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Replacement Handle for Leg Vise


Master of None

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Good evening all. Anyone know a source for a leg vise replacement handle? Just picked up a 100lb.+ old leg vise with a cobbled mild steel handle. Looks like a pretzel more than a vise handle. The existing handle is about 18” long and 5/8” wide. Thanks…Mike

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The problem, as I see it, is how to put some kind of a knob on the end of the new handle once it has been inserted into the hole in the end of the screw.  It's not very easy moving the whole vice from the forge to the anvil to upset and forge a knob.  If it were me, I would cut off one end of the existing one, assuming that it still had its original uniform thickness, forge in straight, then put some threads on the cut end, insert into the hole in the screw end, and thread on a nut to replace the cut off knob.  You could weld or otherwise secure the nut to the handle if you wanted to be sure that it didn't back off.

Alternatively, you might be able to use an oxy-acetylene torch to heat the bent handle and straighten it in place without having to cut off an end.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I remove the screw from the vise. Take a piece of 4130 or 5160 normalized, the right diameter and forge weld a ball on one end. To make the ball a piece of square mild steel wrapped around the end of the handle. Put the handle into the screw and forge weld another ball to the other end. Then replace the screw into the vise. Easy as can be.

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Duh!  I hadn't thought of removing the screw from the vise!  It shows that Irondragon is a much more experienced smith at this sort of thing than I am.  Still a bit awkward to manipulate but a whole lot easier than the entire vise.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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My old frankenvise (now passed on to another smith) had a replacement handle that was basically a 16" rod with a short threaded section at either end, nuts screwed onto those sections, and the ends of the bolt peened over to lock the nuts permanently in place. Not particularly comfortable to use, but functional.

I suspect that this was a demonstration of ThomasPowers's adage, "There is nothing half so permanent as a temporary solution."

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I have to credit Bob Patrick for showing how to add a ball on the end of a round bar. He did a demonstration at a BOA meeting years ago. That trick is faster than upsetting the bar to make the ball. The size of the ball is determined by the size of the square stock, scarf the ends, wrap around the bar and forge weld it then shape it into a ball.

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One option I've used before that hasn't yet been mentioned is a mortise and tenon joint.  I forged a new handle with an integral knob on one end and a round tenon on the other.  The tenon need only be very slight.  I forged a ball of matching size and drilled a hole to match the tenon and followed with a large countersink. I set the tenon with a torch heat, handle held in another vise.  Some file work on the end and the tenon head disappeared.  

-A.  

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I agree with Thomas again.  The handle, in particular, looks like a replacement from the original, too long and too thin.  And it looks like a square nut on the end.  If the screw works OK leave it alone but the handle can be upgraded.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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