Antique Leg Vise: Help!

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Forum topic by MattD posted 09-25-2007 02:52 AM 13242 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 4796 days

09-25-2007 02:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: antique wooden wood vise bench

During my ongoing adventure to build the ultimate workbench, I came across an interesting item on Ebay that was described as an “Antique Vintage Wood Handle Wedge Furniture Clamp Vise”. After studying the small fuzzy picture of it for awhile, I realized that this was actually an old wooden leg vise which is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been looking for. The seller described it as “an old tool that I was told was from Germany and used by an old timer who made windows foe the downtown Des Moines Iowa buildings in the early to mid 20th century.” As much as I’d like to believe that, there’s really no evidence that this is true. However, the seller is located in Iowa, so it may well have been used there.

There are no markings anywhere on it. It’s in very good condition and seems very usuable. Other than the screw and nut, which look very well made, the rest of it is rather roughly constructed with a rough finish.

I’m planning on attaching this to my bench unmodified and using it in it’s current condition, but I’d be very interested if anyone can tell me anything about this such as what type of vise it is, when or where it could have been made and how I can best clean and protect it.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

7 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35225 posts in 5252 days

#1 posted 09-25-2007 03:02 AM

Great vise whats the size of the screw?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 4796 days

#2 posted 09-25-2007 03:07 AM

The screw is a little over 2” in diameter and 18” long. The vise is 31” in height.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 5021 days

#3 posted 09-25-2007 03:08 AM

It dosn’t look like there is any finish on it and it’s lasted all these years. Probably, if you do nothing it’ll outlast all of us. I have some wood tools that were my grandfathers (that would make them over 80years old) and they just keep looking better.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

219 posts in 4824 days

#4 posted 09-25-2007 03:16 AM

The last copy of Woodworking Has a picture on page 2 of a vise similar to yours. Also it has the email address of Christopher Schwarz who has made half a dozen benches of old types. He can give you a history of these vises.

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4949 days

#5 posted 09-25-2007 03:56 AM

Chris’s blog can be found here….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View PaulM's profile


1 post in 4748 days

#6 posted 09-25-2007 11:14 PM

Matt, I can’t provide any provinance for this particular vice, but this type/style of vice has been oruond in boat building shops forever. Especially what’s known as spar shops. These shops typically have great long spar benches along a wall to which several of these have been attached. These enabled the craftsmen to grip masts and booms nice and straight while being fabricated or repaired.
A regular contributor to the WoodenBoat Forum ( is a terrific fellow – Bob Smalser. He is extremely knowledgeable about vintage tools and how to repair and preserve them. Give him a shout and I’ll bet he can provide more insite.
~~~ Paul M ~~~

-- Paul M in Des Moines

View tntro's profile


73 posts in 2414 days

#7 posted 04-24-2015 03:45 PM

That is a nice vise I am looking at buying one like that what would be a good price

-- dale

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