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B&S #1 Tilting Vise

Peerless Repair

Apr 23, 2010
Toledo, Ohio U.S.A.

We've had this in our collection of stuff for a long time. I originally was gonna post asking who built it but noticed some faint stamping and discovered its a Brown & Sharpe after hitting it with some Scotchbrite and figured I'd post it anyway. However, does anyone have an idea of age of it?

This is a high quality piece, everything seems to be hardened and ground. Its very rigid and even though its a push style vise, the moving jaw is fitted very nicely and it doesn't raise when tightened.

I needed to use it the other day to put bevels on some small parts and was getting a taper. After looking I noticed that the top vise portion isn't square to the base. It is excellent condition and has no apprentice marks or signs of abuse. I noticed the large screw that holds the vise to the base and figured that was there to hold it together and also allow for precise alignment.

Tapped on the head of the screw with a punch and all that.. Well, broke a tip for the impact driver and twisted my biggest Klein wrench trying to loosen it. Then I made a tip that fit well into the slot out of a piece of O1. Cut a slot in a piece of 5/8 bar, hammered in the tip, tacked it to the bar then quenched and tempered it. Blade started to bend right before it broke.

Going to try some gentle heat on it next. I don't want to get too caveman on it since its a precision tool.


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Got the screw out and disassembled vise today. Sheared dowel was the reason for the jaw not being square, as suspected. Figured while I had it apart I'd shine it up a bit...😏


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Hello Larry,

I've seen it in earlier ads for use as a milling and grinding vise. I think it will work pretty well for any light milling I'll use it for. It was listed for like $90 in a 40's ad. Thats around $2k in today's inflated dollars!
I recently got a Brown & Sharpe number 2A swivel base milling vise. It came out of a deceased man's basement shop, unearthed from a pile of scrap materials, and other assorted and unrelated junk. As soon as I saw the vise, I knew by its pattern it was made by Brown & Sharpe. It was covered in grunge and some spots of light surface rust, so B & S's name was not visible. When I cleaned the vise up in my own shop, the B & S name and "Providence, Rhode Island" was visible. Stamped in very small letters. The 2A vise with swivel base is about 75 lbs. As I cleaned up the vise, I discovered the vise screw and possibly the bronze nut in the moveable jaw are badly worn and partially stripped. The vise will close tight over some range of the jaw travel and slip at the other end of the range of travel.

I suspect that in order to dismantle the vise, I will need to take the jaw plate off the moveable jaw. The 2A vise follows the same design as your vise. If you have to take your B & S vise apart, please post photos. I am not jumping right on repairing this vise, but the unwritten laws of the universe will likely see me suddenly needing a swivel base milling vise. That would get me moving to making the new screw & nut.

It is surprising that B & S was not more obvious about putting their name on their milling vises. They were a well respected 'heavyweight' US machine tool and precision tool maker. It is also surprising that the B & S milling vise I got would have the damage that it has. Outwardly, the vise is not beat up the way so many older milling vises are. Possibly, someone got the idea to use the vise as a press and put a wrench and cheater pipe on the vise vise screw.It's a little shop project out there on the horizon to set this vise to rights.
Hello Joe,

Later B&S vises have their precision square logo cast in the movable jaw. Dunno what era they started that, 50's maybe? Mine doesn't have a bronze nut, they just drilled and tapped the jaw (acme), which is iron. You may have broken female threads as its only tapped a portion of the length and abuse like you say could definitely ruin it. You could bore it and press in a bronze nut. Maybe bore/counterbore for a flanged nut pressed to a shoulder and retained with some flathead screws.

I completely tore mine down to shine it up. However, I didn't get many pictures. Once I got the large screw loose and took the hinge bolt out of it I laid the "vise proper" with the upper half of the base on its side and started tapping the dowels that align the two (one is blind). It started to separate itself.

To remove the movable jaw, remove hard jaws. Draw movable jaw all the way back (WOT), drive the taper pin out of the screw and remove the collar. I would buck under the collar with a piece of soft wood when you drive out the taper pin, to avoid bending the screw. Then push or tap the end of the square portion of screw all the way to the fixed jaw. Flip whole assemble over and remove the "gibs"/keepers from the underside of the moving jaw. The screws are probably gonna be tight....

I heated the whole thing in the oven at 300 for about 3 hrs, removed then applied Kroil to each screw and pin. Did that twice. You could really watch the Kroil creep all over. Did that twice and everything came apart pretty easy.

I marked the keepers so they went back on in the same place and same orientation. There is some nice scraping between the cheeks of the pivot and on the mating surface when vise is in 0° position.


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Would anyone happen to have a handle for this vise? Been using a fits-all but it isn't very handy. Hole is 1/2" square.
Armstrong and Williams made forged steel crank handles like the one shown in the old catalog cut with different size square holes and different lengths. They turn up on eBay occasionally. Most any 1/2" drive socket will provide the square hole. Then you can add a length of steel and attach a turned handle if you want to make a project of it.

Armstrong and Williams made forged steel crank handles like the one shown in the old catalog cut with different size square holes and different lengths. They turn up on eBay occasionally. Most any 1/2" drive socket will provide the square hole. Then you can add a length of steel and attach a turned handle if you want to make a project of it.

They're still being made too. McMaster carries them.

1/2" Square Drive Crank

I bought this same one awhile back for a job and can attest it's genuine "made in USA" Armsrong.
As I mentioned, those cranks come in a number of different arm lengths. I suggest getting one that is the longest that can make a full revolution with the vise at 0 degrees. It is hard to judge from the catalog cut, but I think something in the 4" to 5" range might be appropriate for a vise with 4" jaws.