Rehabbing Vintage Vises

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Forum topic by BullHammer posted 08-07-2016 04:20 AM 958 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 2317 days

08-07-2016 04:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: vintage vise rehabbing rehab rust tip trick how to

I have a few questions about vintage vises, but first my finds:

I found a very rusty, but still workable, large Columbian vise, similar to the one hhhopks highlights in his forum post “New Life for a Columbian Woodworking Vise #2: Will it turn?”. I was able to pick it up at an auction for less than $10.

It was “turn your hands and car red” rusty. I was able to take it a part and have it soaking an a vinegar bath right now. I already scrubbed it once and will likely scrub it again to make sure it’s all clean.

Here’s a reference pic…it’s not my pic.

My second find is my favorite; a leg vise. It was a $40 Craigslist find. It looks like the previous owner remade the back side of the vise as it’s a large chunk of brass. The faces are quartersawn oak. The whole thing has a “farmer special” feel to it. By that I mean, something a farmer once bought, but then changed, upgraded, or fixed as needed over the years of use.

Here’s an overview of the leg vise…

The backside. The metal where the screw comes out is solid brass…

Jaw pads are metal…

My questions:

1) What should I do to protect the vises once clean? Should I re-paint the Columbian, paste wax, BLO, cold blue?
2) Anyone know what if the second vise is a mass produced item? Does it have a name? There appears to be 2 “G”s on the handle socket. The T part, where the handle goes through.
3) Is there any sort of knowledge source for rehabbing vises? Any links? The Lumberjocks posts I’ve found seem to be incomplete. They start the project, but don’t tell the process. There’s no…here’s how I did it and here’s what works best.
4) Any thoughts on the wood for the leg vise? Should I start over, sand down (there’s no real historical character to the wood), or just leave it. The bottoms (the end opposite the screw) look a little rotten, split, or just worn

Really, any advise would help. I along with the Columbian, I won 5 vintage planes: 3 scrub, one longer one, and one (very cool and likely old) rabbet plane (together less than $9), so I will need any help I can get. (Before anyone comments, I know there are lots of posts on rehabbing planes. They are numerous and throughout)

Thanks in advance!

1 reply so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4953 days

#1 posted 08-10-2016 05:21 AM

I would replace the metal pads on the leg vise with hardwood inserts. I think some nice green enamal paint for the first vise would be spot on for it.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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