LumberJocks

My "new" old bench vise.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 11-21-2014 02:18 AM 1157 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


11-21-2014 02:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench vise

Back in the late 80s I bought a Snap-on Tool Dealership. After a few years owning my own business, I sold the dealership to become a warehouse manager for the company. I ended up in St Louis and my branch manager was a pretty nice guy to work for. Because I had been a successful dealer, he would often take my advice when making orders with vendors.

We serviced almost 100 dealers out of our branch and of course every time there was a sales promotion, the vendor salesmen wanted us to order five (or more) for each dealer. Small items that worked out fine, but some things (like big air compressors and such) we just didn’t have the floor space to stock that much.

One such promotion was with Wilton (who makes the vises for Snap-on). We were running a 6 week promotion and our original order was for 50 vises. These were the signature 6” mechanics vises that sold for around $200 at the time (This bad boy is over $700 now! YIKES! )

Anyhooo, after about a week I called to order some more because the sale was going so well. One of my dealers was working with a new car dealership that was about to open in Illinois and he said if I could get him some help on pricing, he could sell them 100 vises for the new garages. In talking to my sales rep I told him I thought we could DOUBLE our sales numbers if he could get us a better price and make it retro-active to the 50 we already had bought. He asked how many I was going to re-order and I told him if he would get us the better price I’d take 300 of the vises, with a guaranteed sale. (Which meant we would NOT try to return any unsold vises at the end of the promo.) I also told him that I wanted one for myself. But since I had kept one when I turned in my dealership, I told him that I wanted a woodworking vise (even though at that time I didn’t do much woodworking at all)

My deal was made with Wilton on the pricing, and when my branch manager heard what I did, he told me “Those things better sell, or I’ll have your head. We dont want to be stuck with 300 vises here!” I told him dont worry, I’d push them out to the dealers and we’d sell them all. By the time the 6 weeks was over, I had ordered an ADDITIONAL 200, making our total order with Wilton to be a final 550 vises. About 2 weeks later the Wilton Rep came into my branch and he brought with him their VP of Marketing who said he wanted to meet the warehouse supervisor who was ”BALLSY enough to make such a deal without his branch managers consent.” (his words, not mine). We all went to lunch and talked about our NEXT promo…

When they dropped me back at the warehouse the sales rep went to the trunk of the car and handed me this 40 pound box and said _ “Thanks Joe. I made a hellofa commission on this deal. Here’s the woodworking vise you wanted. It’s our top of the line model”

I have carried this factory sealed box around since 1992. And yesterday I FINALLY opened the box. WOW! This thing is fantastic. the jaws are 4” X 10” and without the wood vise faces it will open to 12 full inches. I dont have a “traditional” woodworking bench as you can see in the photos below. My bench is a steel framed, welded base which I mounted 2 layers of 3/4” pressure treated plywood to. So since I dont have a regular bench top, I had to do a bit of cutting and fitting to get the vise mounted to it.
.

.

The vise has the slide-up dog and you can also see that because of how the vise mounts I had to add a spacer so it stands about 1.25” away from the frame of the bench in order to get a solid hold on the bench.
.

.
.

.

I thought the 8” steel handle was a bit short, so I used an oak dowel to make a 11” replacement. I used some maple for the vise faces and it still opens to “almost” 10” at full open. It only takes about a 1/3 turn to unlock the quick release and it slides open and closed like it’s on ice.

All in all.. not bad for FREE, eh? I just wish I hadn’t waited 22 years to open the box ....
.

.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward


14 replies so far

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

5237 posts in 1508 days


#1 posted 11-21-2014 02:35 AM

I would of at least opened the box, looked at it and then seal it back up for 22 years. lol
Aren’t these a great addition to woodworking? I just bought 2, one similar to yours but a lot cheaper and wonder how I got along without them for so long. Great vise and funny story.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2098 days


#2 posted 11-21-2014 02:43 AM

GREAT vise…..but I wouldn’t say you got it for “free”. Sounds to me like you earned about 10 of those vises.

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

1341 posts in 2478 days


#3 posted 11-21-2014 04:04 AM

Nice Score. You sure are a patient soul … 22 years and no peeking …

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View SuperCubber's profile

SuperCubber

870 posts in 1749 days


#4 posted 11-21-2014 04:26 AM

Hell of a story! I wouldn’t have been able to wait either!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1374 posts in 1597 days


#5 posted 11-21-2014 04:36 AM

And, I’m quite sure every vise was out of your warehouse before the end of the promotional period… Huh?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@outlook.com

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

372 posts in 1539 days


#6 posted 11-21-2014 08:33 AM

Is the work bench powder coated? Good vise indeed.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#7 posted 11-21-2014 12:39 PM

Thanks guys. I’m not quite certain WHY I never opened the box till now. Usually the only time I even noticed the box was when we were in the process of moving. We’ve moved 4 or 5 times and lived in 3 different states in these last 22 years. I just decided that this was the time to open it, I guess being spurred on by seeing all the vises the LJs have been building and installing on here.

Handtooler, actually there ended up being TWO of my dealers who sold 100 each of the vises to new car dealerships. And as a bonus for those nice big sales, my branch manager took both of them and their wives to a VERY ritzy restaurant for dinner. I heard later that the dinner for 6 cost almost $500 (and that only included ONE bottle of champagne) Plus several of the other dealers each sold 10 or 12 of them, each of those sales also being to one shop. Quite a few of the dealers sold 5 or 6 at one crack.

At the end of the 6 week promo, we only had about 25 of the vises left, and those sold within the next few months. Our branch had a pretty good sales history with those vises. Then at the annual awards banquet I received a gold plated miniature Snap-on vise from the Wilton company for my part in making the promo such a success. It’s still packed away along with some of the other awards I have kept over the years.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#8 posted 11-21-2014 12:43 PM

JohnChung, yes the metal frame is powder-coated. I got the frame via my son-in-law. He worked at a trailer manufacturing company and they were closing up that local shop to incorporate it into another location. It was just a bare frame that they used as some sort of jig in their process, and they were going to toss it. My son-in-law asked if he could have it, knowing I’d love to have it for my garage.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

372 posts in 1539 days


#9 posted 11-21-2014 01:26 PM

Indeed. I am thinking about powder coating my bench. BUT…. It is for welding. Not advisable since I need it to be conductive! I have another bench but for wood working :)

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#10 posted 11-21-2014 01:58 PM

I know someone who powder coated his welding bench. For the ground he welded a small “tab” on the inside of each leg, and they masked the tabs off when it was powder coated. The tabs were hardly noticeable and the table looked pretty good even after 4 or 5 years.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3022 posts in 1716 days


#11 posted 11-21-2014 02:11 PM

A great story well told, Joe! That vise will serve you well for a time at least equal to its time in storage.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 889 days


#12 posted 11-21-2014 03:34 PM

I love that you took the time to share your story. Items like this will remind you of your past accomplishments, every time you use them.

I hope you enjoy your new shop additions\improvements and I look forward to seeing some of your projects in the coming months.

Cheers

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

372 posts in 1539 days


#13 posted 11-21-2014 05:11 PM

@JoeinGa – Quite sure the guy powder coated the frame minus the table top itself. Still thinking about it. I need it foldable and functional PLUS working outside the house. No room for welding inside a shed.

Thanks for the tip. There is a shop nearby my house that does power coating :)

This is a professional welding table:
www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product200374165200374165

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#14 posted 11-21-2014 05:40 PM

Yes John, you are correct. I “weld” but I’m REALLY NOT a welder, I guess I figured folks that ARE would realize he did NOT powder coat the top. That would be a mess, wouldn’t it? LOL The top was actually separate from the frame. He had tabs welded on the bottom of the table which he bolted to the uprights with huge 3/4” bolts. He said if it ever got TOO messed up, he’d be able to replace the steel top that way.
Just the frame/legs were powdercoated. He had it done in a nice royal blue and they painted flames on it.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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