Earlier this year I purchased a pair of Record bench engineers vises from a local house who resells gardening and other equipment and donate the proceeds to charity. I paid £20 for both.
The vises are Record No 1 and No 2 models and are engineers vises designed to be mounted onto a workbench or other strong surface.
For over 40 years we have had a No 1 Record vise in our shed / workshop and it has been well used and abused over the years and the clamping handle is very bent and twisted from using extension bars to increase the clamping force. The plan with the newer vises is to restore them and use the larger No 2 vise to replace our old No 1 model.
Record vises were made by The Record Tools Factory, Sheffield in the UK and they manufactured vises between 1909 to 2000. The business was then taken over by Irwin Tools.
Both vises were very dirty and rusty where they had been kept outside for some time and on the threaded parts and undersides was years of grease and grime.
The first step to restore both vises was to take them apart and clean all the components.
The larger Record No 2 vise was missing the spring and washer which opens the jaw when unscrewed on the clamping screw and the roll-pin which was supposed to hold the spring and washer in place was sheared off in the shaft and needed to be drilled out. A new spring, washer and pin would be needed for the reassembly.
The smaller Record No 1 vise had the spring and washer in place but the retaining pin was rusted in place and buckled, I initially cut this flat using the CNC Mill and used a drift to remove it fully.
Cleaning the rust and grease
Once both vises had been disassembled, the parts were soaked overnight in degreaser and any remaining grease and grime was removed using an old paint brush. The degreaser was washed away using hot soapy water and then the parts left in the sun for several hours to dry.
The screws holding the jaws on the larger vise could not be removed and I did not want to risk causing more damage by drilling them screws out, so I decided to leave the jaws in place when removing the rust.
I did not have any chemical paint stripper to remove the original blue paint and with the lockdown due to Covid 19 none of the local shops were open so we removed as much paint as possible and sanded all the surfaces to allow the primer to be applied.
The rust was removed from all the parts using a mixture of power tools with rotary wire brushes, hand wire brushes, sandpaper and wire wool.
Priming and Painting
Before the vises could be primed and painted any remaining dust and dirt had to be removed using isopropyl alcohol and clean rags. The areas which did not need to be painted were covered in masking tape and then sprayed using Red Oxide primer and left for two days to fully dry.
I found a business called Paragon Enamel Paints who sell a very wide range of paints in modern and vintage colours. They sell a blue paint which is the same as the original Record vise paint called “BS381C 110 Roundel Blue - Record Vice Blue” https://www.paragonpaints.co.uk/BS381C-110-Roundel-Blue-Record-Vice-Blue.html
The two coats of enamel paint were applied using a small brush as we do not have access to spaying equipment and left to dry for 24 hours between each layer. It was left for several days to fully harden before assembly. Using a spray system would have given a smoother overall finish but as they are being used in our workshop the brushed finish was good enough.
The No 1 vise was reassembled and a new roll pin installed to hold the opening spring. We initially tried using a split pin but had clearance issues when turning the vise handle.
Grease was added to the threaded sections and mating surfaces.
As we need a new spring and washer for the larger No 2 vise, we shortened an old air rifle spring to fit and found a suitable washer from our nuts, bolts and washers’ buckets which needed to be modified on the lathe. The rest of the assembly was the same as the No 1 vise.
With both vises now finished and the larger No 2 model installed in our shed/workshop they should both outlive me and be passed onto future generations to use.