View Full Version : Small hand vise

02-22-2011, 12:28 AM
I'm working on a small project that one of the members of Portland Model Engineers brought in. He had two photos of a small hand vise. One was from the side and one was approximately isometric. He was having problems reverse engineering the dimensions. I offered to help and made up a 3D CAD model in Solidworks. The dimensions were checked by replicating and overlaying an appropriate view of the model over the almost Isometric photo.

The Cad model ended up looking like this:


After generating the model I started cutting a part in D2 tool steel on the mill, lathe and hand operated shaper. Progess photos follow:
Current state:

I'm down to the pont of hand filing contours, hardening the vise and making the clamp screw and nut.

02-22-2011, 01:09 AM

Check on the PM forum under the antique section . Search hand vise, Member Rivett608 posted a picture of a couple he had.
I think OldBiker made one and posted a picture of the one he made.

02-23-2011, 12:37 AM
Here is the original...... dates from about 1650!!!!.... are you going to engrave it too?



the kid
02-23-2011, 04:28 AM
yes, there was a beautiful replica made by another pm member which you should be able to find, I have a feeling quite a few people will make these, I wonder how many people are making them or have already and aren't saying anything about it.

02-23-2011, 03:08 PM
I've got the rough profiles in the jaws, neck and loop and contining to refine them.

At this point I feel confident enough to convert the 3D model into dimensioned 2D drawings.

I know Revett608 wants a set as he was the fellow who talked to the fellow I originally talked to and who originally provided me with the photos. I can post JPGs or PDFs of the drawings when done. Should be a few of more days.

These kind of projects just sort of suck you in and compel you to finish.

02-23-2011, 03:54 PM
This is weird I went on a little tool o holic binge at the local hardware store on friday and they had a clamp there just like your's, I think it was made by Irwin.
Looks really nifty, if it wasn't for the fact that it was made by a 5 year old I would bought it.
Your's looks really good, post some pic's when it's done.

02-23-2011, 04:04 PM
Better be careful about hardening. I don't think D2 will make a spring. You may pop the loop on your vise. Check out D2.

02-23-2011, 04:51 PM
I see a job for a ball turner.

Anyone venture how the old one was made? Would it have been the blacksmith?

02-23-2011, 05:07 PM
It probably would have been better in O1, but I had a chunk of D2.

Heat teat for this material is 1800 deg F for 20 min.
Air cool.
Temper 1000 deg F for final Rc57.

Slightly hard for a spring, but should work. A big part will be bolting the vise with washers for 5/16 jaw opening before hardening. FEA says it shouldn't overstress when the jaws are closed.

Interesting feature on this is the curved inner and outer surface on the loop going to almost sharp edge. It turns out this prevents fatigue cracks from starting at the edges as the thin edge actually has fairly low stress. Most of the stress is at the center of the width where the loop is thickest. This was probably important when material quality was a little less uniform.

The ball turner would work for about 2/3 of the outside of the loop. Instead I milled the outside shape to a scribed line and then put the part in the lathe.
I used a slightly radiused tool nose and touched the tool tip on the center of the flat on the outside of the loop. after zeroing the cross slide I backed the tool out, turned on the lathe and then fed into the part to zero on the cross slide. After several touch offs, it left a respectable spherical surface.

One thought while running this would be to turn under a strobe light so that I could see clearly when the cut just started to clean up the flat around the outside of the loop. I may still try that on another project like the vise I make when I snap the loop on this one.

02-24-2011, 07:16 PM
I have used D2 on knives. I HOPE your spring doesn't crack. D2 can be VERY brittle. 1095 spring steel is 52 RC max.. Are you drilling a hole to add the bottom stob?

02-25-2011, 04:35 PM
The stud on the bottom is part of the loop. I used a threading die to put a straight machine thread next to the loop and then hand filed the wood screw thread onto the taper.

The only thing left to cut is the cross drill to lock the clamping screw into the round lug under the rear jaw. I've decided not to engrave the leaf pattern as I don't want the stress riser in the loop. Maybe next time.

03-10-2011, 01:34 AM
I've taken this just about as far as I plan to go, except for finishing the drawings.

Here it is as the main frame came out of heat treat. 1800 deg F for 20 min. Air cool and 1100 deg F temper for 2 hrs.


Then I turned 10-32 threaded rod for the ball end, turned a small stop nut for the back side and turned, milled and finished the wing nut.


The threaded rod, stop nut and wing nut float in the main frame and are pinned in place with a short .060" pin. the stop nut and wing nut have crowned faces so that the frame flexes equally on both sides so that the jaws match evenly when fully shut. After tempering, the main frame was drillable for the .060 pin and the loop didn't crack when fully tightened.

Finally I turned a hand grip for using it as a "hand vise". The stud on the bottom of the loop has an upper machine thread, 1/4-20 and a tapered wood screw thread on the bottom to go into a wood block or into the hand grip.


The threaded rod, stop and wing nut are polished. I have left the main frame black, except for the faces of the vise jaws. These I filed parallel by loosely clamping the vise on a flat file and then pulled the file through the jaws.

03-18-2011, 01:21 AM
Well, here are the drawings.




PDF files are posted in Yahoo groups, Portland Model Engineers under file names HV1, HV2 and HV3.

If you make one, send photos of the results.

03-18-2011, 03:40 PM
that is a great project very well executed, thanks for sharing it

03-25-2011, 09:53 AM
WOW.... that is pretty cool....... I love the drawings. Think what a contrast they are to the original vise and the guy that made it some 350 years ago? Here the work he beat out on his anvil and filed at his bench is documented in 3-D on a computer? Maybe on the drawings you should add the original is in the "Wm. R. Robertson collection", that way they know it is a copy of something real instead of a made up design.

If you want a more complex project, I just added a lathe circa 1770 to my collection.....


04-22-2011, 07:27 PM
Hi ALL I just added some more information about the original vise and maybe what the thread on the bottom of the tapered sleeve is for on the PM thread.
Turns out this was sold at Christie's in London in 1979!


04-23-2011, 10:00 AM
Fanciest battery cable end I ever saw.

04-26-2011, 09:00 AM
Very nice,that is a simple,but elegant tool.