Giant Blacksmith Vise From Start To Finish

In any proper workshop you want to be able to securely hold a workpiece, whether it’s a tiny PCB or a heavy piece of forged steel. [Jason Marburger] from Fireball Tool needed a really large heavy-duty vise, so he built himself a massive 1490 lbs / 676 kg floor-standing blacksmith vise from scratch.

Blacksmith vises are designed to take a lot of heavy abuse, such as holding heavy pieces of steel that are being hammered. [Jason]’s vise stands about 3 feet tall, and the main frame components were cut from 1 5/8 inch (41.3 mm) steel with a water jet cutter. The jaws are operated with a large hand wheel connected to a lead screw. Bearings on the lead screw allow the hand wheel to be spun like a flywheel, allowing it to be quickly opened and closed. The weight of the moving jaw keeps the lead screw under tension, eliminating any backlash. This allows for really fine control over the holding force, which [Jason] demonstrates by carefully clamping a tiny screw. With the hand wheel alone the vise can exert 12880 lb / 5800 kg, but a hydraulic lift was also added, boosting the force to 30000 lbs. The deep throat allows a large object to be clamped, and the jaws can also be offset to clamp something to the side of the vise.

The vise was beautifully finished with powder coating and pin striping, which will no doubt wear over time if it’s properly used, but the vise itself should last a few lifetimes. While this isn’t something you can really build in a home workshop, it is always inspiring to see what is possible with a bit more tools, knowledge and skill. The build is documented in a 4 part series (link in first paragraph), but we’ve added a short highlights reel below for your viewing pleasure.

[Jason] really knows his way around a piece of steel, and we’ve previously covered his techniques for cleaning up the inside to square tubing to make telescoping tubes. Another interesting recent vise build was [Alexandre Chappel]’s wide bench vise that used 3D printed gears to drive two lead screws simultaneously.

17 thoughts on “Giant Blacksmith Vise From Start To Finish

  1. Minor gripe- it’s not a “blacksmiths vice”.

    Those exist. They are called blacksmiths post vices.
    You can find them for a couple hundred or less if you look (used). I’m a blacksmith on the side, and member of 2 separate blacksmithing organizations.

    This vice I’ve seen before, and it is amazing, but it doesn’t have a name- it’s just a ridiculous custom vice.

    He can do blacksmithing with it, and anything else he wants, just like with almost any vice under the sun.

    But as far as dedicated vices specifically for blacksmiths, this is not that.

    It is damn cool though, makes me want a waterjet. His whole channel is pretty damn awesome if you’ve never seen it before.

  2. No ironworker that actually uses a working vise, would put pinstripes on it….lol. Besides, at a certain point, bigger isn’t more advantageous, just more heavy. My 100 year old 140 lb vise will take just as much beating with hammers as a 20,000 lb vise. In fact, after 100 years of hammering, it has held up perfectly fine. Bigger just means it’s more of a bitch to move, or someone is compensating for something small

    1. He said he needed at least a 30″ throat depth, I don’t think he revealed the why part of that yet.
      It will be interesting to see if he releases plans for this as he did for some of his other tools he’s made.

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