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View Full Version : identifying blacksmith vises? any experts?



J Tiers
09-22-2010, 09:58 AM
i picked up a couple recently, one of which at least I plan to use, and have no idea who made them.

One is probably a lost cause, not a mark on it. I think every corner company must have made these things 100 years ago. it is a 5 1/4" jaw unit, and weighs as much or more than my anvil.

The other smaller 4" one (with ugly paint) has a "C" in a triangle, which I have seen before but don't know anything about. I pretty much know it is not "Columbian", they seem to have put their full name on. it also has a presumed size mark under it on the bottom side, in my case that is a "1".

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/Bvise_C1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/Bvise_C2.jpg

gwilson
09-22-2010, 10:08 AM
We had an "Indian Chief" post vise in our toolmaker's shop in Williamsburg.

Not sure if your C stands for chief or not. Anyway,those are very strong vises for really beating hard on things at the forge. They are impossible to break,being forged,not cast. You are lucky to have all the parts. Often the jaw spring is missing,or the parts that attach to the log.

I'd certainly remove the ugly red paint!!!

Yours has a decently ornamented screw box. The really old ones had more decoration,and I've seen less than yours. I had one that was nearly 18th.C.,but I loaned it to a jerk. He sold it when he left town(got fired from Williamsburg). It was a loss to lose a vise as beautiful as that one was.

Deja Vu
09-22-2010, 10:09 AM
That one in your first picture...... How are those types used? What is the normal orientation of the jaws? Interesting.....

edit: Never mind, i see now...
http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/78/43/42124378/photos/General-parts/vise2.jpg

I had thought they(and smaller ones) might have been lower "benchtop" mounted and the jaws would be 90* in the belly position with the crank on top. Would need a strong backwall then I suppose. I've never used one.

gwilson
09-22-2010, 10:20 AM
They are screwed to a tall stump in a vertical position. You can really pound on heavy hot iron with them since they are forged,not cast. A few parts may be cast,like the screw box,but the jaws and posts are forged.

Deja Vu
09-22-2010, 10:55 AM
Here's a shot of one mounted off to the side of centershop.(way in back of picture). If permanently mounted back there, the intended use would be for shorter projects it would seem:
http://ronreil.abana.org/anvils.jpg

Dr Stan
09-22-2010, 11:30 AM
Tiers,

I recommend posting your pics at Anvilfire. Lots of expert Blacksmiths there.

Stan

Duffy
09-22-2010, 11:41 AM
Just a guess, but possibly Champion Blower and Forge. They seemed to deal in EVERYTHING blacksmith-related.

Kram
09-23-2010, 10:09 AM
You have a Columbian vise. They also produced high quality cast steel anvils that were also marked with a 'C' in an inverted triangle.

I have a couple of Columbian leg vices, and they work just fine. Since the box is cast on the Columbians and not forged like on other vices, some think that they are not as high quality, but for my purposes, they work just fine.

My main using vices is a 4 1/2" Columbian (around 40 pounds) and a 7 3/8" (about 170 pounds) forged English vise (it is almost identical in design to my Peter Wright vise, but it is not marked with a name).

lazlo
09-23-2010, 12:06 PM
Here's a shot of one mounted off to the side of centershop.(way in back of picture).

Wow, a brand-new Peddinghaus. I wished you lived closer! :D

Jerry, I have the brother of your 4" leg vise. Mine is in great condition -- it has the original buttress screw. I've never seen one painted though :)

J Tiers
09-23-2010, 10:41 PM
The Columbian, AND Champion, as far as I know both tended to put their full name and location on their products.

Columbian:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Blacksmith-Vise-Columbian-Post-Leg-Vise-Post-Vise-/200521825009?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb0083af1

My Champion drill press has their name in full along with "warranted" and other verbage. I don't see why they would have failed to do it on this one.

There IS one point in your favor..... the "C" in the triangle is the same in each case. But no actual name, and the attachment of the bench plate is completely different to this on all the Columbian vises I have seen.

Also, the housing in the jaw for the screw is a little different to the Columbians I have seen. It shows evidence of having been split, and the tails formed around a pin.

However, the C and triangle does seem to be a trademark.... Maybe this is older, or newer than the cast ones, or the ones with the u-bolt attachment. For that matter, the entire spring assy in the ebay listing is more like one for a "wedge box". Either the ebay is a Columbian replacement part on anotehr vise, or maybe the whole thing really is a Columbian.

Columbian made nice vises, but the no-name I plan to keep for sure is a lot bigger, it's a 5 1/4". This one may have to leave eventually.


Evidence of split screw housing
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/Bvise_C4.jpg

The bigger one
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/Bvise_A1.jpg

Kram
09-24-2010, 01:30 AM
I believe that the wedge attachments are the older style for the Columbian vises and the u-bolts were the newer design.

A reference book that I have (Anvils in America by Richard Postman) has prints of old advertisements. A Columbian ad from 1907 has a vise with wedge attachment on the bench mount and a bell-shaped box like your red vise while ads from 1917 and 1918 have the u-bolt attachment and the shorter, open ended screw box.

Additionally, their anvils had a few different trademarks, depending on the year and model of anvil. Some had just the C in the inverted triangle, some had the word 'Columbian', some had the C in the inverted triangle with 'The Columbian Hardware Company' over the C, some had the inverted triangle with the C in in, and the triangle is surrounded by 'Columbian Hardware Company' etc. In a nutshell, they used a variety of trademarks. I would assume this variety would carry over to their vises.

the kid
09-24-2010, 01:30 AM
lol, saw these on PM earlier today! Good vices, healthier than beer and cigs:p

lazlo
09-24-2010, 02:26 AM
Jerry, this is mine. Will Bastas told me the bench mounting plate was shop made (uses wedges) -- he said it was common for the plates to be swapped, and remade. The vise sure looks similar to the one in the Ebay auction otherwise:

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Blacksmithing/IMG_3797.jpg

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Blacksmithing/IMG_3798.jpg

J Tiers
09-24-2010, 09:34 AM
Kram:

That is, of course extremely good sense, and very good points. The probability is that they DID go to a 'cheaper" and maybe less likely to loosen setup with the Ubolt. And using different logos is typical...... People didn't have the "logo=brand" mindset, and so the marks often varied.



Jerry, this is mine. Will Bastas told me the bench mounting plate was shop made (uses wedges) -- he said it was common for the plates to be swapped, and remade. The vise sure looks similar to the one in the Ebay auction otherwise:


Well, they ALL look like that, pretty much, that's the issue, isn't it?

But yours and the auction one have very different-looking "nuts" for the screw. The plate does look shop made, and probably, being forged, is much tougher than the cast originals..... although the yoke was always forged I think, the plate and yoke block part is what would have been cast.

I need to get the thing mounted. Of course the Columbian smaller one easily fits the height of the bench, while the big no-name one is actually a little short. I'll have to put a block under it. I think teh bemd is from teh P.O., who had it set in a bracket on the leg of his bench.

When I got it, I also picked up a punch, a small flatter (made, I think from a damaged fuller), and a small hot chisel. There were two buckets of various tools, but I need to get the forge set up again before I get too worried about nicer tools. There were three vises, I bought two, figuring I could move one if I didn't want both. The third was missing the leg, and appeared to have a socket for it.

lazlo
09-24-2010, 10:59 AM
Well, they ALL look like that, pretty much, that's the issue, isn't it?

Yeah, I spent awhile browsing Ebay last night for "(leg, post) vise", and they all look the same :) It's pretty easy to spot the wrought-iron versus steel versions though.


I need to get the thing mounted. Of course the Columbian smaller one easily fits the height of the bench, while the big no-name one is actually a little short. I'll have to put a block under it.

I just welded a tube that was the right length to fit the leg vise tenon onto a 1/4" plate.

rickandurs
03-31-2015, 03:30 AM
I have a similar vice, NOT a Columbia, the symbol is a circle with little feet rounded at the ends, any help?
Any place I can locate vintage factory/mills/foundry symbols.
I am new to this site and hope I am asking the right group, I'll catch on, great site!!
rickandurs

rickandurs
03-31-2015, 03:46 AM
j tiers, I have an identical vice, if you have the time take the jaws apart and look on the flat washer on the back, take a while and look careful, and clean it real good, a magnifier will help but it is not that small, I just happened to notice it, wish I could post a picture. I posted earlier that it is a circle with two little feet rounded at the ends, let me know if you do it.
rickandurs

J Tiers
03-31-2015, 09:36 AM
I no longer have the red one, sold it to a local Italian metal sculptor.

Still have and use the big no-name one. I assume that is the one you mean?

rickandurs
03-31-2015, 03:41 PM
Yes, "The Big One" I only see one tiny difference, the shape of the very end of the foot, so minor though.
It doesn't take long to unscrew the jaws, takes longer to clean the grease off the parts and your hands.
You can look up my email and I will show you pix if you care.
I need a little Bufco fan real bad too.
rickandurs