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repairing a small post vise


Ed Steinkirchner

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found this at a yard sale for about 10 bucks, and it has set in the corner for a few years now so i figured itd be as good of a time as any to give it a once over. the screw is the most obvious problem. someone has "repaired " it in the past by lopping it off and welding on a 1" bolt in its place and discarding the thread box in lieu of a torche cut square nut. I currently dont have an adequate replacement  piece of acme thread and dont really feel like making a square thread on the lathe right now, so i decided to keep the bolt  because its a small light duty vise. Another thing showing its light purpose is the way the mounting bracket is attached. it appears that it was a tapered square with threads at the very end but i dont know if that is original as it all seems very light. But regardless i will replace the cludged in bent nail with an extension and a slot for a wedge but will likely replace the whole shebang with a more substantial bracket later. i also will leave provisions for replacing the screw and box later. Now onto the progress pics!

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Tanged mounting bracket is an indication of age---unless it's a retrofit drilled later.  Is the pivot bolt held in place with a wedge?  My old vise they made the screwbox out of a handful of pieces forged brazed together with the  female thread being wound around the male thread and then unscrewed and forge brazed into the screwbox.

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no, the pivot is square bolt but its not as old as the rest, and yes the leg hole has definitely been punched and drifted to a taper approximately .5 inches square and wider on the "back".  As for the thread, thats exactly how i intend to make the female thread later when i go over this properly (after finding/making the male thread first of course) as well as a more accurate thread box. right now its more of a "get by". after getting things in a workable state i am going to throw it in my electrolysis barrel for derusting to see more of the details as well. Something else that makes me wonder about its age other than the mounting system is the way the ring is pretty obviously welded around the foot.

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1 minute ago, Jealdi said:

Mind if I inquire as to how you've made your electrolysis barrel?

I'll show it in a seprate post when i get to that step probably  but as a basic description, its a blue plastic barrel with the top cut off and a crude cage of scrap bars welded together around the outside as the one electrode (the workpiece is the other), and filled with water and a bit of calcium carbonate to make it conductive. then i use an old 12 volt battery charger as the power source.

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My vise is a 3.5" jaw, very light build.  It has the rectangular mortise for a tang mount and a wedged pivot bolt. I showed it to Frank Turley and he believes that it predated 1800  and probably came over to America as part of a trained immigrant's "tools of his trade".  Bought it at Quad-State for US$20 the same year I picked up the 6.6" columbian for $50 at Q-S as well.  I still use the small one from time to time; but students are forbidden to touch it! 

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15 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

My vise is a 3.5" jaw, very light build.  It has the rectangular mortise for a tang mount and a wedged pivot bolt. I showed it to Frank Turley and he believes that it predated 1800  and probably came over to America as part of a trained immigrant's "tools of his trade".  Bought it at Quad-State for US$20 the same year I picked up the 6.6" columbian for $50 at Q-S as well.  I still use the small one from time to time; but students are forbidden to touch it! 

im curious now about how the bracket was attached. was it wedged on the spring side and have you shown pics of it in a post that i can search for by chance? Sounds interesting!

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the more i look at this vise, the older it gets!

i notice now that the front jaw is forge welded on and the hinge area of it has been doubled back and welded to add mass, plus the bevel forging of the shank between hinge and eye is not even, its about 10degrees off of being right, though it is square in cross section. also there appear to be fullering marks on the front hinge jaw pivot but im not sure their reason. As well the post side definitely has the "cheeks" of the hinge forge welded on and it has some deep fullering marks inbetween on the plates, i presume to mame sure the cheeks made good contact with the post. The hinge hole in one side of the cheeks has a small "key" i  it which ive seen once or twice on other vises before to keep the bolt in position and prevent rotation , though the bolt is certainly not original.

 

im intrested to see what electrolysis reveals when the rust is gone.

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Generally the older the vise (or anvil) the more pieces that were forge welded together to get the final shape.  I have a robustus postvise where there was heavy rusting in the pivot area and you can see around 4 separate pieces that were forge welded to make the pivot for the moving jaw. (The rust pits do a great job of holding grease and most of the surface is still flat.)

Good catch on the keyed pivot bolt.  If you think about it you wouldn't want a wedged bolt to rotate as it might go upside down and let the wedge work it's way out.

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