Author Topic: Blacksmith's post leg vise -forged  (Read 14408 times)

Offline Shreckmeister

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Blacksmith's post leg vise -forged
« on: April 20, 2011, 05:59:24 PM »
I came across this old post vise.  I'm told that the old gunsmiths
used vises like this.  This one is hand forged and has no markings
on it.  Saw one in Harriger's book about Jefferson Cty gunsmiths.
There was a picture of Anthony Bonnet's shop with  a similar vise in
it.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 06:05:07 PM by suzkat »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline JDK

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2011, 06:54:35 PM »
Suzkat,

Yet another nice piece.  Where is this Gunsmith Museum you are putting together.  You stated you are in Western PA.  I get out to Pittsburgh often and would like to check it out.

Thanks for posting all this great stuff you are coming across.  J.D.K.
J.D. Kerstetter

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 07:08:29 PM »
When I have the museum ready to go, I'll be sure to invite everyone.
For now, it's still a ways down the road.  I have alot more things to
gather before it's ready.  It will be in Armstrong County, PA.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline JDK

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 09:47:13 PM »
Looking forward to it!  Keep up the good work.  J.D.K.
J.D. Kerstetter

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 10:47:41 PM »
 It's a cool leg vise, every blacksmith should have one.  These things were never hand forged.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 03:32:10 AM »
If not hand forged, how were they produced?
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Ahtuwisae

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 03:46:49 AM »
Nice vise.  I just mounted one on my Horner's Bench this past weekend.  They are very solid and last through the ages, that's for sure.  Here are a couple of pics of mine.  my dad found this one at an auction sans the handle.  a long bolt fixed that though.




Offline David R.

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 04:25:44 AM »
I have two of these in my shop, one mounted on my bench and one mounted on a post outside near the forge. they are almost indestructable. The one on my bench came from a dealer who lets me rummage through his outbuildings. I found it almost buried in the mud. Got it cheap and took it home and cleaned and oiled and it works great. You are right in that most of the parts on them were forged but were probably not hand forged. They were more than likely forged in a factory using power hammers and special dies. It looks like yours has survived with all its parts intact. Unfortunately a lot of these turn up with the mounting brackets and the spring (that makes the jaws open when you loosen the handle) missing. I recently "hand forged" a replacement spring and bracket for one of these for a local antique dealer. I love finding, restoring, and using these old tools!
I would have no quarrel with thee if thou be a friend of liberty.

Offline Bill of the 45th

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2011, 04:28:47 AM »
Suzkat, they were sand cast like your swage block.  four main parts the rigid post, the front jaw, and the screw, and ball nut which were threaded. also the mounting plate was also cast.  The handle was round stock, the rest is flat stock stamping.  They've been made that way back to the 18th century or earlier.  The swage was probably stone ground on the flats, where as the vise was at most file finished to get rid of the roughness.  also the jaws may have faces riveted or pinned on.  By the way another good find.  You are definitely getting some lucky finds.  Note the wood block under the post, very common to be mounted on a stump chunk

Bill
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Over the Hill, What Hill, and when did I go over it?

Ahtuwisae

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 05:00:28 AM »
I have two of these in my shop, one mounted on my bench and one mounted on a post outside near the forge. they are almost indestructable. The one on my bench came from a dealer who lets me rummage through his outbuildings. I found it almost buried in the mud. Got it cheap and took it home and cleaned and oiled and it works great. You are right in that most of the parts on them were forged but were probably not hand forged. They were more than likely forged in a factory using power hammers and special dies. It looks like yours has survived with all its parts intact. Unfortunately a lot of these turn up with the mounting brackets and the spring (that makes the jaws open when you loosen the handle) missing. I recently "hand forged" a replacement spring and bracket for one of these for a local antique dealer. I love finding, restoring, and using these old tools!

Note the bolt in the spring on my vise.  The spring has lost most of its tension so the bolt is screwed in to increase the tension.  not a permanent fix but will do until I get the leaf spring cut and put in there.

Suzcat.  let me know if you are looking for another one.  I know the location of two more.  can most likely get them real cheap as they are at my dad's place collecting quite a layer of dust and grime
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 05:02:56 AM by Ahtuwisae »

Offline James

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 05:25:30 AM »
David R., Glad to hear someone else has 2  :) I have been gathering blacksmith tools for my thus far mediocre blacksmithing self teaching. The post vise is very handy, another case of the right tool for the job. I think that one looks good suzkat.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun." P.Henry

Trkdriver99

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2011, 12:52:55 PM »
I just bought one at flea market. This one will be used by the Boy Scouts at Camp Davey Crockett in their Frontier Camp in the blacksmith area. Would like to find one more at a reasonable price for the same purpose. They are very handy to have.

Ronnie

J1776

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2011, 07:54:04 PM »
Its funny how I can find these by the dozens but some wacky antique dealers see them as high dollars "rare" items!   ???  Going to pick one up in a week or so for pennies (found a reasonable gent)....

Offline Jay Close

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 09:44:39 PM »
Later vises did come to be largely cast, but the 18th and early 19th century forms were forgings. Diderot's Encyclopedia (ca. 1760's) has quite a bit on making these vises in the section on the "Toolmaker". I also have a couple of old ones that clearly show the the wrought iron graining and where components were forge welded together. My old boss at Williamsburg, Peter Ross, is quite an expert on these and has authored articles on their proper restoration and repair. In fact, just this past November he did a session for the North Carolina blacksmith group and addressed several of the common vise repairs like making the two part wedge system that holds them to the bench and forging a new spring.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 11:40:29 PM »
It's a cool leg vise, every blacksmith should have one.  These things were never hand forged.
  Thanks for clearing that up Jay.  I thought I was seeing things.  It sure looked hand
forged to me.  I'd like to get a new spring and mounting bracket for another one I have
that they are missing from.  I'm sure I could rig something that would work on it but
it wouldn't look original.
   Should I wire brush this and put some oil on it, or leave it alone?
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 11:48:46 PM by suzkat »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline James

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2011, 04:22:25 AM »
I say just oil, no wire brush.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun." P.Henry

Offline Jay Close

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2011, 05:07:07 PM »
Like dealing with any antique, how extensive your cleaning is a judgement call. These vises are not rare and the one you have has seen better days. The "box" (the part with the internal thread) looks replaced or heavily modified. Often these have an accumulation of grease, oil and dirt. That I'd get off. Were it mine, it would be a "user" and I'd use a hand wire brush to get most of the crud off and then a coat of oil or floor wax to inhibit further rusting. Grease or oil on the threads, a spot of oil on the pivot, perhaps a dab of grease where the spring hits the leg. You might want to look up the archives of Anvil magazine for the articles by Peter Ross and Jim Melchoir on repairing one of these babies and getting it back in service. Good luck.

Offline marcusb

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2011, 03:01:02 PM »
I have one myself, by the grain orentation of the metal I would say that it was forged in a die. The tip of the leg was buried in the dirt, hence very rusty, as I cleaned it up it had very uniform layers of metal that came off, just like rings of an onion. I am guessing wrought iron hammerd out would produce grain pattern in this manner.

Very simple and efficent design, energy from hammer blows travels thru the leg into the ground, take abuse that would kill a normal vise

Since we are on the subject, have a look at this one!

« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 03:05:11 PM by marcusb »

J1776

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2011, 07:14:37 AM »
Later vises did come to be largely cast, but the 18th and early 19th century forms were forgings. Diderot's Encyclopedia (ca. 1760's) has quite a bit on making these vises in the section on the "Toolmaker". I also have a couple of old ones that clearly show the the wrought iron graining and where components were forge welded together. My old boss at Williamsburg, Peter Ross, is quite an expert on these and has authored articles on their proper restoration and repair. In fact, just this past November he did a session for the North Carolina blacksmith group and addressed several of the common vise repairs like making the two part wedge system that holds them to the bench and forging a new spring.

Thank you for clearing that up.  I picked up a VERY old one just today and there was no evidence of casting marks, lines, etc.  Looked nearly all forged, but I wasn't sure.  Of course it could still very well be a cast item, but doesn't appear to be at all.  I n fact its the exact same one the article that Peter Ross and another fellow picture in their article.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 05:48:35 PM »
There's a big difference in technique and among collectors in items that are hand forged versus die forged in a factory.  "Hand forged" to many implies a small shop using simple swage blocks, anvils etc to turn out unique objects that may be more or less to a pattern, but not close to mass produced.  Anvils and post vices and swage blocks were seldom if ever the products of small shops and were largely mass produced in factories, using heavy water powered equipment until steam etc became the norm.  It's simply not practical or economic for a small forge to craft things above a certain mass when these items were readily available as new and used items, being highly durable.

For the most part the monetary value of post vices and swage blocks and anvils is dependent on their usefulness to current blacksmiths, as they are not generally collector's items.  Folks buy them to use them and that's what drives the price.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 05:50:36 PM by rich pierce »
St. Louis, Missouri

J1776

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2011, 02:16:51 AM »
There's a big difference in technique and among collectors in items that are hand forged versus die forged in a factory.  "Hand forged" to many implies a small shop using simple swage blocks, anvils etc to turn out unique objects that may be more or less to a pattern, but not close to mass produced.  Anvils and post vices and swage blocks were seldom if ever the products of small shops and were largely mass produced in factories, using heavy water powered equipment until steam etc became the norm.  It's simply not practical or economic for a small forge to craft things above a certain mass when these items were readily available as new and used items, being highly durable.

For the most part the monetary value of post vices and swage blocks and anvils is dependent on their usefulness to current blacksmiths, as they are not generally collector's items.  Folks buy them to use them and that's what drives the price.

True,...
"hand forged" does bring to mind the simple shop,..small quantities, etc.
Good point.

My only point was to thank the fellow clearing it up that there were some that were "forged" rather than "cast" early on,... that was my thinking when I had posted in reply...that's all.

Offline timM

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Re: Blacksmith's post leg vise hand forged
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2011, 03:13:02 AM »
Interesting topic, a post vise no doubt has firm connections to period long rifle gunsmithing.  This link (http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/24097-is-this-fixer-upper-worth-the-effort/) shows a post vise that displays some early features that I believe may be typical of a vise used in the first half of the 1800's or earlier.

I thought that this thread originally received enough interest to warrant showing some early identifying features that might enable making an early / late distinction when sorting through the myriads of post vises out there.  The link shown within the above link expands this topic and is found near the end of that thread.

A quick identifying early feature would be the screw box being constructed in pieces and brazed together with a coil for the female thread.  Peter Wrights “solid screw box” construction innovation is at least middle 1800's from what I've found and possibly earlier.

I have never seen an early post vise that I thought could have been of cast iron construction?  I believe these were forged and the amount of hand work might depend on the era and place of manufacture.   Respectfully, tim
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 04:46:32 AM by timM »