Introduction: Restoring a Vintage Vise

About: My name is Louis L. a Knife maker and so much more. Make sure to check out my Instagram @bitterbladeco and my YouTube Bitter Blade Co.

This vise was gifted to me by a friend, this vice has been sitting in my shed collecting dust and thought it was time to fix it up. This is a Reed Mfg. Co. 31. I thought I would bring you guys along for the ride! Below are some tools I used to do this project.

Angle grinder

Wire wheels

Flap disks

Grinding/ cutting wheels


Spray paint

(Wire wheel drill attachment and drill can be used as well)

Step 1: Disassembling the Vise

In order for me to fully see what was wrong, I had to take the entire vise apart. Apart from really deep pitting, rust, and the jaw slide being suck in place due to solid grime it was in decent shape. A little wd40 and elbow grease helped to move some of the seized parts.

Step 2: Removing Rust and Grit

So this was easily the most laborious part of the project, removing all the rust and grit from the vise. For cleaning this vise I used various wire wheels and brush cups for the angle grinder. They work pretty well at blasting off all rust and paint. This took way longer then expected but was more effective then vinegar or a hand wire brush. Although as a word of warning, if you are not paying attention things can take a turn for the worst. These wheels easily grab the work piece and grinder. But if you take your time and pay attention they are great tools.

Step 3: Regrinding Jaws

One of the major issues with this vise was that the jaws were really chewed up. So I believe I thought of the simplest solution in fixing them. I clamped the vise shut and used a cutting wheel on the grinder and cut straight down into the jaws. Once I was about half way through the jaws I was able to take them off and use a flap disk to flatten them out. Cutting this slot acted as a guide to follow for the flap disks so I could clean the inside of the jaws.

Step 4: Prepping for Paint

So after all the rough grinding was finished I hit most of the flat spots on the vise with an 80 grit flap disk in efforts to take down some pitting. After that I did another once over with a finer wire wheel to remove the last bits of rust. To help the paint stick better I cleaned the vise with rubbing alcohol to remove some of the dust and oils.

Step 5: Masking Off for Paint

Any parts of the vise where metal would be rubbing together I made an effort to tape them off. This would insure the vise worked properly.

Step 6: Painting

I used Rustoleum spray paint to finish this vise. I knew that I was going to use this vise so I wasn't concerned with using an ultra durable finish. I applied 3 coats and allowed 24 hours to dry, following the directions on the can.

Step 7: Highlighting Lettering and Reassembly

I stripped the tape off and used a paint marker to highlight the raised lettering on the vise. After this I began putting the parts back together on the vise oiling all the moving components.

Step 8: Finished!

Alright we are done! I am really excited on how this came out and the transformation it went though. Crazy how something so far gone can be turned into something great with a bit of elbow grease. I want to thank all of you for tagging along. I did enter this into the trash to treasure contest so please make sure to vote for me! Also be sure to check out my YouTube channel and my Instagram linked below. Thanks again!

Instagram- @bitterbladeco

YouTube- Bitter Blade Co.

If anyone has any questions, make sure to comment below!

Trash to Treasure

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