Introduction: 50 Year Old Vise Restoration- Using Basic Tools

About: I've been making Instructables since I was 13. Now, I mostly make videos of my projects, however I'm still active here, so don't hesitate to reach out! Sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!

I've been wanting to buy a vise for a long time, But vises are very expensive.

Luckily, Yesterday, When I was helping my grandpa organize and arrange some tools in his toolboxes, We found a really old vise, It turns out that my great-grandpa used it to make all sorts of different plaster and clay sculptures!

After hearing that it's over 50 years old, I wasn't surprised to see that it rusted and was covered in dirt. I didn't want to leave it this way, Especially if I wanted to keep it in my room, This wouldn't look really good.

I decided to do a quick google search to see if I can find any tips on how to fix it, And I was pretty bummed to see that there were only a few tutorials, Which weren't that great...

Then I remembered Jimmy Diresta, I've seen him do many "tool restoration" videos, I knew that I didn't have the expensive tools that he has but it still would have been better than nothing, But even he didn't have any vise restoration videos! So I had to think of everything myself, And what you're seeing here is what I did.

I will let you know that my camera is a pretty pessimistic camera, The pictures don't show a very big difference in the before and after but trust me that there is a dramatic difference

Okay, Let's get to work!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Tools & Materials (sorting them separately doesn't really work):

1. Utility Knife (Preferably one with an old blade)

2. 4-Grit Sand-Paper (Improvisation: Steel Wool Cleaner from the kitchen)

3. 1-2 Paper Towel Squares

4. WD-40 (Improvisation: Vegetable Oil from the kitchen)

5. Dust Mask (optional)

6. Leather Gloves (optional)

7. And Obviously, A Vise


You might also want to Rust-Proof (coat) and Spray-Paint the vise, I might do this but I still haven't decided (I'll add a picture here if I'll do it)

Adding grease to the Main Screw is always a good idea, But mine still works very smooth, Even after 50 years!

Step 2: Scrape Off the "Aggressive" Dirt & Rust With a Utility Knife

I used a Utility Knife to scrape off most of the dirt, By applying some pressure while scraping, The knife should remove most of the dirt.

I did this for about half an hour, Turns out it's pretty fun!

Step 3: Spray WD-40, and Wipe It Off

I sprayed each part of the vise a couple times, And then wiped it off with a paper towel. I also found out that the WD-40 helps remove more dirt from the vise.

Nothing can make you happier than having to use more paper towels because so much rust is removed!

Step 4: Sand the Vise

I sanded the Vise with 4-Grit Sandpaper, Anything close to 4-Grit will work fine, But sanding blocks don't work, I tried them.

Sand until you reach the point that you think it is good enough, And then keep sanding, You can't really over-sand so "The more the better" :)

But seriously, Sand the vise until it is clean and shiny

Step 5: Done!

I will say it again, My camera is pessimistic, It looks so much better in real life!

Now you can do whatever you want with it: Paint, Grease, Install, And have fun!

I'm sure that I will over-over-over use it! So happy to finally have a vise

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