Introduction: Vintage Bench Vise Restoration
Several years ago I inherited 2 old bench vises from my grandfather. These vises had been stored in an ice box up until now in an effort to prevent any further deterioration. The one I'll restore here is a Dawn 4" bench vise that was fully seized.
Step 1: Dismantling of the Vise
With the vise being totally seized, the split pin holding the spring had to be cut thus releasing tension on the drive screw. The cause of the seize was simply a build up of grease and grime on the screw and in the screw housing which had hardened over time.
I initially tried WD40 to remedy the seize which made it give a little but not enough to get the screw turning. I ultimately soaked the entire vise in a bucket of degreaser for 24 hours, after which simply lifting the vise out of the bucket by its handle actually turned the screw.
With the pin removed and the screw now turning I reversed the screw completely out of its housing and soaked this in degreaser for another 24 hours. Each component got the same treatment, the vise body, the screw housing, the moving jaw and the jaw inserts.
Step 2: Sanding and Test Reassembly
After degreasing everything the clean up started in earnest. Each part was knocked back with a wire brush in a 5" grinder. All the little nooks and crannies were sanded back by hand and luckily there were no major areas of fill in the vise casting itself.
Step 3: Repainting and Finishing
All parts looking great, time for new paint job.
I used 'Rustoleum 2x' to repaint for 2 reasons
1.) It inhibits rust
2.) It requires no primer.
The fact that it requires no primer appealed to me as thick paint jobs tend to chip easily and being a bench vise this was going to be prone to being banged around.
After 2 thin coats I think it came up nicely.
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