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Hi there from Ethiopia


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Hello Everybody,

Started my question somewhere else (rectangular Hardyholes in my anvil) but I guess I should show some manners and first introduce myself:

My name is Thomas, I live since 11 years in Ethiopia, where we are building a kind of self-sufficiency farm (private project) and where I am running a small assembly line for plug'n'play solar systems for rural electrification (job).

I have to say I am extremely early in forging. actually never did it yet still. (just bought an anvil a few days ago)
As I said, I am much on self-sufficient living and like having some good basics in many directions.

I believe it is good for man to know many things, even if not perfectly. "Jack of all Trades - Master of none" is not a negative term for me. So I like working in electronics, wood, agriculture, sheet metal work, concrete, knowing a bit of car-fixing... well you name it, you need it all when you run your farm ;)   --> getting some basics in blacksmithing is in this view almost a must.
I hope forging won't be a "short fancy", but I don't think so... and if really, then I will probably pick it up again another time.

An Anvil is good to have even out of blacksmithing  (simply forming sheet metal and wires and stuff) so I got already one. In Ethiopia you have to take what you find. And that is usually not much. And you have to grab it, even if it looks expensive, because if somebody else does, you might never get it again.  (There are some places where they sell old materials, while everything is super expensive in Ethiopia, here you can be sometimes really lucky, e.g. finding a nice snap-on wrench that they do not recognize as quality and therefore price as the Chinese stuff)

That puts me in a little dilemma right now, because when I bought the anvil and bought a small engineering vise as well, I saw just next to it a freaking post vice. I did not expect to find one in Ethiopia, I don't know if you will ever find another one... The price is not really low and I mean, I am a real starter and given divers interests and needs,  I'll probably not become an absolute heavy user of my forge-workshop but who knows. I am afraid to spend and spend money on stuff that I won't use later.


Ok, I guess enogh intro!  

Happy to be in this forum!




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Welcome Thomas, there is a threat 'Read this first' here on IFI. if the other members in the states wake up they will guide you there (accomplishing your profile). And also the gals en guy's like pictures. However welcome to the craft,  if you have question search by (IFI + Google) or ask. Where you original from. Cheers, Hans 

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Welcome!  I use my postvises for everything; more than I use machinist vises---wood working, sheet metal working, jewelry making, etc.  Can you bargain the price down any?  And be sure to check out the screw and screwbox; everything else on a vise is fairly easy to repair; but the screw and screwbox *isn't*. I rate their condition as around 80% of the "cost" of the vise.

Have you read the Blacksmithing manuals designed for Africa that the United nations Food and Agriculture Organization put out?  (Linked below)




Also "The Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander Weygers is very much oriented toward self reliance and making do with what you can find locally.

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Yes, done, sorry for that. Thanks for the Greetings!


If i'd go back to check it out, what exactly am I looking for at the screw and the screwbox? I guess I'd see if the thread is seriously damaged which I think you would feel as well when turning?! But maybe I have to take a closer look?

Thanks for the links and the book recommendation. 


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Post vises are tough and are designed to be hammered on.  Machinist vises are generally cast iron and will crack and break if hammered on. As the essence of smithing is "smiting" = hammering; the postvise is greatly to be preferred for smithing use!

Post vise screws usually have a very square thread configuration [ ]. With wear they get angled |\  or even sharp /\.  The threads inside the screwbox also can wear the same way; though usually if the screw is good, the threads in the screwbox will be good.  Check the screwbox for cracks. Also check that the fin on the outside of the screwbox fits well in the gap for it on the vise's yoke. This is what keeps the screwbox from rotating as the screw is tightened.

Old crudded oil and dust are common, I suggest soaking the screwbox and the screw---separately--in your favorite cheap grease solvent, (I tend to favor kerosene or diesel fuel) for a week and then use a scrub brush on them.  Dry them off and re-oil or grease the screw/screwbox.

The pivot bolt can be worn---if the top of both jaws are not the same height, check that.  If the pivot bolt hole is worn it can be drilled out to the next sized larger  and the bolt replaced.  The sides of the pivot joint should be cleaned and oiled to make it work easily.  I had one abused vise that the tops of the jaws were offset by an appreciable amount. I took it apart and heat shrunk and riveted a piece of steel in the old pivot hole in the moving jaw and re-drilled it to make the tops match.   Note that the jaws when closed often will be only touching at the top /| as they are angled so that they are parallel | | when opened a certain distance to hold work better as the moving jaw describes an arc as it's opened.

Having a missing mounting plate and/or spring is common and easy to replace---I even look for such vises as they can be bought cheaper!

Finally it takes a lot of wear and abuse to make a post vise totally unusable; BUT never pay top dollar for a worn and abused piece of equipment!

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Thanks for the details. 

Will have a look again, I guess. If I have the time, am for some consultancy work in the capital city (I live normally 550km north) and the time is tight but you are reinforcing my urge to go back and see if I should not simply take it.  at the end, money is there to be spent ;)

What about the jaws: could imagine that such are often a bit abused?!  I guess they are not to be replacable as they are for some machinist vices?


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The jaws on my Frankenvise are rather battered, but they still work fine. If I ever need to get a grip (who am I kidding -- I always need to get a grip) on something that the chewed-up jaws can't grab (for example, a piece of thin plate), I throw in a couple of bits of angle iron as jaw liners.

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