View Full Version : South Bend Shaper Vice and a couple other questions

07-12-2007, 10:29 AM
Last week, I purchased a South Bend 7" Shaper and there wasn't a vice with it. So, I noticed a vice on e-bay. Well, now the vice is at $100. Since it is my understanding that these vices can go for much higher, and since I am not going to be paying out the wazoo for a shaper vice, will a milling vice work? I may have to purchase a milling vice because I only have 2 Sherline milling vices and they are probably too light duty.

Also, I noticed that the "T slots" really aren't T slots but instead are just shallow grooves. However, there is a large, round hole and about 6 small holes in the top surface of the table. All of the holes appear to be factory made. I believe that the large hole is for the vice...is this a correct assumption?

Why are the "T slots" only grooves and not real T-slots?

Thanks in advance,


07-12-2007, 11:34 AM
If the shallow grooves to which you refer, are on the bottom of the vice, they are not T slots, but key slots.
You use them to key the vice into the T slots of your machine table for repeatable setups.

07-12-2007, 12:25 PM
The only difference I've noticed about the vices on both my little Atlas horizontal mill and my Atlas shaper is that they're low profile. Come to think of it, they may just be the same vice.

The low profile makes them a lot more rigid than my small Palmgren milling vices. You know - the "stubby beam" principle.


07-12-2007, 01:00 PM
Yeah...shaper vises in general are quite low profile. They have an integrated swivel base which saves some height. They also often have shorter jaw faces which also saves some space. You don't have a large work envelope on a shaper so using up as little as possible *could* be important.

I managed to get the original vise for my Sheldon 12". I read in the shaper yahoo group (IIRC) that a shaper without its vise is not really worth all that much. I don't know that I would go that far, but they are important. Probably more so for an odd shaper for which there may not be a bunch of original vises floating around.

I belive that someone on the web once made castings for either the Atlas shaper vise or the South Bend...just not sure which.

Another important distinction is that a shaper vise will often have a dis-proportional jaw opening or jaw width as compared to a mill vise of the same physical size. Since they eat up most of the shaper table space, the thinking must be to let you actually use as much as possible. Shaper strokes on unsupported work sound like a recipie for accidents. My Sheldon vise jaws are 7" wide and opens 6" in spite of being just over half the size and weight of a 6" Kurt with a swivel base.

Edit-- one other thing that struck me, too, as I was trying to figure out a way to use something other than the OEM vise on my sheldon.....often a largish milling vise will have mounting flanges that will not come even close to matching up with the shaper table t-slots. I could never come up with an easy way of mounting a 6" mill vise to my shaper, for example. The Sheldon vise was made to fit the table.


07-12-2007, 05:52 PM
The SB shaper vice table large round hole is for mounting the vice and the groves are for 3/8 keys to keep the vice straight.
The original vice has a degree graduated base so you can set any angle you chose.
If you look closely at your table you may see the original witness marks that allow that setting.
I have a 7" SB shaper with the original vice is how I know.
I would recommend you try to get an original vice because they work very well. They are worth the high price they bring. Knowing what I know about them I would pay $200-300 for one in good shape.

Al Messer
07-12-2007, 06:27 PM
The castings were for the Atlas Shaper Vise and were produced by a gentleman named Halprit(?) Sandru(?). Check the archives of the Yahoo Shaper Group.

07-12-2007, 06:31 PM
Here is the web site for the Atlas Shaper Vise castings

07-12-2007, 06:43 PM
Hi. It appears that the SB vise is a spitting image of the Ammco/Rockwell Delta one. I have an Ammco (came with a vise but without belt guards) and I can't tell the differences from photos etc of the SB one. There is drawing in the Yahoo Shaper Group files of this Ammco vise. It wouldn't be too difficult to make one as just about all the surfaces are machined on the original. Some continuous cast iron bar would work well.

Let me know if you are interested in this and I can point you in the right direction.



Michael Moore
07-12-2007, 07:57 PM

shows you what a Rhodes shaper vice looks like. Note that the handle goes on the end of the screw at the fixed jaw, not the moveable jaw.


07-12-2007, 08:40 PM
There is drawing in the Yahoo Shaper Group files of this Ammco vise.

I presume this is the one. I found that "plan" sheet a while ago and while it does provide basic dimensions and parts arrangement it isn't a real set of plans. There appears to be 3 sheets in the set but I could only find sheet one. The drawings look like the drafter went out of his way to make them hard to read so I have been "tuning" the images to make it a little easier. I intend to scale it up and make a few changes to build it for my Whipp shaper. This once I will make an exception and use an existing plan, more or less. This is a perfect shaper project. I haven't finished fiddling with the drawings but they are good enough.





07-13-2007, 08:15 AM
Evan, that's the one. As you say there are some dimensions missing. The thread on the post is 1/2-13 and, while I haven't taken mine apart, I think there is a thrust bearing at the back of the lead screw.

I think the "headstock" and base could be made from two pieces of CI screwed/pinned and keyed together as per a Kurt, thus reducing machining time/waste. Yes indeed, a nice project for the Shaper itself.


07-13-2007, 08:18 AM
P.S. If any of you need more detail let me know


07-13-2007, 09:24 AM
A note about vise lead screws, they are normally either buttress thread which is a square thread or trapezoidal thread such as acme. You can buy vise lead screw kits for making wood working vises. You can also use acme bolt stock which is available at many industrial hardware suppliers along with nuts.

The larger the diameter of the lead screw for a given threads per inch the lower the helix angle of the thread and the greater the mechanical advantage it gives. Use the largest diameter screw that will fit in the available space .

07-13-2007, 10:46 AM
Evan-- back before I was able to con the original owner of my Sheldon shaper out of the original vise for the shaper, I was struggling with just what to use. One thing that came to mind was that Groz drill press vise you once posted here. It can be flipped two directions, but has no swivel base. I never had a good feel for its overall scale though. It did seem pretty low profile. Just wondered if you had given that a thought....at least in the interim until you make one.

The Atlas design with *no* swivel base, but a pivot pin and mating hole in the table is pretty clean and sure saves height. I am not sure I could bring myself to bore a hole in a table that didn' t have one, however. I hate modifying old iron in irreversible ways.


07-13-2007, 03:44 PM
The Groz vise is a nice drill press vise but not built for my shaper. It might be ok on a smaller shaper. Here are the dimensions.


07-13-2007, 06:57 PM
The vise on my circa 1940 Ammco has a 1/2-12 LH V-thread on the leadscrew. I checked it 3 times as I was sure it was a 13 tpi thread. Seems to have held up over the years - especially as the cutting tool pushes against the thread. On the other hand, maybe it wasn't originally designed to last this long!