Restoration of an old German vise

Restored Heuer Front vise transformation
Most bench vises are made from some form of cast iron, but heavy duty forged and welded steel versions like this one also exists.

I found this old 6"/150mm Heuer Front vise at a local flea market for a fair price. It had been standing outside in the rain for many years and was seized up due to corrosion, but the leadscrew was at least moving and seemed to be in good shape.

According to the manufacturer the 150mm model was produced between 1957 and 1969.

Rusty Heuer Front vise
So it begins. Had to use a breaker bar to loosen the prism guide track adjustment bolt.

Loosen rusted together parts
The way guides had rusted onto the slide, but a combination of WD-40 and hammer hits to the mounting bracket got it loose.

Rusted parts movement
What a mess. But it moves.

Disassembly
Slowly but surely.

Two main parts disassembled
The two main parts separated and cleaned of loose rust flakes.

Snapring
A snapring holding the leadscrew onto the movable jaw was hiding under layers of rust.

Snapring removal
Removal of the snapring.

All parts disassembled
All parts disassembled. Because of the enclosed shape of the construction, a vinegar bath will be used to dissolve the rust in the hard to reach areas.

Rust removal in vineger bath
Getting ready for the rust-dissolving vinegar bath. Ordinary 5% household/pickling vinegar with some salt added to lower the viscosity works great given enough time. It is also safe to handle and dispose of after use.

Rust dissolved by vineger
After three days in vinegar, most of the rust is dissolved, leaving a matt, gray finish.

Metal cleaned with wire wheel
The old paint patches are removed with a wire wheel on an angle grinder and the rest of the surfaces are likewise prepared for painting.

Vise originally from BW shipyard
A message from the past hidden under the rust. This vise was originally used in the Burmeister & Wain shipyard in Copenhagen. The company unfortunately closed in 1996.

Masked with tape before painting
Masking tape over the ways and jaws.

Painted with primer
Two layers of grey primer.

Painted with main color
Two layers of blue.

Restored Heuer Front vise
The finished result.

Vise maximum clamping capacity 20cm
One of the nice features of this construction is that it opens up very wide, and has a narrow lower slide, allowing long vertical workpieces to be clamped close to the center of the jaws
Tags: diy
Page last updated 2018-05-27 17:31. Some rights reserved (CC by 3.0)

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