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Ever snap a vise?

Old 09-13-18, 10:45 PM
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Ever snap a vise?

I donated a frame to the Coop and decided to try freeing up it's majorly stuck bottom bracket while there. It is a tapered crank style BB. As is common, the removal tool is first lightly bolted to the crank axle, then once the tool is secure so it doesn't slip around, clamped in the vise and then using the frame as leverage turning and hopefully freeing the BB. Did all this prep, and while applying significant pressure heard a "clack" sound and I thought "success!", but no. Instead the result was a snapped vise. Anyone else out there snap a vise performing a similar operation? I think I'll try an impact wrench instead on this BB at another Coop.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:47 PM
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Pictures or it didn’t happen.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:34 PM
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...it's not that hard to break the new ones. For your replacement, look at something a little more pricey that says ductile Iron" somewhere in the description.

One of my favorite leg vises when I was a blacksmith was one that someone had broken (probably by hitting something in it with a sledge), and then repaired with a steel strap wrapped and forge brazed to hold the pieces together. It's difficult to describe, but it still worked great and had that history of real work look to it.

A MAPP gas torch is your friend in this operation.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:15 AM
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No, I've never snapped a vise. I once broke two cold chisels on an auto axle nut before cutting it off.

Heat and impact often work better for me than leverage. That, and turning the left-hand threads the correct way.

I prefer an electric heat gun to an open flame.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:23 AM
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Small, cheap vises are brittle and will fracture if stressed heavily. As 3alarmer noted, if you are buying one buy something as big as you can find room for, made of ductile iron and is by a good brand name. It won't be cheap but it will be a lifetime investment. Mine is a 4" Sear's Craftsman bought back when Sears sold quality tools. It been in service and abused for over 30 years and still functions perfectly.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:28 AM
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Whoops, sorry double post. Not patient enough for the first one to post

Last edited by HillRider; 09-14-18 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
IAnyone else out there snap a vise performing a similar operation?
Yes. It was some years ago when trying to remove a freewheel. The vice was just a cheap piece of junk made of crude looking metal, that had been left behind by the prior owners of our house. It worked well enough to hold a saw guide when cutting down a fork steering tube, and I sort of miss having it around for that purpose.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:51 AM
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Not sure how it helps to know if someone else has done something before. As noted by others the solution is not to avoid something that went wrong, but rather to understand why and what to change in the future. Unfortunately one can no longer depend on name brands like Craftsman, Maytag, etc. as they have been cheapened by shortcuts and outsourcing, or the name has been sold without the quality being maintained. I paid a goodly sum (close to $100?) for a Craftsman vise for our retail bike co-op back in the mid 70's and routinely used if for fixed cup removal, frame and fork straightening, etc. without a problem. I would expect to pay over $150, perhaps well over these days.. Look for one with a lot of positive reviews after long-term use, and certainly a strong guarantee.
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Old 09-14-18, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
Not sure how it helps to know if someone else has done something before.
I don't think I understand that statement but it generated your response so perhaps if I'd re-phrased the thread title to something more suitable just for you like: "Mastercraft vise snaps after performing simple and routine BIKE COOP operation - News at 11:00. Stay tuned, it snaps but can it crackle or pop? Our expert panel is here to offer their critique."
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Old 09-14-18, 05:58 PM
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I didn't snap one, but bent it. The vise was just too small for the job.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for the replies fellas. Most feedback was useful input. The vise now dwelling under the bench in shame is a Canadian Tire product, Mastercraft brand (i.e. Chinese POS). It was chosen and installed by the Coop not me. However, being involved in it's demise I think it prudent I help resolve the problem because the shop needs a vise. Therefore, I am providing a donor vise obtained specifically as replacement: a Charles Parker 3-1/2" swivel variety, model 973. It'll have to be adapted to the bench but should be doable. I hope it lasts longer than the crumbly one.

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Old 09-14-18, 06:24 PM
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i've sheared the swivel base from the mount trying to reef on a bolt stuck into a bracket. Auto related, not bicycle.
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Old 09-14-18, 07:28 PM
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Indeed, cheap vises are cheap for a reason: crappy castings and pot metal. The good ones are quite strong, willing to bend before breaking, and very heavy for their size. They also have a price commensurate with those advantages--look up a Wilton Tradesman-level vise...

*edit* I should add, good vises also don't have lash in their jaws...you turn the screw, the jaws move. The swivel clamps hold much better, as well.
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Old 09-15-18, 01:47 PM
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Yes

Yep...just like you I busted a cheap one. That's when I learned good ones are salty
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Old 09-15-18, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Thanks for the replies fellas. Most feedback was useful input. The vise now dwelling under the bench in shame is a Canadian Tire product, Mastercraft brand (i.e. Chinese POS). It was chosen and installed by the Coop not me. However, being involved in it's demise I think it prudent I help resolve the problem because the shop needs a vise. Therefore, I am providing a donor vise obtained specifically as replacement: a Charles Parker 3-1/2" swivel variety, model 973. It'll have to be adapted to the bench but should be doable. I hope it lasts longer than the crumbly one.

The good vises in the ad above are the ones with the lead screw inside the movable jaw's guide bar which are 5 of the 7 shown. An exposed lead screw is vulnerable to damage from chips, filings and general crud and are indications the vise is not a good one.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The good vises in the ad above are the ones with the lead screw inside the movable jaw's guide bar which are 5 of the 7 shown. An exposed lead screw is vulnerable to damage from chips, filings and general crud and are indications the vise is not a good one.

Ok, thanks... makes sense. The one the shop is getting is Model 973-1/2 (a covered drive model). These vises are from the 40's & cast from 'Merican Steel. I would've preferred to have given them the "Big Bear" 5in model but c'est la vie as they say. It's a little rusty so I'll probably hit it up with a drill & wire cup before handing it over. The shop's colours are green and white. I thought it would be nice if someone took the time to mask and paint it too, considering it will hopefully be in use there for a long while. The 973-1/2 is a collectors item, apparently, amongst those who have their vise vices.

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Old 09-15-18, 08:28 PM
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There’s two types of vices. Record (made in England) and all them other ones.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The good vises in the ad above are the ones with the lead screw inside the movable jaw's guide bar which are 5 of the 7 shown. An exposed lead screw is vulnerable to damage from chips, filings and general crud and are indications the vise is not a good one.
I see that 3 of the 8 vises shown have exposed lead screws.

I don't recall breaking a vise, but I do remember a friend knocking his workbench over when trying to remove a freewheel . The bench wasn't bolted to the wall, so when he applied lots o' torque... boom, over it went.
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Old 09-16-18, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
I see that 3 of the 8 vises shown have exposed lead screws.
Yes they have which is why I would buy one of the other 5 models.
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Old 09-17-18, 09:36 AM
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I've got a Wilton with 6" jaws. Heavy and pricey but really nice. It has never been lacking for home, auto, or bike projects.

I think it's about $200. Worth it in my opinion.
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Old 09-17-18, 09:50 AM
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I was using a small machinist vise, from a my drill press, as a cotter pin press. Big mistake. The fixed jaw on the end cracked across the vise.
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Old 09-17-18, 10:12 AM
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Yep, been there, done that. Attempted to repair a pickup truck, not a bike-related repair. We were using 1/2" sockets to drive out a universal joint from a driveline, but the jaws failed instead. Even more embarrassing, it was not my vise. I bought the owner a good vise, and redeemed myself. This was many years ago, but I remember it being an expensive lesson at the time.
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Old 09-25-18, 04:37 PM
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Avoid Canadian Tire Mastercraft Vises ... they are garbage !

BTW, last night I popped into one of the other Bike Co-Ops on the way home. Guess what? THEY'VE also snapped a vise - and the same crummy model too! I noticed it residing in it's proper place inside the scrap metal bin. They've replaced it with an old american made open-screw type for now but are going for old big steel eventually via some antique shop.
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Old 09-25-18, 05:01 PM
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Many of the new discount Asian Import vises are made of cast iron.

Get a good American made vise... maybe 30 years old, and you'll have a heck of a time breaking it.

What are you breaking on the vises? I've seen broken mounts or swivels, but I've never seen broken jaws, I don't think.

Hmmm...
Look for a Wilton brand Vise.

Not cheap, but they come with a lifetime warranty, and they mean it.

Wilton Tools | Home
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Old 09-30-18, 09:37 AM
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Hi Cliff, the part where the jaw meets the body snaps. I'll see if I can get a picture or two but the trashed vise at the shop has disappeared, presumably taken back to Canadian Tire to obtain some sort of refund or (ack) replacement. The Parker vise I have for them is less svelt than what was there but made in the late 1940's USA - should be good.
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