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Yost vise question

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  • Yost vise question

    I just found out that Yost is importing their own copy of the original Versa-Vise from China, their MAV-3.5,and it's selling on EvilBay for less that the other copies. Has anyone used this vise? Any problems with it? I have one of the Brownells POS copies (badly made in the USA) of the original, and one of the older Chinese copies, but am looking to replace the POS version. Thanks for any help you can give me!
    Last edited by 38_Cal; 12-09-2017, 01:11 PM. Reason: added model number
    David Kaiser
    “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  • #2
    I can't help you with opinions on this latest version but I do have one of the POS copies you mentioned. Like so many tools from the cheap sources these days it took a bit of examining and thinking about the shortcomings and how to fix things so they worked like they should. Now it works just fine.

    So perhaps the evil you know and just fix it rather than paying for the same or different but equally annoying errors?


    • #3
      I don't have one of the multi-angles,but I did buy their forged steel import bench vise and like it a lot.It's made in Taiwan and works very well for the money.
      I just need one more tool,just one!


      • #4
        Looked up the model number and here's a link to that same number from Home Despot.

        That's the exact same vise I got through Amazon a few years back. And the one which I tuned up fairly simply. Out of the box you won't be happy with it. The big issue is the little pressure locking cam and the cheezy adjustment screw. I fixed that and it's OK now. Not superb but OK. I put some thick leather pieces onto the faces. It works well enough for holding carving jobs now. But if the items are longer than a foot or so the work still pivots in the jaws too easily. So I rigged up an extendable floor stand as an outboard support. That combo worked well enough for doing some modifications and repairs to some rifle stocks.

        However it's not a great vise for use with lots of torque on the handle even after the tweaking to the locking cam. If you're thinking of it for metal work I'd look elsewhere. For some light tin bashing along with the wood working it might not be too bad. But for most anything else in a MACHINE shop I think you'll find it's a source of total frustration.

        Edited to add correction about face treatment-
        Last edited by BCRider; 12-09-2017, 04:52 PM.


        • #5
          Thanks, BCRider. I understand the limitations on the vise. I have one of the Chinese Shop Fox versions, and also the Brownells copy of the original that I am looking at replacing. I also have a couple of heavy bench vises for heavy work and bashing. Most of what I do is gunsmithing related, including stock work, so the VersaVise design works well for me.
          David Kaiser
          “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
          ― Robert A. Heinlein


          • #6
            "Shop Fox" is cast into one side of mine and "Parrot Vise" and "China" on the other.

            I got mine for general wood carving that involves holding long skinny things and some of those have been rifle stocks as well

            I did mine about 4 or 5 years ago and there's been a lot of different projects since. So I looked it over and it came back to me. First off was that the end of the adjuster screw on the locking cam was dressed up and the edges of the tip given a slight dome like face so it would not dig into the lower side of the ram. second was to smooth up the upper side of the ram. Not fully, just dressed it down so there were smooth "plateaus" to the rough ridges of the coarse cut. The biggest improvement came from flattening the upper surface of the slot in the stationary jaw body. That thing was HORRIBLE. It was a lot of work with a big square file to square and flatten it with a slight upward hollow if anything in the middle. And a lot of checking with a square against the stationary face to get it right. But that was the key to getting the vise to work decently. The adjustment screw I set so the cam would start to lock when the jaws touched lightly at the top with a roughly 1/16" gap at the bottom of the jaws. Then the typical pressure applied to hold wood items pulled the jaws to full contact and the cam locked tightly to the base spigot. Your numbers for this will likely vary from mine but I think you'll find that setting that screw so the jaws first touch at the top like that is the key.

            I tried wood jaws on mine but they didn't really work that well. In the end I glued the heavy veg tanned leather to the faces with about an 1/8" extra to help me avoid dinging the wood on the jaw edges.

            My biggest improvement for the Parrot style vise was the easily adjusted floor stand. I sure wish I had one.... I rigged up something crude and temporary for doing the longer rifle stock work and still need to "get a round tuit" and build a proper support stand. But using the Parrot vise to hold one end and the stand for support on the other does work very nicely. Although since you have a couple of them I'm now guessing that you use both and rely on the flexible angle ability to hold the stocks at two points? That would certainly work very nicely. I've also mounted things in the vise that run along the length of the bench and just use a support block at some point under the extended piece. But while that lets me work along the top and down the one side the other side is not easily seen or worked on well. I think that's when I made up the first quickie floor stand and decided I needed to add a good version to my wood shop to go with the Parrot vise and for other uses. But if you're working on rifle stocks I'm sure you found that as well.
            Last edited by BCRider; 12-10-2017, 01:48 PM.


            • #7
              I have two benches in the garage shop, one with a fixed jaw heavy vise and the Parrot vise, the other with a swivel base heavy vise. I'm looking at the new vise for the bench in the basement that I stole the Parrot vise from when the Brownells POS vise died. I also have a couple of work supports that attach to the front edge of the bench, one in the garage shop to be used with the Parrot, the other in the basement.
              David Kaiser
              “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
              ― Robert A. Heinlein


              • #8
                I noticed that Amazon has them for less than Home Depot. Prime for free shipping too.

                At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.


                • #9
                  I don't have any input on the new ones available, so I can't help there but it sounds like some good advise was given. I have the original Versa-Vise in the regular jaws and the tall jaw model. Since the topic of stands was brought up I thought I'd share mine. I turned a shaft to fit a Pow-R-Arm and that in turn is mounted on an adjustable stand.



                  • #10
                    There was once an accessory to extend this design using a tee/spud that took the base and offset it to 90 degrees from vertical. It adds a huge extra capacity to jaw position. I had a friend TIG up some chrome moly tubing that simulated the cast iron part. I also added a thrust bearing to the pressure screw. The clamping pressure seems adequate now for my purposes.


                    • #11
                      I have to say this about vises. You get what you pay for. I bought a Parker vise for next to nothing used a while back and went through the trouble of cleaning it up. Now I understand why a vise cost so much money. The cast iron on a import vise is brittle and soft. The cast iron on a US made vise is hard, much harder than you can believe. Let me put it this way, for me it was definitely worth cleaning up my Parker, & will be cleaning up my yost 9c. Both USA made. Both tough as nails and holy heck are they nice pieces of equipment. My advise is buy a non import made vise used and clean it up. Some of the old cast iron is worth more used than their copies new, sometimes multiple times more. Also you want to see what went into my Parker restoration. Here it is.
                      12x16" Delta 3d printer (Built from scratch)
                      Logan 825 - work in progress
                      My Blog -
                      Youtube Channel -
                      Instagram -


                      • #12
                        I gotta say that there's something to e3d's post just above. I've done some crazy stuff with my own vises in the metal shop without any issue. Yet the brother in law snapped a pretty nice small milling vise into two pieces without a whole lot of effort that he got just a couple of years ago.

                        With both of the main vises I use being asian imports but both from around 25 years ago I'd even say that Asia CAN make a good vise but they have cheapened out in recent years. So either older and US made or even older imports are likely well worth buying and cleaning up.

                        For wood working I can't see this being as big a deal. If we need to tighten a wooden part in any vise that hard then we should be using something to aid with holding the wood more securely. That much pressure is simply going to harm the wood in any event.