Introduction: Restoring an Old Vise!

Picture of Restoring an Old Vise!

Hi makers, this is my frist instructable so good luck to me =).

This vise was from an elderly man who lived next to the house where I grew up to. I visited that place a few weeks ago and gained from his relatives some tools that it would rust.

So, lets restore that and give a new life for the tool =)

Step 1: Tools You Are Going to Need.

Picture of Tools You Are Going to Need.
  • some oil
  • thick steel wool
  • thin steel wool
  • iron sandpaper or a drill with a wirebrush
  • kitchen soap or any soap that you can remove the oil well
  • heavy duty paint for iron**

** i'm from Brazil so i'm gonna put the kind of the paint for BR, US and CA.

you can find it in your country with the name:

Brazil - Esmalte sintético externo(para ferro)
US - Hammerite
Canada - Tremclad and or Rust-Oleum

Step 2: Clean That Mess!

Picture of Clean That Mess!

First you need to get rid of the thick dirt and rust.

let's disassemble the vise.
it's not a complicated thing..its just 1 screw. keep turning the handle bar to open the vise till the arm get lose from the body ( the arm of the vise, note your! don't turn that thing much)
ps: if your arm get lose, go see a doctor immediately!

well, i washed and rubbed with a brush to remove most of the dirt and then let it dry a bit.

Step 3: Removing the Old Spirit​.

Picture of Removing the Old Spirit​.

Now we removed the dirt and the thick rust, its time to remove the old paint and thin rust from it.

you can use sandpaper for that, but will take a loooooonnng time to get rid of i used the drill with a wire brush to clean it.

put some oil on the vise and then start to rub first with the thick steel wool, than sandpaper, the thinn wool and now probably you get rid of the rust and the old paint till you can see a nice surface for the new paint.

Step 4: Wash It Again!

Picture of Wash It Again!

If you removed the most of the paint and all of the rust, congrats buddy!

now your hand are tired and covered in oil...i know that feeling bro.

Lets wash the vise with some soap to remove the oil remaining and let it dry so we can paint it.

Step 5: I'll Take the Black Shield, Thnks.

Picture of I'll Take the Black Shield, Thnks.

So, with the vise dry we can start painting.
keep in mind to use a heavy duty paint otherwise the paint will come off while you hammer, saw etc.

Put 1 or 2 layers of the paint and....yeah...see the paint dry, the most exciting part of the tutorial =D.

Step 6: What Is Done Is Done!

Picture of What Is Done Is Done!

Now you have a beautiful new vise to compose your workshop.

Thats it, hope you guys like it.
till next time =)


bones65 (author)2015-11-08

Nice restoration job! I love restoring old things. I'd rather bring an old tool back to life than buy a new one that won't last half as long!

I have one question/observation and a suggestion. My question is about washing the vice in soapy water and letting it dry. I've always been taught by friends who do auto-body work that painting that rust is the cancer of metals. Even the tiniest painted-over rust seed will grow, and cause rust through under the paint and unsightly paint blisters. So wouldn't unseen rusting be risked by washing the vice in water and allowing to air dry? I would have used acetone or an auto paint "prep-sol" to clean off the oil, or at least carefully towel dried it. Does anyone out there have any thoughts on that?

Also, I agree that regular paint will not stand up to the abuse a vice would take, not even Hammerall (which I bought at a USA Home Depot a few years back; did they stop selling it here?). So I suggest either powder coating or a 2-part epoxy paint. If powder coating, be sure to mask off any parts you don't want painted, like the acme screw and channel, and any other part that might bind with the added thickness of the powder coating. You might also consider West Marine epoxy resin with its 207 hardener that makes it flow more like paint. That would create an indestructable plastic shell over the metal.

All_ (author)bones652015-11-25

oh, i used alcoohol to dry the vise ^^

about the powder coat, i live in brazil, things like that here are so expensive...people dont use for normal purposes =/

i consider the epoxy, but i dont let then exposed to time and i clena in every use so, thats too much ^^

tnks for the tips and advices friend =)

pecos (author)2015-11-08

Bom trabalho!

All_ (author)pecos2015-11-25

vlw cara =)

MichiganDave (author)2015-11-08

And a BIG Thanks for sharing with us and it is a very good thing to rescue old tools and not just throw them away. Better for you and the planet.

All_ (author)MichiganDave2015-11-25

old tools are great quality material, we dont throw them away ^^

Flyboyron (author)2015-11-04

I was sitting here trying to figure out how you changed the casting of the base between the two first pictures, and then I figured it out.

The second photo is actually of the LEFT side, flipped to match the other photo of the right side. Well done, but I caught you! :-)

Nicely put together.

All_ (author)Flyboyron2015-11-25

yeah XD

Wolfiestormes (author)2015-11-04

Looks good.

I would use petrol or a commercial degreaser to get the oil and muck off.

It's also worth taking the screw out, cleaning the thread, and putting new grease on it to keep the action smooth. The screws are usually held in with a split pin, or circlip.

All_ (author)Wolfiestormes2015-11-25

i think soap cleanner works well for a simple job

armorer243 (author)2015-11-03

Looks nice, well done! If you are wanting a good way to remove rust, paint, and grime without damaging the metal, you might want to look into electrolysis. I use it to clean up and restore rusted, grimy tools and it gets them clean without any effort. Your vise project would have been super easy.

All_ (author)armorer2432015-11-25

hummm, i'll study some of it for the next time, thnks =)

tomatoskins (author)2015-11-02

I love restoring my own tools! Your vise looks great!

All_ (author)tomatoskins2015-11-25

tnks =)

All_ (author)tomatoskins2015-11-03

thanks =)
its good to give old tools new life

Jean-ClaudeV (author)2015-11-16

Just in time for me! I found an old vice, and asked me how to renovate it. So it's there! Thank you!

MrJTJinx (author)2015-11-08

Nice job.

Is it me or is it different vice lol.

A good paint hard wearing for metal, id go with red oxide. Yes it comes in more colours than red, however its popularity is based on the fact it was originally produced in red.

pojken (author)MrJTJinx2015-11-14

Just you. :P

The first image is probably a mirror so that they face the same direction. probably didn't realize it until after so they flipped it to match.

ac-dc (author)MrJTJinx2015-11-08

That is actually not hard wearing at all. It wears much more than regular enamel but what it does instead is have a thick body and different ingredients that better saturate remaining rust, and in some cases it also contains a little phosphoric acid to convert remaining rust to a protective phosphate coating. In other words it provides a better seal but being softer than other paints, abrasion degrades it easier.

5744guy (author)2015-11-14

Not only are the jaws different,the casting is as well lol ?? Swap or clean???

pojken (author)5744guy2015-11-14

The first photo is probably a mirror of the vise so that they face the same way.

The vise has a triangle logo on one side and a 1 on the other.

Almost, but no cookie for you. :)

funatorium (author)2015-11-08

Rusty things are more easily brought back by electrolysis. All you need is a plastic bucket, a short length of copper wire, and a battery charger or other 12 volt small power source. Also a piece of steel to sacrifice. I use old worn-out files. Pour in water and washing soda, plug in the power and walk away. A few days later the tools are rust-free.

drinkypoo (author)funatorium2015-11-14

It might be wise to mention that if using electrolysis, you must not use it on exciting alloys like cromoly or stainless steel, or anything which is chromed or otherwise electroplated. You will reverse the reaction and the waste water will be horribly toxic. And of course that if you use salt water, it will remove the rust but also make toxic chlorine gas.

ChrisB13 (author)funatorium2015-11-09

A few days? I have never had to wait more than a couple of hours for this to work. I would be afraid after a few days you would be causing extra corrosion.

dhackaray (author)ChrisB132015-11-14

it only removes the rust.

funatorium (author)ChrisB132015-11-09

Castings like this vise tend to get heavy rust. I commonly leave heavily rusted tools in the bath for a week, take them out, scrub lightly with a stiff brush, and return them back in for more time. As long as the current is on, the tools will not corrode.

ac-dc (author)funatorium2015-11-08

In some cases that is a better solution to rust removal, but in this case it might only be a shortcut to doing less sanding. Old iron pieces like this are rather crude by today's standards and improve through the abrasive resurfacing process to get rid of cast marks or poor machining, and rough grain made smooth (which also makes it easier to clean later) plus that leaves a surface better prepped to take primer, or self-priming paint.

Anomy (author)funatorium2015-11-08

Pour in water and washing soda, plug in the power and walk away. A few days later the tools are rust-free.

Or the tools are disappeared or pitted because the polarity was reversed.


funatorium (author)Anomy2015-11-08

Yah, I like to believe people will look up how to do it rather than guessing, but I suppose a few will try to do it without reading instructions and get what they deserve.

qoompel (author)2015-11-13

Build your own sandblaster ;)

alba100 (author)2015-11-11

I know many people advocate electrolysis as a rust solution.

An alternative if to use molasses and water.

1 part molasses 10 parts water

Pull the item apart and soak in a bath of molasses/water

Depending on the amount of rust, it might take 1-2 weeks.....check

Final hose off with water and rub with steel wool.

BE AWARE...this treatment is very effective BUT very smelly,

I did have a neighbour looking for a dead rat because of the smell, so an outdoor solution.

halciber (author)2015-11-10

Nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing this.

Lowadobe (author)2015-11-09

Electroysis as described by the other Commenter is the ONLY way to go. Contrary to another posters fears the item will not "corrode". Then #1 steel wool can be used to freshen the piece and go from there. used it to restore an old drum that had dozens of small parts - all rusted. NO WAY I'd sit there with a wire brush and steel wool on dozens of bolts and nuts. Do the electrolysis thing - it's completely safe. Just use the right car battery charger. Any steel as an anode will do and put it all in a plastic tub with the soda ash and water. Voila.

steve1911 (author)2015-11-09

Very nice job. A restoration like this is very satisfying.

Charleston1 (author)2015-11-04

Super job! I have done the same thing to many of my own tools, most recently a pry bar and two Estwing hammers that have seen better days. A suggestion - to remove the remains of the old oil, use denatured alcohol or even rubbing alcohol (do not use vodka as it is too many other uses). It easily cuts the old oil and leaves a nice dry metal ready for paint.

Well done on your maiden voyage. I look forward to other projects from you. {:-)>

ac-dc (author)Charleston12015-11-08

No. Alcohol will not cut through old carbonized oil. It will take the wet surface coating off but not dissolve the rest which needs to come off to get pant to adhere well. Granted, no solvent will get that off quickly, it usually involves abrasives then the solvent just holds it in solution similar to detergent but without the water to cause new rust.

All_ (author)Charleston12015-11-04

i used alcohol and soap, tnks for the tip!
(vodka i used to remove the oil from the body, inside out hahaha)

tpobrienjr (author)2015-11-08

Very well done - like new!

lucjoker (author)2015-11-08

Nice work,looks like new.

I have a similar vise,was all rusted and dirty and now

is clean but still rusty.

I like the real old look,so i only cleaned the dirt of and poured some oil

over it . the oil wil dry off ,but will slow down the rusting.

A lot less work :D

Andromeda30 made it! (author)2015-11-08

A beautiful job, thanks for sharing, which seem these other, Greetings

TwistedxKnights (author)2015-11-08

The old neighbor would be proud that you restored it instead of just junking it.

NitroRustlerDriver (author)2015-11-08

Citric acid works great at removing rust. I discovered its use from another instructable. I buy it in powdered form from a brewing supply. Mix it with water, soak the parts for an hour or more and no more rust! Nice thing is it gets into every little nook and cranny (like internal threads) where a brush can't reach.

Anomy (author)2015-11-08

I have several vices, some are actually tools!

(rim shot)

I would skip painting. There isn't a paint that will hold up against the beating and banging, solvents, torches and welders that a working vise will be exposed to.

I suggest coating/shooting it with some kind of oil. WD 40 or Lith, whatever hydrocarbon is kicking around the shop, and let it go.

billbillt (author)2015-11-08

This is very good... I am glad that some people would rather do this than buy a new one... It looks new to me when finished... GREAT!!...

Zwag (author)2015-11-04

Scrapped my first comment now I've seen others spotted the flip. But what the heck is heavy duty paint for iron?

micksmixxx (author)Zwag2015-11-04

Hi Zwag,

The "heavy duty paint for iron" MAY be referring to something like Hammerite, or a similar product. Apparently, it's not sold in the United States ... at least, not according to the Hammerite website:

It offers additional protection against rust. You can even scrape off flaking rust and then paint directly onto the iron. We applied it to our front garden gates several years ago, and it's done a marvellous [marvelous, if you are, indeed, one of my American cousins] job in preventing rust from forming.

caperjack (author)micksmixxx2015-11-04

Here in Canada we would use a paint called Tremclad and or Rust-Oleum it likely may be found in the US

micksmixxx (author)caperjack2015-11-04

Nice one, sir. I'm glad that someone else popped in with identification of simiilar products. ;-)

All_ (author)micksmixxx2015-11-06

me too =)
its a colaborative place, sometimes i have trouble to find some things here in brazil

All_ (author)caperjack2015-11-04

tanks, i'll update the instructable with canadian and american names =)

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