers stamped  them like this. just adds to the history ,

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Mr. Gray iron,

Good eyes! Actually, that's my last name. My father purchased the vise at an estate sale 30 years ago and he passed away last year. He always marked everything with either his name or the last 4 of his SSN (in case of theft). I'll always think of him when I use it.

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I have two Prentiss vices with the rear swiveling jaw but they have the stationary base. On the one I started to clean up and restore I carefully pressed the pin out from the inside using my dad's shop press. I was worried it might break but I got lucky and every thing went well. Mine had lead plugs in the oil holes along the side.

Edited by Will. K.

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