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shop vise advise

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Calixt0

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#1
hello all, I blew out my 4" harbor freight vise last night.. looking at getting something else want something quality but not super expensive. I've looked at the wiltons and their usa made stuff is just too much.. the shop vises and mechanics are ok but still pretty expensive..

Any and all advice would be appreciated!

Shaun
 

wlburton

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#2
In my area (Minneapolis) there are almost always good older (the older the better in many cases) U.S. made bench vises for sale on Craig's List, including Wilton, Reed, Parker, Craftsman, etc. There's no need to buy a new vise. Except for Wilton, which tend to be overpriced, they're always under $100 and frequently under $50.

Bill
 

mikey

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#3
... looking at getting something else want something quality but not super expensive.
So would we all! As Bill said, if you want quality then you are not going to find a new one that is comparable to vises of the past. Yost is currently made in Taiwan, Record is now Irwin and they are made in China. Only Wilton makes some of their vises in this country nowadays. If you want a high quality vise, you are looking for vises from days past and they will all be used vises. They will also be relatively expensive unless the seller doesn't know what he has and is selling it on Craigslist or ebay.

There are some vise designs that have stood the test of time (not to mention incredible abuse) and the strongest of these are referred to as a T-type. The jaws looked like a "T" with a very wide and stout vertical leg. You will find this design on Parker and Reed vises, although I'm sure others used it, too. These vises were made of cast ductile iron and are tough as hell. Accordingly, they are heavy for their size. My 4" Parker weighs about 75#.

I'm with Bill. You best chance at a good vise at a decent price is to look for a used vise in good shape locally. Makers with good reputations are Parker, Reed, Prentiss, Athol, Yost and Columbian. Wiltons are also good but they are more costly for some reason.

At a time when the best vises made were from the USA, Parker was considered the best of the lot. If you can find one in good shape, grab it. Prices vary widely. Mine, shown below, cost me $50.00. Most will go for somewhere in the mid to high $200.00 range.

CRW_4315.jpg
 

StonewellMark

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#4
Search Craigslist!!...they always seem to pop up in groups or nothing at all so keep looking...they'll show up!
 

Ken from ontario

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#5
Let me tell you all a story on a YOST vise I almost had:
A couple of years ago I saw an ad on our local classified (Kijiji) of an older model/rusty YOST vise with a couple of attachments for $25, that ad was on for 3-4 days and all this time I was debating with myself whether I let the owner know what a gem of a vise he had and he was not asking nearly enough for it, anyhow I finally emailed him and told him the story and gave him my opinion on how much he should be asking, ( at least $150-$200) he emailed me back and said it was his grandfather's he didn't realize it was an expensive vise, he thanked me and said:"I think I'll keep it".:cry:
PS, I already had a couple of good Record vises so I wasn't devastated for missing the chance but how often an opportunity like that comes up to buy an old Yost?, not often in my neck of the wood.
 
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talvare

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#6
Shaun,

There are a lot of good used American made vises on eBay. I have a 5" Columbian that is a great vise. I've had several other vises including Wilton and Craftsman, and the Columbian is by far the best of those I've owned.

Ted
 

Joncooey

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#7
I find that the Record is a real good vise; especially if you can get one that was still made in England.
 

ACHiPo

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#8
Great thread! I'm looking for a bench vise as well. Previous vises I've owned(cheapo imports) have had sloppy swivels, so I'm leaning away from that capability, but rotation and the ability to clamp round stock seems attractive. A swivel with two locks could be ok, too.

The good vintage brands seem to list for $200-$500 in the Bay Area CL, which seems high, but shipping a 90 lb hunk of iron isn't cheap, either.
 

mikey

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#9
Quite often, these old vises will have a heavy layer of rust all over them. They look unsalvageable but they can be brought back to life with an electrolytic bath. The important thing is that there is no structural damage to any part of the vise and the jaws must close precisely. This is my Parker as found:

IMG_3892.JPG
IMG_3891.JPG

I like rusty vises - they're cheaper to buy and they clean up nice!
 

scwhite

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#10
hello all, I blew out my 4" harbor freight vise last night.. looking at getting something else want something quality but not super expensive. I've looked at the wiltons and their usa made stuff is just too much.. the shop vises and mechanics are ok but still pretty expensive..

Any and all advice would be appreciated!

Shaun
I have two wiltons they are very good vices
I bought one brand new for $560.
I bout the other one used $200.
They both a $600. Plus vices now
 

joshua43214

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#11
It is really hard to go wrong with Wilton.
When I was a mechanic, Most shops I worked in had Wiltons. They can take an unbelievable amount of abuse.
Mechanics love their 4lb (1.8Kg) beaters, and don't hesitate to clamp something in the vise and go at it with full intent.
I have broken Record vises - they are an excellent vise, but are not as stout as a Wilton.
IMO, the Record is best used as a clamping fixture for holding things, the Wilton is best used for hard work.
I have found the Wilton deals easily with minor abuse like forming or bending material over the jaws, or taping the handle with the hammer to snug up the jaws. The Wilton also tends to have better rotation clamps than other vises and will not skip during heavy filing or moderate hammering.
 

ezduzit

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#12
Just bought Wilton's 8" drill press vise; made in Taiwan. Very impressive.
 

Silverbullet

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#13
I'd keep cking craigslist , eBay and any other used item store. Pawnshop . You'll save money and get better vises that way.
 

Jonathans

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#14
I use Wilton vises now because I can afford them and enjoy old iron.
I have to say though, years ago I purchased one of thos real big Chinese rotating vises.
Beat the hell out of it for years (20) and its still going strong, albeit it with a little bondo
missing here and there. Best 80 bucks I ever spent on a vise.
 

Cheeseking

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#15
Love my little 4" Wilton bullet vise️. Got it at an auction. Apparently nobody wanted the ugly painted 2x6 constructed wooden bench laminated with a 1/4" steel plate for a top. $50 LOL. I just demolished the bench tossed the wood in the dumpster and kept the top plate and vise. I really need to mount it to a more sturdy bench with all four screws to get full utility. IMO the Wilton bullet vise is what every machine shop should have at least one of. They are goofy expensive new and the quality may or may not be the same as the older ones. Like others mentioned, I would keep a watch out for one locally on CL/ebay or like I did at industrial auction. Patience.....
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1498398533.071202.jpg
 
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scwhite

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#16
I have two Wilton Vises I bought one new it is the biggest one a 450. I have had this one about 20 years
The other one I bought used but it had never been used or even bolted to a workbench I guess you could say it was new also it has the pipe jaws . I think it would be a 350 both are Machinist Vises
 

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Old junk

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#17
Wilton is the way to go.pricey,yes but you will only buy one.my dad told me a long time ago "good tools are not cheap,cheap tools are not good"
 

ddickey

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#18
Yost still makes vises in the US.
 
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#19
Yost still makes vises in the US.
Bought a new one off of Amazon about six years ago. Castings were from Taiwan. Machined in USA. Fairly nice and decent or the money. It's one of the one's painted yellow, if that tells you anything. Still haven't setup and used the vise. Still laying under the surface plate stand. Need to drag it out and mount it to the workbench my son & I built last year.
 

Splat

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#20
I've been pleased with my 6" Phase II vise.
 

randyjaco

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#21
Yard sales, estate sales and flea markets are excellent places to find quality vises. Over the past few years I have picked up over a dozen Wilton, Charles Parker and other old quality vises for cheap.
Randy
 

Joe P.

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#22
Yard sales, estate sales and flea markets are excellent places to find quality vises. Over the past few years I have picked up over a dozen Wilton, Charles Parker and other old quality vises for cheap.
Randy
I was going to mention flea markets. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a 4" Colombian vise for $5! IMG_2904.JPG


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

royesses

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#23
Craftsman still sells a made in Japan vise that gets great ratings. About $120 or so. I went with a 4" and a 6' regular craftsman. Ace hardware gave me a deal on them 4"-$24.00, 6" $34.00 If they break I'm not out a lot of money. They actually look pretty decent.
Roy
 
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ddickey

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#24
Do you have a link for that vise Royesses?
 

royesses

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#25

markba633csi

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#26
The old Sears vises were made by Columbian and they're tough. I abused my Dad's for years. Unfortunately it looks like the leadscrew nuts (which strip) are not available new from Sears anymore so beware if you buy a Sears vise thinking you can get it fixed easily- you may have to make the part
Mark S.
 

KBeitz

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#27
I love reading about vises... Over the years I kinda turned into a vise collector.
It just happened. At one time I had over 200 vises. I think I'm just in a good area.
Here is some of my favorites....

Emmert 1.JPG Chain drive.JPG Stillson Vice.JPG  patent  1915.jpg Big vise.JPG Wilton 1.JPG
 

KBeitz

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#29
Thats so cool.... There was a factory in Pa called Scranton Lace that employed 5000 people.
When it closed up I bought 150 parker vises to resale. I kept 3 for myself. I was told that some
of the Parker family work there and thats one reason they had so many Parker vises,.
 

Allan

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#30
Vises are one of my vices.
I have a few- none of them great but adequate for most of what I do. Always keeping my eye out for another one. If you live in an area that had foundries or oil field work they seem to be more plentiful. Most of them around here are farmer grade junk or worn and beaten to death.
Still waiting for the deal of a lifetime. But, like Ken in Ontario, I probably wouldn't feel right about paying so little and would have to let them know the true value. Then I wouldn't be able to afford it.
 
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