Jclick45

ID vise and is it bent?

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Hey guys, first post here, I've been reading for years but never had need to post. I picked up this unknown brand vise, and wonder if you guys can ID it? I'm sorry I didn't take a pic assembled, but here are some shots of all the pieces. More shots to come later. On the underside of the mounting bracket is a few stamped digits, very hard to read. It LOOKS like it says "COL F & T CO" and has a large "4" above that. I have attached a pic of that. It is very heavy, and is right at 6 inch jaw width. It has chamfered arms, and has a hex nut on the pivot pin. I'm building a real heavy mount, I'll post pix as I do that. 

It appears to be in great shape and complete, but I wonder if the movable arm is bent? It may be hard to tell whats going on in the pix. The OUTSIDE of of the FIXED arm has a nice smooth curve to it, and the INSIDE of the FIXED arm is perfectly straight. Alternatively, the OUTSIDE of the MOVABLE arm is perfectly straight, but the INSIDE of the MOVABLE arm has quite a curve. It looks to me like its bent just above or at the screw eye. If a gorilla were to overtighten it, it seems it would bend there, but its so freakin massive I just don't see how it could be! 

One thing that makes me think it is bent, is that the movable jaw is a bit higher than the fixed jaw, and if it was bent at the eye, it would indeed make that jaw a little higher. I don't know if its worth messing with, I'm just curious if its supposed to be like that? Could it be like that to compensate for the angle in the screw eye when opened? Anyway, I hope it was a good buy. Vises are minimum 400 here for smaller and beat up vises, been looking for one for years. I got this for 250. Its a beautiful tool I'm anxious to get it mounted! What do you guys think, who made it and is it bent?

 

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Looks like a good usable vise. 

The pivot bolt nut was most likely replaced. If the bolt is worn that could account for the misaligned jaws some, and yeah the arm does look a little bent. That can happen. It can be straightened or used as is depending on what you need it to do. 

 

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Would you bend hot? Put it in a press and bend cold? I would like it to be straight!

 

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Glad to see you finally decided to delurk J. If you'll put your general location in the header we won't have to bug you about it when you ask location dependent questions. 

The folks who made that vise weren't worried enough about it being THAT straight. I bet it never occurred to them to put a straight edge on it. The jaws being a little out of alignment is normal and easy enough to correct if necessary. They are intended for heavy abusive work with big hammers and cheater pipes on bending forks wrenches, etc. 

In the world of blacksmithing it looks to be in fine shape, the threads on the screw LOOK pretty good, how are they in the screw box, to the two turn smoothly?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Doesnt look like it needs much so it could be carefully bent back in a press if you want. Remember tho, forget the straight edge, you are going for jaw alignment. Also check the pivot bolt for wear first. 

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Thanks Frosty! Sorry I am in the process of updating my profile. The machinist part of me wants the jaws perfect, it irritates the heck out of me lol. The blacksmith part of me says leave it alone! I'll probably do as Daswulf recommends and check or even adjust at the pivot pin. I can fill in, and remachine the hole and make a new pin real easy in order to re align. Does anyone have any ideas who made this baby?

 

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My pleasure Brother, we all need a reality check now and then. I grew up in Father's metal spinning and machine shop and I have to force myself not to take out the calipers or mic. I measured and cut the lumber for the house to 1/64" of what the framer asked for. He kept complaining that things weren't cut right. He'd been subtracting or adding about 1/4" to compensate for how he THOUGHT I'd make a cut. Don't tell me, cut it xx strong or weak, give me THE number you want!

I got into blacksmithing as a kid as relief from living in a world of crazy tight tolerances. Dad made a lot of parts for aerospace, he spun the bells for the capsule attitude thrusters on all the manned missions before Apollo. He has parts that have left the solar system even, stuff on the Moon, Mars, Venus, etc. Tight tolerances were everywhere. Blacksmithing is tactile and eyeball  so I could just do things instead of reading blueprints and instruments. 

The bottom of the mounting plate looks like it says Colombian and the rest looks right for one. For detailed pics of steel/iron an oblique angle for the light shows details best, dusting it with chalk, flour, charcoal dust, etc. and wiping it lightly helps details stand out as well. 

Aligning these things is often a sledge hammer job though if the jaws are out looking straight down on them it was caused and can be corrected by clamping on one side of the jaws.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I've been searching on that name with no real luck

Possibly COL F & I   for Columbus Forge and Iron?

Columbus Forge & Iron branded most of their vises as "Indian Chief" vises.  If you do a google image search on that you might be able to compare details to see if it matches---not a perfect method as makers copied a lot of details from others but at least a path to research.

 

 

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Was that the one in Gallup?  If so I'd have picked it up save that the trip would have doubled or more the price.

I've heat shrunk and riveted a plug and redrilled a pivot hole before but that one looks so close that I wouldn't bother.  Maybe just dress down the projecting one a bit if it really bothers you---but as has been mentioned; if "tenths" are a big concern to you; blacksmithing will tend to drive you insane...

Columbus Forge and Iron also used the CFI mark too.

 

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That's cool frosty, you know how I feel then! I think I will leave it, maybe I'll change my mind later. 

I couldn't find anything for F&I either but I think you nailed it Kozzy! The reason I say that is because it looks almost identical in every way to a friend's Indian chief vise! That makes perfect sense, COL I&F  for Columbian iron and forge! That's great I love knowing what I have. 

Thomas Powers it was the vise in Gallup! Work had called me to Albuquerque and so it was perfect! Check out the jaws super cool still has the checkering! Frosty the screw and box are tight as a drum, I don't think it was used much just sat. 

Here's my stand, the base is a 2" cross section of a 24" wide flange beam, and I machined a socket from a 2.5" Hammermill rod, to give me a little more height. 

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As the proud owner of a Frankenvise whose jaws are different widths, different thicknesses, and different heights, I say leave it alone and put it to use!

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It  pleases me greatly to know that it's not out there pining away for a smith to get it!  There was a 4" vise for $400 out the other way which I considered overpriced by a factor of 3 or 4 and I thought the Gallup one was a good deal.

(My 6+" columbian was only US$50 which was WAY underpriced even when I got it!  I did have to make the mount and spring for it but that's no problem---just a Saturday morning in the shop.)

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Thomas Powers that brings up a topic that I wanted to post on here, why the heck are blacksmithing tools so freaking expensive? I have tens of thousands in tools, it's what I do I live by my tools. But people want insane prices for simple tools! I saw the 4" and just couldn't justify that. People around here want 3-4000$ for a 500 lb anvil. I bought my lagun mill for less than half of that, it just doesn't make sense. 

 

JHCC you're probably right maybe I'm too picky haha!

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4 hours ago, Jclick45 said:

blacksmith part of me says leave it alone!

The jaws align flat in the picture, if you straighten the arm they will more than likely will be canted when closed.

Listen to the blacksmith concerning his tools. When working as a machinist listen to him.

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The jaw faces will align more flat if there's something in it. The hook jaw is on a pivot so it's angle will change with it's position along the arc. 

I didn't think of an Indian Chief, but yours looks a lot like mine I have to leave in a minute or I'd go out and take a closer look at mine. I have a 6" Indian Chief in the shop. Tomorrow if I remember, my memory is subject to the vagaries of a TBI. Maybe it's a blacksmith thing but a lot of us here are TBI survivors. No, I didn't get hit on the head with a hammer by a helper when I nodded it. 

If you don't know the joke someone will tell it again soon I'm sure. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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J, with the recent FIF show prices seem to have really gone up with people wanting to forge knives and swords. Also there are people gladly ignorant or glad to take advantage of the ignorant. At least as far as some things. It has been a building hobby anyway. The new tool prices are just how it is with what was a more limited market and the cost of making new tools these days. ( again, just my opinion and how i see it.)

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TBI, haha maybe that's why I like to beat on hot metal, thanks frosty you figured it out! :lol: take a look at your I C when you can, I really think that's what it is from searching around, but it's labeled as a COL I&F, which seems pretty cool! I don't know if that makes it newer or older, cant find anything on that. 

Daswulf I keep hoping that all the people who want to be a blacksmith will get bored and sell off all the iron they bought, but it hasn't happened yet! I think these tv shows drive it, like you said. But I know from my own friends, it's just something cool that fades away quickly and the equipment is left to sit alone. 

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Blacksmithing tools are an "inefficient market" that hooked up with the internet so sellers keep seeing outrageous prices outliers are going for and thinking their old common stuff ought to bring the same price drives up prices everywhere.  A lot of buyers don't even know that you can buy stuff new, others get bamboozled by the "antique" title---being old does not make things better necessarily or more expensive---look at the price for a ton of gravel----it is often hundreds of millions of years old! Finally a lot of folks getting into the craft have more money than sense and believe that having fancy expensive equipment will make their work better where in reality they need to put the practice time in:  "1000 hours on a $100 anvil trumps 100 hours on a $1000 anvil most every time!"

Back in central Ohio in the USA I bought over a dozen of the 4" postvises in the 1990's for US$20 a piece. Now they are way more expensive. In the 2000's I bought 3 6" postvises: $50, $75, $75 the more expensive ones out here in equipment poor New Mexico and now thought the 6" postvise in Gallup looked like at good deal at US$250!

 

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The maker's name and the model name are often different. Look at how many common anvil names were made by the same company say "Trenton" or "Fisher." Most manufacturers will happily put what ever name you're willing to pay for on their goods. Sears doesn't make "Craftsman" nor "Acme" you know. Sears paid to have Wile E coyote buy Acme tools mail order so the Roadrunner could dodge the trap and smoosh the coyote flat. Trademark in front of course.

I'll be headed out to the shop in a while, I'll see how much I'll have to clean up to get to the 6" vise. I'm pretty dared lazy and it's mounted to a steel table. You know what happens to flat surfaces. Yes? :ph34r:

Frosty The Lucky.

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Das, I’ve currently got two Indian chief vises and have had three others that I’ve released back into the world. All but one have had the same style hex nut as that one. A couple were we’re very very lightly used and so most likely all original. That leads me to believe Indian Chief vises often had hex nuts instead of square nuts. All of them have had a screw box like the one pictured but I know that’s not a definitive indicator. 

 

J, you have to keep in mind that all the parts might not be original to that vise. I tend to agree that is sure looks like a Colombia/Indian Chief but it’s quite possible that mount or screw box could have been a replacement for a lost or broken part at any time during it’s long life. Oddly, not one of the IC vises I’ve owned have had the octagonal sections on the legs which makes me think they were made later on. I wish they did, I like the way it looks. 

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Thanks Ben, That is good to know. Appreciate the insight from someone who has seen more of this brand. Might be a tell tale on some Indian Chief vises?

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When people tell me that the screw and screwbox for their vise has to be original to their vise; I point out that they used to sell them as separate items in the Sears Roebuck catalogs back around 1900 so the possibility or replacement existed back then.  I also have made a marriage or two myself taking parts from the scrap stream and getting a working postvise from them.  Of course I am a user not a collector.

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That is very interesting with the hex nut, It's something to watch for I wonder how many have that. 

As for the screw box, yes it may not be a definitive identifier, but you are saying that it matches your IC, and it matches perfectly with a friend's IC. 

I'm sure that parts could be replaced, but also I'm sure that many went out the door with differences from one to another, it's just the way manufacturing was, you used what you had sometimes, even if it was for an "older model" or such.

Here is an Indian chief that matches mine exactly, the spring, arms, leg, screw box, everything is exact. EXCEPT the nut, it's square! Go figure haha. Like I said, I don't think that you can say that any one thing is definitive, except the name itself. 

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