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Clamping for heavy chisel work


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Is this chiseling a one time project or something you do on a regular basis?

For a one time project make one time adjustments to YOUR height. Stand on a platform to make things comfortable for you. Make the platform easy to step up to, and get on top. Just be sure NOT to make the platform small because you want a stable place to stand.

For regular basis type work, make the vise fit the existing ground so you can avoid making and getting onto and off of a platform.

What ever you do, make it safe to work with.

Photos would certainly help us visualize what you are doing so we can make better suggestions.


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Machinery's Handbook 12th ed (1945) page 1439 Height of work for filing.

For filing in a vise, the vise jaws should be level with the workman's elbow, which height varies from 40 to 44 inches from the floor; hence 42 inches is a good average height for a vise that is fixed permanently. 

Thanks Frosty, I thought it was that height for filing, but did not remember where to quote the reference.

This is for filing. For chiseling, I would suggest a bit lower as you have the length of the chisel and the hammer swing to consider.

In another reference, a gun-engravers' vices to be installed at nearly chin-level (working with a loupe and tiny chisels). Your project and photos would help get better answers.

Post Vise Height ?

Vice height for filing. with photos

Proper height for filing at a post vise

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Thanks for the advice. I don't chisel very often, but I'm losing so much heat getting my work clamped and then climbing up on a box that I might get another vise and mount it low. 

So do you get a second post vise and chop off the post to get it mounted low?

Most of my vise work is grinding and filing, and it's at the perfect height for that. 

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 If you have the space and resources it's really helpful to have several vises and benches at various heights so you can use the one most suited for the task at hand.  Different sizes  widths and styles of the  jaws  give you more options as well.  A lot of post vises seem too tall for effective chisel and down hand hammer work in my experience.

Not all post vises were made to be used exclusively  in blacksmith shops but were widely utilized by all kinds of crafts that required a solid grip on the work. I have a couple of small  light 3'' post vises that were obviously made for up high close work that are made exactly the same with all the same kind of parts and construction as my massive and heavy 7'' Columbian forging vise.

   The traditional   bench mount of almost all post vises were made to be adjustable to suit different bench heights, with the height of the jaws being determined by the  length of the leg. The jaws can be set lower by either shortening the leg or setting the mounting block for the foot below floor level , easier to do with a dirt or brick floor. These were probably the most common types of blacksmith shop floors at the time period when most of the post vises now available were manufactured

It's your tool  and you should feel confident enough to modify it to suit your needs in your shop if necessary . Just try to honor the craftmanship of the original makers by doing a proper job of it  with all the skills you have

Having the vise  solidly mounted to an immoveable bench or post will ensure that your efforts go into the work piece rather than bouncing the vise around.

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