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Rock Island # 75. Repaired/Restored. 5" Custom Jaws

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 Product Description

This neglected Rock Island came to me in pretty rough shape, and became quite a project.  I was saving this vice for later when I needed a challenge. Well, this 5" swivel base vise's number finally came up, and I'm happy to say it is now ready to get back to work. 

I started by machining the static base flat since they forgot to do it at the Rock Island factory.  I did this for two reasons, one was so the swivel action would be smoother and the other was so I could clamp it in my CNC to do jaw shelf surgery.  One of the cast in jaws had been brazed back in place and then broke out and was missing.  So, I just started cutting till I had fresh matching jaw shelves. Then all I had to do is fill in the blank areas with a new set of A2 Tool Steel serrated jaws.  Jaws finished up similar to the Parker style and were heat treated to 54/56 Rockwell.

Next, I started working on the swivel base. It had a crack on the underneath side around the area where the wall thickness is not the same. The inner ring had twice as thick casting as the bottom area and my thought was, when it cooled, stresses were created and a crack surrounded the thicker section. I decided to groove the crack and silver soldered it. The crack will not break and will not effect the strength of the swivel base.  I then hand worked the tee clamp so the static will rotate smoothly when the lock down is loosened. I made a heavy duty lock down and peened a 1144 cold formed handle that will not bend. The swivel lock down has a 1" hex if extra tightening is needed. After that I adjusted the shoulder bolt to get a tighter fit.

I then focused on the spindle.  It had a carriage bolt drilled and frozen in the meatball, so I worked the carriage bolt and welded it in place for a permanent repair. The meatball is now solid like it's supposed to be. I then removed some material from the collar to allow room for an aluminum bronze wear washer. It is located between the meatball and the dynamic jaw support.

I like to have minimum handle rotation to open the vise, so I made a new handle made from 1144 cold formed CRS with 1-1/4 balls peened in place. I also noticed that the nut was very wobbly. It looked like the dove tail section on the nut was sanded too much and caused the nut to raise in the back side, which will cause some backlash issues. I repaired this several times by adding a shim or forming 5052 aluminum around the dovetail. On this one I decided to weld two pads on each side of the dovetail with silicon bronze and work the weld down as a permanent shim. I added a 3/4 hex over the stop pin for the nut, to make it tighter and more secure. All this stuff affects the backlash.  

For the finish, I used Black Wax and finished it with Black Metal Oil from Sculpt Nouveau.  I applied it just like the instructions said, and I am very happy how it came out.  Look this finish up and see the wide variety that Sculpt Nouveau sells for old finishes on cast pieces.  The patina was still in excellent condition after I wire wheeled all the rust from the naked casting.

This vise is now ready to go back to work.  Whoever gets this vise I hope they use it.  It should be in a metal fab shop sitting on a stand and used every day.


I suggest checking with your local Fastenal, or go here: www.fastenal.com/3pl 

Get a quote for a crate that is 18 x 18 x 30 inches long.  It will weigh 125 pounds with the vise.  

Here is the Fastenal store I use for shipping: 13750 Deere Ct, Longmont, CO 80504

Remember, when shipping through Fastenal, the customer sets up and pays for the shipping.  All I do is build the crate and get it to the store. Really a convenient and cheap way to ship vises.

My guess for shipping is $100 to $125.  If you find a cheaper cost, I can update the listing.  Let's figure out shipping before you purchase..

Any questions?  Send me a note at this e-mail address:  mountainproduct@gmail.com or call me. (970) 235-1153



Vise Specifications: 

Length - 21"

Widest dimension of vise - 12"

Height - 11"

Maximum safe jaw opening -7"  It can go more but the sq slider is inside the Static Jaw Support opening.

Weight 90 lbs

Jaw width - 5"

Jaw height - 1-1/2"

Shipping: See Listing  Guesstimate  $125 through Fastenal 

$175 through UPS, cheaper if you have a business to ship to. I cover the crate build and cost.

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