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Thread: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

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    Default Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I need a vise to mount to the work bench so I can clamp stuff and bang on it. Mostly bike stuff but also things that are straight that need bending and bent things that need straightening. General purpose, durable, last forever....

    What says the VSalon hive mind?
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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    What size stuff do you want to clamp and bang? Listed vise jaw size does not tell the story, a 3 1/2" vise can weigh 20 or 40lbs(mass is good). I wouldn't stress over finding a Wilton(cult following, if you find one ok, they're good vises), good used vises can be found, I'd look for a used Columbian or similar. Here's a pic of a vise I bought new 40yrs ago, made in China, I've beaten the crap out of it, it's used more for general clamping and banging than either my Wilton or big Columbian. The base rotates but the best feature is the jaws rotate as well, plus has pipe jaws, a very decent(not close machinist grade though) vise. For a general duty vise this is hard to beat.



    Here's a link to a similar one(made by others too) although I have no idea the quality.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...12a981bd2c9087
    Take care of yourself in this time of crisis and realize sadness, anger and grief are part of the process Brian Clare

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    A fork steerer cutting guide.

    Sharpen my axes.

    Stuck things that corroded/rusted.

    Bend rebar, sheet metal, nothing heavy duty.

    Vises have a way of coming in handy once you have them. I just know nothing about the actual brands or width of jaws or depth of throat.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Vise in pic is 5" jaws, 70+- lbs. Vises are like bikes, you can pay a lot for the ultimate or less for a very adequate one. If you don't want to search for a good used one the one I've linked to for buying new (also branded by others) seems like a good starting point at around $200, it would definitely meet the uses you've listed. And again, those rotating jaws are very handy, surprisingly so.
    Take care of yourself in this time of crisis and realize sadness, anger and grief are part of the process Brian Clare

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I've heard too many stories of the vises from the big box hardware stores cracking.

    Keep an eye on craigslist. Older vises such as Charles Parker, Reed, and the aforementioned Columbian are quality. Expect to pay $100-$200 used. A 25-40lb. vise should meet your needs. Bonus if you get a vise that rotates. Don't focus too much on jaw width and throat depth. Pipe jaws are nice but probably not used that often.

    Restoring these vises is very simple and fun. Usually involves cleaning off rust, priming and spray paint, then lube everything and reassemble.

    Here's my recently restored vise. A little smaller than I wanted or recommend, but it works fine and the price was right (Free!). You'll find tons of these Littletown vises for sale on the used market. They must have been popular for their time.

    Vise - 1.jpg

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Lots of good v'salon stuff in here from way back.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Quote Originally Posted by jscottyk View Post
    Lots of good v'salon stuff in here from way back.
    Here's a pic of a high quality rotating jaw vise from that thread, and the owners(Steven Shand, Shand Cycles) comment under the pic.

    Take care of yourself in this time of crisis and realize sadness, anger and grief are part of the process Brian Clare

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I bought this for my father as a birthday present back in the 1970's. He used it for general farm and engine maintenance. It came back to me eventually and I have used it for all the bike frames that I have built and I expect to pass it on to my son when I put down my tools.


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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Nothing constructive to add but I think old vises look really cool. Even that nice looking restored yellow one above has dings and such. I would have a hard time buying a new one for a home shop.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Years ago I picked up a used / restored wilton from fleabay and never looked back.

    Spend for the quality. I've had lousy bench vises before and regreted it.

    Just because...If you want to beat something straight get a anvil. Good vise is not for beating. Just sayin'
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Wil...4AAOSwo4pfSSEX

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I think a few of us are saying similar things. If you buy a good quality, reasonable condition, used vice/vise you have a useful tool with a bit of history and something which will hold its value if you ever need to move it on.

    Mine has 110 mm jaws (4.3 inches). 4 1/4 to 5 inches is a useful size. If you want to do a lot of banging in your vise you should consider a leg vise or, as suggested above get an anvil as well as a vise. I, just two weeks ago, gave away a lovely Victorian leg vice to a friend who had more space to use it than I have.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jacobs View Post
    I bought this for my father as a birthday present back in the 1970's. He used it for general farm and engine maintenance. It came back to me eventually and I have used it for all the bike frames that I have built and I expect to pass it on to my son when I put down my tools.
    Record used to be made in England and were very good quality. The brand name is now part of the Irwin group, the ones available over here are made in China.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    Record used to be made in England and were very good quality. The brand name is now part of the Irwin group, the ones available over here are made in China.
    I think that vice cost me £74 in 1973 which is equivalent to about £786 today. A new Irwin Record No 23 vice costs £379.82 in the UK. I don't know where they are made as the catalogue photo does not show the "Made in England" side. Used (made in England) ones on ebay are about £175 to £200. I do not know whether the Chinese ones are inferior or not.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    According to RS, the smaller ones, labelled "Irwin Record" are Chinese while some larger ones are still made in England.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    A feature of the Record 23, which is not shown on any of the other vices pictured, is the quick release to the jaws (controlled by the lever at the front). This saves lots of time in adjusting the gape for different sizes.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Years ago I picked up a used / restored wilton from fleabay and never looked back.

    Spend for the quality. I've had lousy bench vises before and regreted it.

    Just because...If you want to beat something straight get a anvil. Good vise is not for beating. Just sayin'
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Wil...4AAOSwo4pfSSEX
    I acquired the old Wilton Bullet that was from the shop where Russ Denny & crew worked........lotta cool hands used that vise.

    And what I have as a counterweight to my Anvil jig is - an anvil.
    It's my buddy's families anvil from AZ / BITD = it gets used more then you would think !!

    - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 09-07-2020 at 10:17 AM.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Guy Washburn

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I picked this Wilton up on Craigslist for $75 and then restored it. One of the nice things about Wilton is the vice screw is sealed so they don’t get contaminated with whatever your working on so the threads never develop any appreciable play so when you are doing critical things like suspension work etc there is zero slop in the jaws.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    Quote Originally Posted by GrantGunderson View Post
    I picked this Wilton up on Craigslist for $75 and then restored it. One of the nice things about Wilton is the vice screw is sealed so they don’t get contaminated with whatever your working on so the threads never develop any appreciable play so when you are doing critical things like suspension work etc there is zero slop in the jaws.
    Jinx. That's the same model I got off Fleabay. Yours, of course, looks great. Mine, not so much.

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    Default Re: Recommend a Good Bench Vise

    I've got a generic vise that I only use for bike stuff. I have a bag of grooved wooden blocks that I use to clamp bike stuff. I use some leftover plastic hydro hose blocks to hold cables.
    Weight Doper

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