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The New Vise

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I spent my first day of “social distancing” in the garage working on the new vise. 

I had to cut it away from the RR track. Then I had to cut away the old bracket (because it had been welded into a large glob of metal). 

They had welded a coil spring around the screw mechanism and that took some time to finally cut away but now I’m down to just the parts. 

I took pics of all the markings I could find. 

Next up, I might degrease and re-grease the screw. Maybe clean up the jaws a little. I need to forge a spring and a new bracket. Then I’ll work on figuring out a base. 

Any other suggestions from those of you who have done this before?







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13 minutes ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

I would clean the screw & screw box

Plot twist: I am out of degreaser! The Mrs (healthcare provider) says it’s not a good enough excuse to run to the store. Now I have to find something around the house to use to clean it. Coronavirus!

Also...  I stuck my finger in the screw box and was surprised to find that there are only about 2” of thread in there. I was expecting it to be much longer. 

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Any tips on forging a new spring?

I need to forge a new mounting bracket. I figured I’d just use some 3/8 mild steel I have sitting around for that. Then, I’ve got a big ol’ coil spring in the garage. I was thinking I’d cut off a bit, draw it out to something flat and just do something that will be held in place by the bracket (like the photo). 

Do I need to use “spring” steel? Do I need to heat treat it?


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On 3/17/2020 at 6:50 PM, mpc said:

Plot twist: I am out of degreaser!  Now I have to find something around the house to use to clean it. 

To degrease I use turpentine, paint thinner, soap and water

That RR track can make a nice post for the vice as well...

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Ditto on the mild steel for a spring; works fine and is a lot less likely to go wrong than trying to work spring steel without much experience.  Even if you do use spring steel I would just normalize it as all the heat treat it needs after forging.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, the base is almost done (I’m going to put casters on it).

I had to forge a new bracket to hold it in place. That was entertaining and educational. 

I just need to make a spring and I’m done  


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Greetings mpc,

Forget the casters and cut a larger plywood base so you can stand on it and work. Easy to move with a couple chunks of pipe under the ply. Just screw the metal base to the plywood. I have made many. Pictured one of my portable set ups. 

Forge on and make beautiful things 



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I couldn't agree more.  I built what I thought would be the sturdiest non-permanent stand "on the market" only to find it wasn't worth the time I spent building it.  I even put it on a much larger plywood base so I could stand on it.  What a disappointment.  Have yet to figure out what I'm going to do to correct the problem.  I know I'm not happy with it.  If I knew where I wanted the vise to be permanently mounted, I'd bolt the I-Beam it's attached to to the concrete floor.............but I haven't gotten to that point in my blacksmithing yet.  Don't want to waste the time mounting it somewhere I won't be happy with.

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How thick is the plywood base you mounted your post to? I have built 3 stand out of plywood bases and laminated 2x4 for the post and have had great luck. My second and third stands are rock solid. 46" diameter circle 3/4" plywood double layer glued and screwed together in a spider web pattern. The post is also glued and screwed into place with 6"-8" log locker screws. My first stand is not as solid. The base is 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood glued together, the post is also much smaller on the first one, but I did build the first stand out of scrap I had laying around.

Getting the mounting plate & the back and bottom of the stationary leg to all draw up tight at the same time makes a big difference. If your vise is wobbling on the post you need to tighten up those areas.

The vise below is standing on a steel plate up to the collar recessed into the plywood(supports the vise), the back of the leg is tight to the top of the post (helps to keep the vise from twisting), the mounting plate is lag screwed down with bushing to take up the slack due to the fact I used 3/8 lags in 5/8 holes(keeps the back of the leg tight to the post, the bushing keep any side to side slop out of the vise).

If the post and base are flexing you need to add reinforcement or build it bigger. 

I just changed out the lags on my first stand, that helped a lot, the post flexes a little, but the biggest part of the instability was the twisting caused by undersized lags. 

Hope this helps, or at least makes sense. 

Have a great day,



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My old travel vise stand.  Fill with water and you have appx 400# inertial weight.  It has a bung near the base making it easy to dump after an demo. When empty I can lift it with one hand.  (Inside I would add a hose bib to allow draining without making a mess)

My vise for heavy work is a 6.5" columbian attached to a utility pole buried 5' in the ground and concreted in---holds one of the shop trusses up. It's amusing when I'm doing heavy hammering on it as it drives the metal wall and roof.  Luckily I live in the country!

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I like both approaches, Thomas.  Especially the second.  That's the only way I think it would truly hold the vise. 

I know I'll figure this out some day.  But right now I'm not going to permanently attach the vise to something I can't move.....................because I have no idea where in the shop I want it.  I'm sure I'll find that "spot" when I start forging and need the vise.

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Well my next vise is going into a gazinta out in my driveway.  So I can remove it and store it inside or pop the cap and drop in the shaft and be able to work all around it with long stock.  Got the vise and materials; just waiting till after the electricity gets put in---my electrician suggested I not confuse the CoOp...(I have 5 post vises currently mounted in the shop, 2 travel set ups and several vises waiting on a need---I think my SSiL and the twin grand kids need one...they were cheap and easy to find back in Ohio in the '90's...)

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The casters aren’t going to touch the ground unless it is tipped back. 

I’d love to do a big plywood base but I’m really short on space. Everything I have (forge, anvil, grinder, band saw, tools, drill press, work table...) all has to fit into about 2/3 of my 3rd car garage.

On this guy, the base is 1/2” thick and heavy. I’ll wheel it into place and then throw a couple of sand bags I have laying around for this kind of thing (dead weight) across the plate to make sure it doesn’t walk around. 


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