Little bit of a gloat but also a question on bringing a leg vise back to life

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Forum topic by TraylorPark posted 02-17-2014 10:02 PM 1356 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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212 posts in 1594 days

02-17-2014 10:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: leg vise barn find old refurbishing

So this past weekend I was at my parents treasure hunting and while in the wood shed getting a block of walnut for a mallet handle I found this

Seeing that I am in the middle of making a work bench for the shop I scooped it up and asked if they could part with it. My Mom being the hoarder that she is grimaced and then asked what it was. Once I explained what it was she agreed, but I had to promise to give it back when I’m done with it.

I don’t know the exact age, but the property they own was homesteaded in the 1850’s and there was a saw mill present on the property until about the first world war. The original homestead was broken up and sold in the 1950’s, but the outbuilding that this and the probable shop were in have been standing since around the turn of the 20th century.

So back to the question at hand. The vise is pretty solid, with the exception of a few insect holes, and most likely made of pine based on the weight. However, it is very very dry and I worry about the threads being to brittle to crank on them even a little bit. So any suggestion on how to bring this beauty back to life? I was planning on sanding it smooth for appearance and then giving it a ton of BLO. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

And a couple of other views.

-- --Zach

7 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3709 days

#1 posted 04-16-2014 03:08 AM

It will be interesting to follow your progress on this.

-- "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

View bondogaposis's profile


4725 posts in 2347 days

#2 posted 04-16-2014 03:13 AM

It looks to me like it will work just fine after a bit of cleanup. It looks like you’ll need to build a garter and a new tommy bar.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Handtooler's profile


1553 posts in 2128 days

#3 posted 04-16-2014 03:59 AM

Interesting! I’ll follow your refurb and installation

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View anneb3's profile


41 posts in 1550 days

#4 posted 05-07-2014 12:21 AM

If I found such a treasure, I would just use a scrub brush and some warm water. Let it dry, in Tucson that would be 10 minutes Then time for linseed oil. Lots and often til it won’t soak up any more. If you run out of time, just wipe off the excess and tackle it tomorrow. After 3 days my old wooden plane would not soak up anymore.

I was amazed just how much oil soaked in.

View TraylorPark's profile


212 posts in 1594 days

#5 posted 05-07-2014 01:39 AM

Since this thread has picked up some steam as of late I guess I should update it. So I just gave the wood a quick sanding with 220 then rubbed on some Watco Rejuvenating oil on it. BTW that stuff is awesome. So when I did that it was clear that the vise was made of walnut and the support peg arm on the bottom is made of oak. After it soaked in and dried I added a liberal amount of wax to the threads and installed it on my bench build. The vise holds pretty tight, but I had to some planning to the face to get it flat against the edge of the bench. At any rate it works fine and looks really cool so all in all a great find out in the shed. Below is a picture of it mounted to the bench.

-- --Zach

View Sparks8286's profile


72 posts in 1485 days

#6 posted 06-06-2014 07:42 PM

Looks good! Just remember to give it back when you’re done with it! :)

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#7 posted 06-06-2014 08:14 PM

These are not easy to make by hand you did really well Brother. I have a couple of very old metal long leg Blacksmiths /engineering vises I got them a while back but this year I will dig them out and make at least one possibly two good ones from the few I have, or beef them up here and there with new metal.I really like yours though Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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