Restoring A 100 Year Old Vice To Pristine Condition

We love our vices. They hold pipes for us to saw away at, wood while we carve, and circuit boards so that we can solder on components. So we keep them in shape by cleaning and greasing them every now and then, [MakeEverything] went even further. He found a 100-year-old vice that was in very rough shape and which was going to be thrown out and did a beautiful restoration job on it.

It was actually worse than in rough shape. At some point, one of the jaws had been replaced by welding on a piece of rebar where the jaw would normally go. So he made entirely new jaws from solid brass as well as the pins to hold them firmly in place. We applaud his attention to detail. After removing all the old paint and corrosion, he painted it with a “hammered” spray paint to give it a nice hammered look. Though when he made the raised letters stand out by applying gold paint to them using an oil-based paint marker, we felt that was just showing off. The result is almost too gorgeous to use, but he assures us he will use it. You can see his process, as well as have a good look at the newly revived vice in the video below.

A while ago, we asked Hackaday readers what their favorite tools are. Check out the discussion and pipe in with your own.

27 thoughts on “Restoring A 100 Year Old Vice To Pristine Condition

  1. for funsies:

    vice: immoral or wicked behavior.
    vise: a metal tool with movable jaws that are used to hold an object firmly in place while work is done on it, typically attached to a workbench.

    Or, as Prof. Brians says: “A bad habit is a vice, which may have you in its grip”

  2. Making a replacement jaw from brass seems a bit limiting in terms of what you can grip with it. Normally engineers vise jaws are steel with a grip pattern so you can really apply pressure (eg to another piece of steel) if you need to.

    Then you make a few sets of different ‘soft jaws’ to fit over the steel jaws. The ones I have made and use are a piece of copper sheet hammered with a rubber mallet over each jaw so they stay on when opened, another set from two pieces of tin, and a final set made from tin with strips of leather glued on. Or you can buy something similar to that https://vicesoftjaws.com/

    1. Looking at his workshop, I guess he already has a vise with steel jaws, and he wanted something different with softer jaws.

      I use a steel vise as well, and use two simple pieces of aluminium L profile when I want to grip something that I don’t want to damage.

  3. I have a Wilton vise in the shop like new, other than the patina that comes with age. I see the same model. is now being sold new for $680. I’m lucky to have my gradpa’s 2 heavy duty vises that didn’t need any restoration. Been around 50 years that I know of and can be more than80 years old. No clue as to how old it is. Most likely been in the family for at least 80 years.

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