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I Forge Iron

Got me self a German blacksmith vice


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Got this vice, very rusty, movable parts seized in place except for the screw and "nut". It weighs 40 kg. The vice seems to had been used with care and good maintenance. Apparently, there are no bends or dings, no missing parts or cracks. It looks like that someone stopped using the vice and just removed it outdoors and stayed there for years exposed to the elements. The screw is in mint condition and jaws are parallel. The hole in the screw's head, where the handle passes, is fairly wide (even oval) for the handle diameter, pointing for extensive use of the vice. Also the pivot pin (yes a pin, not a screw) is secure by a wedge, that is missing. One thing I do not understand is that why are there 2 claws in the thrust washer 90 degrees in relation to keys that fit perfectly into slots on the movable jaw. If you guys have some information on this, please let me know. One final question, what is the manufacturer and how old do you thing this vice is? thanks












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Yes with the flow lines show in the forgings I would think it was real wrought iron; probably not the lowest grade either.  You could touch the bottom of the leg to a grinder and check the spark trail too.

Seems like a lot if not most of my older vises were real wrought iron with steeled jaws.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally finished all the cleaning and reassembled the vice. Electrolysis took a long time.



Upon better inspection, you can see the grain structure of the wrought iron. The jaws are parallel but slightly misaligned in the height, about 1 mm  and you can see a gap between the jaws when fully closed.




I forged a wedge to lock the pivot pin


And I welded a stopper for the thrust washer (if you are a purist, look away now!)


The vice feels very solid and the operation is very smooth. The movable jaw does not wiggle at all sideways.

Hope you enjoyed the project, I am only sorry I do not have/had  wrought iron to make the missing pieces.


How old do you guys think this vice is? thanks

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As the moving jaw travels on an arc the face is angled so there is supposed to be one point where the faces are vertical and parallel. So almost all of my vices show the slight gap at the bottom of the jaws when fully closed. The ones that don't; show evidence of being reworked by folks who didn't know that it was a feature rather than a bug.

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I tried to leave the vice as close to the original version as possible. Sorry purists for welding the stopper pin for the thrust washer and plug weld the holes that were there. I think I am still missing two components, shields, one for the screw (like Heph showed us) and one for the thrust washer like in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUeL3P2h3Yk  min 0:17 and 1:51. With time I will fix that. First lets go ahead and fabricate a stand for the vice.

Guys, the gap I am referring to when the jaws are closed, is from top view. The edges of the jaws touch but there is a small gap (less than 1 mm) in the middle, you can pass there a piece of paper


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  • 2 years later...

Those mounts are common on German patterned vises. I see them being called swallow tail vises around here. But I don't know any smiths who call them that. on German vises here you see either this type of mounting bracket, a simple plate, or the spade finial, in that order of frequency. 


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