Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vise Grip

Five years ago "I bought the farm." It all sorts of intriguing out buildings with promise of buried treasure. In the end I sent thousands of pounds of scrap metal to the recycler. One item I couldn't part with was an enormous bench vise. If I have any capability it is in wood. Of metal work, machining and vises I know little.

A couple of months ago I decided to bring it in from the barn and see what could be done to make it functional again. After some Googling around, I now understand that a Wilton is one of the premier bench vise makers. A picture is worth a thousand words so here was the problem..

After l long debate on GarageJournal.com I decided to go for fixing her up.

She's back in service and recovering nicely. She has a big scar, but wears it with pride.  Through  Portland Craigslist I found Jim W. Fox (the "W" stands for Wilton [no, just kidding]). He is owner of a blacksmith forge company named Thermal Artist.

He bravely took up the call. I believe he TIG welded it with silicone bronze. You will notice a collar around the body. The weld is clean, the action is smooth (only binding up slightly at full close).

Jim also fabricated the new handle to my spec. One end is retained by a countersunk socket screw and is removeable. Based on comments in these forums I made the handle slightly longer than the original.

The jaws were soaked in weak acid for 4 weeks (I ended up being away for longer than expected). I then painted them with Krylon Silver Metal. The body is painted Krylon Italian Olive. The screw is lubricated with EP grease and the sliding parts with teflon.

I'm into this for $105 bucks and a pretty happy camper.

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