Vise, Vise, Baby

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SteveHGraham
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Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by SteveHGraham » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:01 am

I keep thinking one day I'll get a really nice bench vise. I have a Chinese Wilton which works fine, but I am still curious about better tools. It seems like it's not easy finding decent used vises. This week I discovered a couple of new options, both supposedly forged, with steel rated at 90,000 psi.

First, Bessey. Made in Europe. They make a weird vise which is a lot cheaper than Wilton. It's stronger than cast. It can be adjusted for slop when it gets old. They're light for the width of the jaws. A 6" vise weighs 49 pounds. The tommy bars are held in with rubber rings, so they can be replaced easily. They are built to block crud from going into the works. All of it sounds good, but the jaws are not replaceable. They come with pipe jaws which are not replaceable either.

I'm wondering if it's that big a deal if you can't replace a vise's jaws. I have heard of vises breaking in other areas, but it's hard to imagine breaking a jaw.

The 6" vise costs $450, which is way below the $1000+ cost of a Wilton.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/BESSEY-6-in ... /301233426

Second, Capri. These are from Taiwan. Very similar to the Bessey, but much cheaper. Replaceable jaws. Capri vises have welds on them, holding the jaws on (not the replaceable parts).

I'm wondering if it's possible to trust welded jaws.

Supposedly, these vises are the same as the discontinued Yost FSV series. Amazon charges $262 for a 6" Capri vise, and the weight is 42 lbs.

https://www.amazon.com/Capri-Tools-1051 ... pons&psc=1#

There's also a third vise. Yost replaced its FSV vises with a series called ADI. These are cast vises from good old China, but Yost claims they have a special type of cast iron which is stronger than forged steel: 130,000 psi versus 90,000. These vises are cheap, and they're light. A 6" job costs $325 on Amazon and weighs only 42 pounds.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DM ... 0DER&psc=1

Would you trust a vise with welds on the body?
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

John Hasler
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by John Hasler » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:23 pm

Sure. No more likely to be porous than the same part of the cast iron one and stronger if not.

Surely the Bessey is also be welded if it is really forged.

Magicniner
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by Magicniner » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:16 pm

Just get a Sheffield made Record and forget about it, they last forever :D

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Frank Ford
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by Frank Ford » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:33 pm

When I'd finally "had it" with a succession of inferior vises around 20 years ago, I sprung for a new 6" real USA Wilton machinist vise. Took a big bite out of my credit card, but that has healed since. One of my best tool purchases.

I did some customizing, including expanding it to 7" wide with some special "snap-in" jaws.

Here's a photo essay of the project:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooli ... njaws.html
Cheers,

Frank Ford

pete
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by pete » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:38 pm

Yep the mines I've worked at all used 7" - 8" Records and they took unbelievable abuse under daily industrial conditions. I bought my 5" just before the Sheffield vises were no longer being made due to seeing how durable they were.

spro
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by spro » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:37 pm

Thanks Frank. That is a remarkable essay which I missed. Wow, 6" ( 7") Wilton Bullet . it will serve forever. I, like you, saw a real lack of quality vises for decades. I just bought used ones from auctions or flea markets ( no shipping charges) but there is new quality which doesn't get any cheaper but you have to "bite the bullet". The upside is so many different ones appearing.. It is worth actually looking at them now.

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liveaboard
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by liveaboard » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:26 pm

Bessy is a good name; their clamps are the best. when I cruise flea markets, I look for Bessy.
I have a 'Huer' vise made in Germany.
It's big, it's strong, and it's old. I've had it for 20 years and it was old when I got it.
And it's still being made.
Mine does not have replaceable jaws but some models do.
I think you can get them in the US; but they are not for the faint of wallet.

I use mine a lot, I use it as a press [must build my press], II use a 2' cheater pipe and lean on it, I use it as an anvil, it's the real deal.
Huer front vice.jpg
Huer front vice detail.jpg

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by SteveHGraham » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:26 pm

Well, if I were willing to drop over $1K on a vise without putting up a fight, I wouldn't have posted this thread. You can always get good stuff for good money.

Okay, not always. But usually.
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mihit
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by mihit » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:00 am

Ehh? Just knock out some replaceable jaws on your awesome mill?

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liveaboard
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by liveaboard » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:21 am

Hey, you said you were looking for a 'really nice' vise.
the Heuer I have is only $835 on Amazon.

I guess that would almost make it a vise vice.

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BadDog
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by BadDog » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:08 am

Around here (which is much more scarce than the rust belt), there are always nice vises listed on CL/FB/OU/etc for less than $400. Of course you have to pay attention and not buy junk, but vises aren't exactly hard to check out.

I was just last week sorely tempted buy a 4" Athol (~80 lbs claimed) for $150. But I've got a 5" Wilton Bullet, 5" Record, a 6" Wilton "Mechanics" (sloppy POS, but good for welding, cutting, and beating on), a 5" Chinese rotary head from HF years ago (that's obviously just my bench vises). I'm pretty good for that class of vise, and really wanted to extend my collection with a massive old iron vise (ideally 8"), and those prices rise over $400 pretty quickly, so still casually looking.

As for jaws, a lot of the old vises have no practical story for replacing jaws. T-jaws, pinned jaws, and some more complex styles can be managed, but I prefer bolt on insert jaws. Then it's not uncommon to find permanently mounted "forge welded" etc that you can mostly forget about replacing jaws unless you want to risk the casting trying to modify for inserts. I've made a few jaws for vises, in most cases to replace ruined jaws. However, for most of the "needs a different jaw" I've got clip on, magnet retained, or other types of covers that can, for instance, protect a work piece from overly aggressive and easily damaging coarse tooth patterns. So non-removable certainly isn't a deal breaker as long as they are in decent shape.
Russ
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Magicniner
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Re: Vise, Vise, Baby

Post by Magicniner » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:39 am

You can save money in the long run by not being cheap and buying good quality first time around :D
Dad taught me that one, if it's a big set like drill bits, taps, dies or sockets he did say that a moderately priced kit will get you going and you can then replace the ones you wear out or break with really good quality.

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