LumberJocks

Massey No. 17 vise

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by gawthrrw posted 09-30-2016 11:34 PM 4389 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been searching for a tail vise to use on my upcoming roubo bench. After reading Chris S second workbench book I was interested in the tail vise he used on the solid cherry top bench. It was a quick release vise with a lever instead of a turn screw. Here is a picture;

After some searching around the internet I found this and bought it.

As you can see, it was a little beat up and rusty. I could just make out Massey no. 17 on the face. Doing a bit of research I found that this is a pretty old vise and apparently not a common one. It was hard to find any in depth information about it so if anyone has any I would be obliged. After getting it shipped to me I was happy that everything worked and there didn’t seem to be any damage besides a few saw kerf scars that gave it some character.
The next step was to get it cleaned up. I had read a little about electrolysis but have to admit I was afraid to try it. So after gaining a little more knowledge on how it worked I decided that this was the perfect project to use it on. I broke out the old battery charger and some Arm and Hammer washing soda. I already had a big plastic bin and a piece of flat steel to use as an anode. So after following the directions I read online and taking the vise apart I had it moving along pretty quickly.

I was really suprised at how well the electrolysis worked at getting basically everything off the vise. After it was complete I took a green scotchbright pad to it and rinsed it off in the deep sink. The next step was to prime and repaint the vise to keep the rust from coming back. I took about 4 days and tried to let the paint cure some before putting on the next coat. All in all, it turned out great IMO and I look forward to giving this vise another 40 or more years of life.

-- Rob, Dallas TX



11 comments so far

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

207 posts in 3601 days


#1 posted 09-30-2016 11:36 PM

A few more photos.

j

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1745 posts in 3963 days


#2 posted 09-30-2016 11:46 PM

wow…..never saw one of those….I like !

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

12727 posts in 3605 days


#3 posted 10-02-2016 08:14 PM

Rob, great find on the vise. The one on Chris Schwarz’s bench is actually a Sheldon, Megan Fitzpatrick has one on her bench as well. She blogged the install on Popular Woodworking. I lucked out and found one on Craigs List while building my bench. This is what it looks like

Very close to yours but operates somewhat differently. Installed on my Roubo

Looking forward to seeing your bench, good luck

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

207 posts in 3601 days


#4 posted 10-02-2016 09:32 PM

Thanks Kevin, I didn’t have the book with me when I wrote this but knew mine was a different make. I look forward to trying it out. Have you been satisfied using that as a tail vise? I know some people use a wagon vise instead but I would think this one is a little more versatile as far as work holding goes but don’t have anything to compare it to.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

12727 posts in 3605 days


#5 posted 10-02-2016 10:38 PM

Rob, I’m quite happy with it both as a tail vise and an end vise.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View BIRMINGHAM's profile

BIRMINGHAM

3 posts in 1205 days


#6 posted 04-07-2018 02:29 PM

I am planning a new bench, and came across a Massey No. 17 quick release vice identical to Rob’s. When taking it apart and cleaning it, I was able to slide the outer jaw and handle/locking mechanism all the way out of the base. I was expecting that there would be some kind of stop to prevent accidentally sliding the outer jaw/handle out of the rear jaw/body of the vice. Even after cleaning and inspection, I can find no mechanism that would prevent disengaging the outer jaw from the base, nor is there any sign that there ever was such a stop.

I know that it is unlikely that one would unintentionally pull the jaw all the way out (past its 12” capacity). However, it is HEAVY, would do quite substantial damage to any toe it dropped on, and/or would likely break the cast iron jaw if it hit the cement floor from bench height. If Rob or anybody knows whether the Massey was manufactured with some type of stop, or has any other insight on this issue, I would appreciate the help.

Thanks,
Chris

-- Birmingham, Willowbrook, IL

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

207 posts in 3601 days


#7 posted 04-08-2018 12:33 AM

Mine doesnt have a stop either. I dont believe it ever had one. If yours is the same as the one I have it is unlikely that you will pull it to far out. You would really have to try. I really like the vise as a tail vise with my dog holes, but it has a lot of slop in it when clamping between the jaws. Seems to just be the way it is made.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Paul Lewer's profile

Paul Lewer

7 posts in 322 days


#8 posted 04-13-2021 01:23 AM

I just picked up what appears to be an early Massey No. 17. The only place the name is to be found is on the handle.

Looking forward to incorporating it into a workbench!

View Dannybouy's profile

Dannybouy

1 post in 51 days


#9 posted 06-02-2021 01:19 PM

I just picked up a Massey 17 at a flea market for $5. Rusted solid. After researching I find this Vise is one of the oldest and possibly 140 years old. I restore vices and keep them because I love the process. I read about electrolysis in one of your comments and it seemed to have worked for you. I was going to bathe mine and apple cider vinegar for several days and apple acetone/tyranny fluid mix 50/50. What is the value of these vises?

View Joe179350's profile

Joe179350

1 post in 1425 days


#10 posted 06-15-2021 04:18 PM

I have the same one. A true treasure of simplicity and durability

View BIRMINGHAM's profile

BIRMINGHAM

3 posts in 1205 days


#11 posted 06-15-2021 05:59 PM

CONGRATS, Joe, Dan, Paul on good finds! The Chas. A Sterling 1896 catalog shows 2 sizes w/o using the Massey name. The No. 17 was 9” wide opening to 12” & cost $6. The No. 17 1/2 was 14” wide, opened to 12” as well. It cost $9.25 in that day!
I checked DATAMP for patent info, and it is a bit confusing as it shows a 1909 patent to T. C. Massey, (https://www.datamp.org/patents/search/displayPics.php?source=xrefCompany5855) and it looks very similar, but obviously does not match up with the 1896 Sterling catalog. Maybe somebody has better/more information. There is also an entry on the Vintage Machinery site as well (http://www.vintagemachinery.org/mfgindex/detail.aspx?id=11526)
I looked at my original post about 3 years ago. I still have not mounted my vice bec. I have not yet built the new bench! I have a long list of excuses, but you all have inspired me…. I’m going to mount it on my existing bench!
Thanks,
Chris

-- Birmingham, Willowbrook, IL

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com