Small Vice Restoration




Well hello everybody!
Pak here, and today I am making an instructable on a small table top vice I found. The plan for this little guy is to clean off all the rust and corrosion and make it a small jewelry vice for the missus.

As you can see the vice wasn't in too bad of mechanical shape, but had a long while of rust on top of it to give it some corrosion spots. So after it gets cleaned up, she gets to choose what color it will be and so such.

So here we go.

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Step 1: Materials

The materials and tools I needed for this instructable are as follows:

1. Evaporust, a rust removing agent that I purchased from Harbor Freight for about $20/gallon, which is reusable.

2. A plastic Ziplock bin to hold the vice pieces to be submerged in the Evaporust.

3. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) gloves and eye protection for the solvents and buffing wheel.

4. Grease and an application brush.

5. A bolt that fit the bottom threads of the vice to secure it to the table.

Step 2: Solvent Bath

Making sure before hand, but size the plastic container to allow the vice to sit low and comfortably in the tray.

Fill the container just enough that the entirety of the pieces are submerged in the solvent.

The directions and reviews had the soak time for about a 24 hour period, but I ended up letting it soak for a good day and a half due to other time constraints, turning it over once about half way through.

As you can see the solvent really took to pulling the rust off and making it cloudy. And after skimming off and pouring the Evaporust back into the jug, there were good rust and corrosion bits left in the container. Dispose of it properly, though it is water soluble.

Once out of the solvent, I gave it a water bath to rinse off any residual solvent. Making sure to rinse though all moving parts and hard to reach areas. Then dried and blasted it out with canned air.

Though where the corrosion was the worst, as I expected, it was pitted somewhat deeply, oh well, still is a good vice, even if it is cratered.

Step 3: Putting the Finish on It.

After it fully dried out, it was time for an inspection. Noticing the few corrosion points was sad, but didn't effect the overall function, so hurrah. But the solvent and subsequent wash left a mat grey finish all over, so putting on my PPE it was time for a rotation through the buffer wheel.

Ah, cleaned up nicely, the new bolt (though I will later invest in a smaller one I can weld a T handle to for easier use) screwed in cleanly and fits snug. The overall galvanized look appealed to my missus so she wanted it to stay that color, so I gave it a slight coat of a clear polyurethane, to preserve it. Except on the vice screw which I gave a light brushing of synthetic grease over the screw and the internal nut.

Spinning it back together had it feeling brand new again, plus the small size makes it perfect for the small jewelers/craft vice the missus could use!

Thank you all for reading! I really appreciate it and hope it helps!

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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Please don't wear gloves while you're working on the wheel. It is incredibly dangerous.


    I wouldn't feel pain over the pitting, chances are it was already there, probably subcutaneous- the slight rusting just exposed it. My schedule for this type of restoration is simply wire brush to knock off the heavy stuff, soak in vinegar overnight or longer, rinse, dry, quick wire brush finale, and coat with boiled linseed oil. A painted finish can then be applied if desired, but the BLO is usually tough enough for shop work. Nice work too!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, alright, I suppose it could of been, or even if not it isn't THAT awful of pitting. Ah, that was the way I was going to go until I came across the solvent I used, just happen to fit my hobby budget and (for the missus' sake) not stink up the garage like vinegar. I had a light oil coating, but thank you for the BLO advise, have a container going to waste and now applied! So thank you much!

    Big Red aka Gav

    4 years ago on Step 3

    Very cool Pak! I have an unrestored one of these myself. I also have several larger vises in the restoration queue. I think it's wonderful when people take the time to restore these old tools. Chances are they'll last long enough for our kid's kid's to be using them. Good job :)

    1 reply
    Pak-KBig Red aka Gav

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh yes, not saying new is trash, but I have quite the soft spot for old tools that I am able to mend/restore back to daily usage. But thank you so much!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, unless the missus changes her mind, it just got a light layer of boiled linseed oil to preserve the shiny raw metallic finish. But if she does you can bet you will see it added!