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I Forge Iron

My first post vise. 7” Warren tool & forge co.


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So I’ve been on the hunt for a decent post vise for a while now. Just like anvils in my area anything with a fair price is sold within minutes to an hour tops of being posted for sale. Every time I found one under $150 that wasn’t missing the spring and mount I was too slow to buy it.

Finally someone advertised an estate sale mentioning they had a welding table with a leg vise on it for $250. They didn’t have any pictures and I managed to respond within 20 minutes of it being posted and I asked if they would sell the vise separate from the table (although if I had a way to load the table I would have bought the combo because the plate of steel alone on this table was worth the $250). The lady selling it was probably at least 70 to 80 years old and said she wasn’t tech savvy enough to send me pictures but she told me nothing is missing and it works and she would sell the vise separate for $150. I had a good feeling about it so I made the 1hr and 20min drive  without seeing pictures. My budget for this vise hunt was $150 to begin with and I was going to be happy with a 4” vise. When I got there I realized it wasn’t the original mount and the spring didn’t look original but the spring seemed to work good. I tried to offer her $120 just because it’s always worth negotiating someone’s asking price with something you find on Craigslist. I said “will you take $120” and I started to try to tell her why I’m offering less saying “it’s not the original spring, it’s not the original mount, and one of the washers doesn’t look original”, but before I could even finish the old bird just said “no, no, no” and she turned around and walked away to go help someone else who might want to buy some of her other things. She wouldn’t even talk to me for less than $150 so I paid it. I didn’t have a tape measure with me when I bought it and I thought it might be a 6” but when I got it home and measured it I realized it’s a 7” and I found a stamp on it that says 140 so I’m guessing that it weighs #140. I don’t know what the going price currently is on a 7” post vise but the jaws line up, the threads look good, the spring works great, and it’s almost twice the size of what I thought I was going to get with my budget so I’m happy.

It was stored outside so I took it apart and cleaned up the rust. I plan to forge a new mount one of these days and possibly reuse the spring that someone already made for it if I can cut the weld and save it. I think the original style mounts look cool compared to what’s on it now but the big plate that’s on it works. Someone had welded the mount and spring to the vise but I think I can cut the welds with a grinder and clean it up when I decide I want to make a new mount. 

Sorry for writing a novel to tell you guys the whole story. But after missing out on multiple sales that were only advertised for 30 minutes I was excited to get this one. Here’s a couple pictures of the vise and my cleaning of it. It’s not perfect but I don’t think it’s bad either. Oh and it’s stamped “warren tool & forge co” “Quikwerk” “140”.

By the way I don’t plan to keep it on that stand unless I add a piece of 2x12 on the bottom Long enough that I can stand on it. The leg is pretty secure in the hole I drilled  in the wood. With the large mounting plate and leg in the wood and just the weight of this thing you can’t flex anything but the whole set up is front heavy and tippy without a longer piece on the bottom to stand on. The stand was something I had a piece of railroad rail mounted on but now that I have an anvil I don’t need it and it was already the perfect height so it was a good temporary place to mount it. I want to mount it to my bench but I still might hunt down a 4” leg vise for the bench. 

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Looks like a great start on your vise vice!  Just a comment on your searching technique; seems like you were going for items being openly advertised by folks trying to make money off of selling them.  You may want to investigate the TPAAAT for pointers on how to find items NOT on the open market and for better deals.

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Thanks for the tip. I definitely asked around for my stuff before searching online if that’s what you mean. Right now with the stupid rona virus it isn’t as easy. All of the big flea markets that usually happen in Washington didn’t happen. The northwest blacksmith association is doing virtual meetings only and their Facebook page is loaded with people asking the same questions about where to find an anvil or a post vise. Most people I asked if they knew anyone with a leg vise thought I was looking for used S** toys lol. When I was looking for an anvil, I found numerous old farmers that had big collections of old tools and when I asked if they knew anyone with an anvil they all pretty much said no but that would be pretty cool to have wouldn’t it. There was 2 people that led me in the direction of someone I wouldn’t have otherwise known they had an anvil and both times it wasn’t for sale even though they don’t do any smithing. The leg vise was a little harder for people to know what I was talking about compared to an anvil. But that was pretty much as good as I can do during this corona virus situation. 

Right now people In Washington are selling 70lb NC anvils with a homemade stand for $500+ and they don’t last a day at that price even though the anvil originally costs about $300 and can even be shipped for $30 from one website. I’ve seen at least 3 different NC anvils sold for that price in the last month and they sold quick. When I got my NC anvil on a stand that was supposedly only forged on twice I was lucky to get it for $200. I messaged the people within 10 minutes of it going up for sale and they still had to check their messages to see who messaged first so they can give me first dibs and hold it for me. I’m like “what are you talking about”? It just got posted for sale 10 minutes ago under an ad that said “garage sale” with no picture. I got pretty lucky and they also threw in a 100lb propane tank that’s still certified for 5 years and it was full, 3 nice heavy/sturdy tongs, 4 hardy tools, about 15 ft or more of 1.5”x.125” 1095 and 1075 steel, about 8 ft of big wide bandsaw blades he said was 15n20, all for an extra $40 on top of the $200 for the anvil. These people and their story of why they were selling everything they own in their house because they were “moving” still makes me wonder if it was even their home or their things they were selling. I’m a recovering addict and I’m telling you they were a little sketchy. But their phone was blowing up while I was there about the blacksmithing tools and nobody was interested in any of their carpentry tools or tons of antiques they had or the furniture haha.

I’m just glad I didn’t end up buying my vise off of ebay and spend $300+ for a 4” vise that I don’t get to lay my hands on before buying.

Anyways, I have a couple questions. The washer between the box and the leg on a leg vise was never made out of brass right? I’m pretty sure the one on my vise isn’t original but it works and I don’t see it failing anytime soon. Also is it common for the threads to be less pronounced and almost smooth closer to the handle where the screw kind of rides in the pocket of the leg in front of the handle? I can’t tell if they were machined that way or worn that way. The part of the screw that threads into the nut or “box” looks like it has plenty of strength and life left in it to do its job for a long time if I’m not putting a cheater bar on it.  But the part outside of that, closest to the handle is worn enough it doesn’t seem possible to wear that much just from laying against the steel in the pocket of the leg when it’s turned. I guess anything is possible after somewhere around 100 years of use. My third question is if the legs of these things were forge welded together and if it’s common to see the seam of where the forge weld happened? I’ve never noticed it from pictures but you can’t tell in my pictures either unless I’m trying to show you. I also thought maybe someone shortened the leg because it didn’t have the flange at the bottom. But I can’t see any sign of it being broken or cut besides up higher where it looks like a forge weld. I measured the vise and its 42” or 43” long. Based on my research, that’s about the average height of these things no matter if it’s a 4” or 7”. I will post pictures of these concerns when I get the chance. I’m just curious. No matter what I’m still happy with what I got for the money compared to buying a cast iron vise from somewhere like Home Depot like most people I know.

Heres another novel haha hopefully at least you can’t say I didn’t give you enough info.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes it is common for the leg to be forge welded on and it's quite visible on a number of the ones I have owned.  Also shop made repairs may not be dressed as carefully as they are intended to get it back into use!  I repaired a post vise leg that was partially broken.  Heated it up to welding temp and forge welded it and then wrapped the weak section with a strip of real wrought iron and forge welded that.  VERY visible and consistent with a shop made repair.

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