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I Forge Iron

Leg vice restoration


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Following a recent retrenchment I decided to renew an earlier interest in blacksmithing and started planning a small garage forge set-up.  A visit to a local salvage yard to investigate a hand-cranked blower was disappointing because the blower was beyond economic repair but by chance I found a 'German' style leg vice at a reasonable price which was in fair condition for restoration.  This vice has the benefit of the extra-large side plates which provide additional support and stability to the front jaw and therefore was an immediate purchase.  After surveying it I found that it is just missing the front thrust washer, the complete mounting bracket [the welded tab was a previous owner's quick-fix, I think], the spring, and the front jaw thread-protector - all things often missing on 2nd-hand vices.


As far as I can tell, the German vices tended to have a mounting bracket that is bolted to the vice and screwed into the support post through scrolled 'V' shaped arms [see right-hand picture of the various mount styles attached].  I will have to forge one of these once I am up and running.  


Similarly, I plan to make the front thrust washer by forging a ring from square bar and welding it closed.  The front jaw has a small hole just above the washer location which I assume is to lock the washer and prevent it from rotating.  I will need to create a tab on the washer for this.  Can anyone tell me whether this vice would have had a 'U' shaped spring - the space seems a bit small for the simple single-leaf style found on 'English' style vice. Also, if anyone has a photo of a 'screw protector plate'
I would be interested to see what it should look like - this is a fitting that attaches to the inside of the front jaw and covers the exposed threads as the jaws open and which just rides over the screw box as it closes.

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For scrap yard prices i would have gotten the hand crank blower just for yard art.



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Littleblacksmith: If you had seen it, you maybe would not have bought this particular blower.  Anyway, there should be a reasonably good supply of better condition hand-cranked blowers here because South Africa, with the exception of a few major industrialized cities, is a large and mainly rural country with a long history based on farming.  I just need to get out there to see what is available!  The vice, on the other hand, may be a rare find - I've never seen another quite like it in a store here although there are quite a few up for grabs in the 'English' style.

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