Richards Wilcox vise

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Forum topic by Imakenicefirewood posted 05-09-2015 10:40 PM 2945 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 1320 days

05-09-2015 10:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: old tools richards wilcox

I purchased this old vise from a guy down the road from where I work. (He was kind enough to show me his shop too.) I’ve been looking for a deal on one and found this for a fair price, but it’s missing a pretty important part…the quick release mechanism. I’ve looked online and am having a difficult time finding a replacement. Does anyone have an idea where I might be able to locate something that will work? It really doesn’t even have to be the quick release kind. Thanks.

(I’m not sure why the pic is upside down.)

12 replies so far

View RolandofEld's profile


5 posts in 545 days

#1 posted 10-23-2016 12:16 AM

You ever find out anything on the quick release mechanism on this vise? I just scored one and have yet to mount it but, from the look of the quick release (which is there), it may need some work to get the quick release working.

I hate to revive this old thread but I just joined to send you a message and the forum rules won’t let me do so until I have 5 comments somewhere. Might as well start here.


View Imakenicefirewood's profile


74 posts in 1320 days

#2 posted 10-23-2016 12:22 AM

Unfortunately no. I searched for a long time, but never got anywhere. I even contacted the company. They, of course, no longer make any parts for them, and said a regular acme 1” thread nut will work, but it would have to be welded to the cast iron. It’s just collecting dust, but maybe someday I’ll come across one that is broken, but has that quick release. Maybe someday.

View RolandofEld's profile


5 posts in 545 days

#3 posted 10-23-2016 12:47 AM

Huh, that stinks. Can’t say I’m surprised though.

Let me know if detailed pictures of mine would help. I’m planning on cleaning mine up and seeing what’s what and if you know some skilled machinists then you might have a project for them…

I don’t know enough about other vices to know if the quick release might be something that matches a current vice pattern/model to speak to that aspect of it, but it did cross my mind.

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


74 posts in 1320 days

#4 posted 10-23-2016 12:49 AM

Thanks. I might take you up on those photos and see if my buddy could make me one. He and the people he works with are pretty good machinists.

I tried one off of a Wilton quick release, but it didn’t work.

View RolandofEld's profile


5 posts in 545 days

#5 posted 10-24-2016 02:48 AM

Yea, so I just spent some quality time with the vise. Getting decades (maybe even a century?) worth of dried grease off the screw and out of the quick release mechanism was quite a job.

Anyway, the reason I suspected the quick release mechanism might need some TLC, beyond cleaning, was that it was wrapped with some baling wire. My suspicion was that it was wired in place lest it fall to pieces or the entire vise jam up. Turns out I was completely wrong on that one.

As far as I can tell, since I’ve yet to mount it, basically it seems the previous owner simply didn’t want to utilize the quick release feature and wired the mechanism shut so that the handle would operate the same manner, that is to say if you spin it one direction, the jaws open, spin the other, the jaws close. Whereas, as far as I tell, with the quick release un-wired shut, the normal operating procedure is tighten the jaws with the handle and then, whenever you’re ready, to bump the handle in the opposite direction which releases the mechanism and allows the moving jaw to be slid out completely disengaged from the threads until the handle is spun in the direction that tighens the jaws, whereupon the mechanism closes back up and re-engages the jack screw’s threads.

Pretty nifty little deal.

Let me know about the pictures, on further review, it would probably be easier to try to retrofit something from another vise, if that’s even a thing, or have a machinist consider things from a wholisitic point of view. I say that because, while not necessarily fiddly or involving tiny parts, the device is a bit involved and wouldn’t be trivial to machine from scratch. I say that, but a good machinist might be able to whip something up with ease, those old hands can be magicians with stuff like that…

Good luck!

View RolandofEld's profile


5 posts in 545 days

#6 posted 10-24-2016 02:51 AM

Here’s some pictures from the auction that I snagged by the way. Those should give a basic idea of what’s in there, including the wire I keep referencing.

No idea if I got a nice price or not, but I need something so I can kick off a project that’s going to involve a heap of dovetails so I had to jump on what was out there.

Edit: another description I found of the mechanism while I was in research mode, not that it’s anything detailed enough to utilize on it’s own, still handy:

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


74 posts in 1320 days

#7 posted 10-26-2016 08:31 PM

Looks like you did well. Thanks for the info.

I met a guy a while back that had a quick release vice, and he thought it was broken because it would slide freely. I showed him how it worked and he was amazed. I wonder if the wire was on it due to something like that.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3049 days

#8 posted 10-27-2016 03:20 AM

Acme nuts have two standard threads in 1” 5 tpi and 6 tpi (threads per inch). If you do not have a fasteners
store that handles them, they are readily available on line, rather than weld on cast iron, unless you are a
master welder, I would drill the nuts, most acme nuts are rather large, and the cast iron and bolt the nut
onto the cast iron using nylock nuts. Just my opinion and I have been wrong a couple times.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Lastwagen's profile


1 post in 531 days

#9 posted 11-06-2016 06:42 AM

I was researching the Richards-Wilcox “Quick-Acting Vise” that I recently purchased and I came across this website after a hit on this topic. Being unfamiliar with the vise, I was searching for info about its age and the company that made it. So, I thought I’d chime in here since this thread is recent and add a bit.

Here is what mine looks like today.

(OK !!! I’m not so savy with PhotoBucket and their edit. Photos are too big and re-size in PhotoBucket seems to work; crop and re-size the images fine, but when I do the insert here the image is still full-size. So just click the links until I can figure out what needs to be done to embed images correct size here. Sorry!)

Notable is the absence of a bench dog on the front face of the vise.

You can also see raised lettering on the handle hub, “USE NO OIL ON SCREW”.

Also the handle is, well, a rather interesting piece of DIY hack job. That’s bandage adhesive tape wrapped and nailed (didn’t want it to slide off the end, did ya!) to the wooden handle.

More later…..this photo size thing just frustrated all the fun out of this…. :(

-- Carl, Highland Village, TX

View Boatman53's profile


1051 posts in 2160 days

#10 posted 11-07-2016 01:59 AM

Here is a solution for you. I picked this vise up last summer, like yours the quick release feature was missing or damaged and the PO bought or had milled a brass nut to fit the thread, cut and fitted a piece of pipe to make up the difference and drilled and tapped for some screws so the nut doesn’t turn. Here are the pics of my vise.

I used to have a bigger model of this vise and the quick release mechanism was buggered and wouldn’t hold so I put a couple of hose clamps around it. It worked great.


-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


74 posts in 1320 days

#11 posted 11-09-2016 11:41 PM

That looks like a good fix. I will put it back on my to-do list and maybe I can get it up and running.

View RolandofEld's profile


5 posts in 545 days

#12 posted 11-23-2016 02:22 AM

I may have to replace the twisted wire and/or hose clamps on the bench vise that I mentioned above, it looks like it has some nasty tendencies to slip when tightening depending on the orientation of the mainscrew and the release mechanism. Seems to still be a nice vice even with that since I’m not overly sold with the requirement that I pull the free portion out manually after releasing the jaws, I’d almost prefer to be able to loosen it via the handle… so, we will see.

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