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Salvaging old vises


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I've come across four very old and rusting leg vises of varying weights. They have been sitting in a pole barn for probably about 30-45+ years and three of the four no longer freely spring outwards when the vise is opened. My question is: Should I disassemble the vises, knock all the rust off, and attempt to repair the spring mechanism that pushes the jaw out? Or just leave the rust and work with the one that works fine?

(I'll post pictures when I get home and out to the barn.)

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I say go for it! From my very limited experiences with my leg vise, they're pretty simple devices. Take your time dissembling, de-rust, lube and reassemble. There are a few videos on how to fabricate a new spring.

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Just to be careful with whatever you use to lubricate the threads. Heavy grease (or anything sticky) will tend to accumulate scale, grinding dust, and other nasties. 

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The issue most likely is not with the spring; but with rust buildup inside the cheeks of the pivot area.  Take it apart and clean that area to shiny metal both on the inside of the cheeks and on the moving leg section that travels between them.  Also clean the pivot bolt and hole.  Then *oil* everything with a non-detergent light weight oil and check to see if the spring then needs to be re-arced. 

Most of my vises have needed this done and all are now working fine!

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  • 3 weeks later...

 My best vise was laying in the mud by one of my dealer's back sheds. I took it apart, cleaned and wire brushed and oiled as I reassembled. Use it nearly everyday. I picked up another rough one the other day because it was cheap. Have not cleaned it up yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yes,one of mine ,a big fellah as well was stripped of thread to tighten it up, got the stick welder out then ground it back with the angle grinder ,going fine after 25 years,amazing what can come back

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