Parkinsons Perfect 15 vice.. not so perfect..vices...

I've been after some more vices for the workshop benches. Last year I picked up a Parkinsons Perfect 15" vice for only £5.00, what a bargain. And with the travelling only into Worcester town, 20 minutes in the car, that's great..but there is something going on on Ebay...

You see, since then I've had a few saved searches watching out for vices, and they are not as cheap as before, looks like the second hand/used market is on the up for tools.

But where they were around £20. ... now, they are going for around £40.. is this because people are beginning to realise that sometimes the old stuff is better than the new? or is it that people are buying old ones to reuse, recycle etc...

Are we all just after a bargain, and it's driving the prices up...I'm not sure.

A couple of weeks ago I was going to start a table, and looking around for timber to build it with, no luck in my shop. I was after contrasting colours in timber, and I have plenty of Brazilian Mahogany, so wanted something pale like Maple. And then it came to me Molly, the lady I had some Ebony off last year, I called her up and went over to see what she had in the way of pale timber. And as I was looking around I noticed a couple of vices on benches, and there it was a Record 52 1/2, the industry standard bench joiners vice, fitted to one of the many benches...

I asked Molly if it was for sale and we soon agreed a price, then the fun started. It took me over an hour to remove the vice, Molly's husband had done a smashing job of fitting the vice, but with all the dust, general mess and the fact that it was really quite dark, it was challenging...I even managed to save the bolts..

I found some timber, Maple, put away a fair few years ago, and it seems pretty good. I'll be making something out of it soon.

So here's the Record 52 1/2, an old one, there's a label in an Art Deco font on the cover plate...

I cleaned it over with a wire cup brush in my old Black and Decker drill,
I then went over it with some wax polish...

And here it is attached to the student bench, note the holes in the top of the bench,
more on these later...

I fixed more timber under the bench top to take the weight and support at the correct height, this vice went on so easy, I even managed to use those old bolts from it's previous home...


So onto the Parkinsons Perfect 15 Vice

This is the one I've had to wait a while before fitting, so here we go..

The back casting was a pain, not square, so had lots of fun fitting to my bench.. and the old wooden chock will come in useful later...

It looks great doesn't it..a great casting and I love the small neat quick release lever,
and of course Made In England...It took a lot more cleaning than the other vice, due to all of the Red Lead paint and loads of oil and grease that the previous owner had put on.
I got through loads of cloth and White Spirit..

This was my old York plain screw vice guide, I bought it from Axminster,
and it will be put away until I have another use for rush

I've removed the old vice, and had to remove some of the fascia to get the Parkinsons vice to fit to it, I left the old bolts in the bench under the two disc shapes on the top, and just got a grinder to the studs beneath the bench... But getting this vice to sit right was a right old pain, the castings were not really as good as the old Record 52 1/2 and it took a while to get it right...

How to fill the bolt holes up..I was given a Bay tree trunk by a friend, and thought that it would make fantastic oyster plugs. I turned part of the trunk on the lathe and made 8 tapered plugs, just cut each one off, a bit of glue, tapped in, allowed to dry, then I ran a plane over them. That's another different timber added to my benches...

In the chipboard top of the student bench too... this bench is all re-used wood
it's great to mess around with different timbers.

So while I'm on the subject of vices, you may as well see the tail vice on my bench..

Inside the Teak, American Cherry and Maple is a York Tail Vice Screw, the jaws open to around 10"
and the Tommy bar is made from Ash (an old bakers 'peel' handle)

It could do with a clean down and probably would benefit from being trued up,
with a sharp plane, a straight edge and a bit of time..not just yet then..

All designed and hand built by myself

So there we have it, I still need to put faces inside the jaws of both vices..
The next posting is all about the table...or gate...
If you agree, like, disagree with anything I've put in here then please make a comment..

Just about all the comments get published

all the best


Carole said…
Hi Jamie
What a great job you did and the vices are great too ! I agree tools are becoming more popular and expensive, not a bad thing I suppose given they are still being used and not on the scrap heap. My farther used to be a big tool collector and I managed to save some after he died, unfortunately i went to pick them up and my mother had given them away, pretty devastating really.
Keep up the good work and loved reading, your very clever
Carole ( wildlampshades )
Jamie said…
Hi Carole,

That's a real shame..It's sad when someone has a tool kit and is uncertain of what to do with it..Your Mother probably did what she felt right at the time.
I had a visitor in my shop a few months ago, her father had had a company with quiet a few employees. She was starting to think about moving from the family home, so the shed was in the middle of a clear out, she had loads of tools, some rare, some ordinary, she had a good eye, and kept some of the ones that I would have loved, but I could never let anyone part with a family tool that I didn't tell them all I knew about it. I can't rip people off..I would hate it to happen to my collection..
She gave me about 8 planes plus spare parts, which I use with the students I have from The Ruskin Mill college (my workshop is on their site) I teach them how to restore to full use and then how to use the tools.
I gave her all the information I knew about the rest of her fathers collection of tools..It was a lovely evening and an enlightening exchange..So far two planes are restored and in use, and two students have benefited from the experience.. Thank you for your comment..not too sure about the very clever bit, but thank you

all the best

I just finished refurbing a Parkinsons Perfect Vise 15... photos of it here it's a superb vise and I would take it any day of the week over any modern vise and at 15 inches it's huge!!

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