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Millers Falls 1700 Vise Repair

TommyNiceGuy

New member
Hi

I have a Millers Falls 1700 Vise. The jamb nut on the spindle broke and I am having trouble finding a replacement. Its a 7/16-14 but super thin. Its approx 2mm thick from inside where thread is to outside flat part of the nut.

Any ideas?

thanks in advance

Tom
 

Joe Michaels

Active member
The beauty of owning and working with old machinery and tools is the fact that repair parts are almost always non-existent. This introduces people who want to use, restore, repair or otherwise work with old tools and machinery to a wonderful term: "reverse engineering". Look at the busted part, take measurements, and make a working drawing with dimensions. Then, figure out how to make the part. It may well be that you start off with a heavier chunk of stock, cut the internal thread, and then work the outside dimensions down to what they need to be. Using a file and your eyes is a likely way to go about it.

The vise was made in Massachusetts at a time when the Metric System was not in common use in the USA, so stick with dimensions in inches and things may work out better. If the wall thickness around the 7/16-14 thread is "super thin" to use your words, then think a bit about it. Millers Falls may well have had some sort of fixture which held the nut blank solidly to allow the thread to be cut, despite having a relatively thin wall. You do not have that luxury and you are not building these vises in any quantities, nor are you building them to sell and make a profit. Millers falls was not going to waste any more machining time or make any more swarf (chips) than absolutely necessary to make the parts for their tools. You are not in that position, and you can you start with a heavier chunk of stock and work it down after the internal thread is cut. Another idea is to screw the male threaded part into the blank before you start taking down the outside to final dimensions/thin wall. The male threaded part will help support the thin wall. If you go at it with hand files and nibble away at the stock you are making the new nut from, you can get the thin wall you speak of in your post.

7/16-14 is a 'National Coarse" thread. Not sure what you mean by 'jamb nut'. A 'jamb' is what surrounds a door. A 'jam nut' is usually a nut used to lock a threaded fastener against working loose, or to hold an adjustment on a threaded stem or similar part. Make sure you are looking at a 7/16-14 UNC (Unified National Coarse) thread. Years ago, I ran into an 'interesting' situation with a Millers Falls 'eggbeater' hand drill. An 'eggbeater' drill is the kind of little hand operated drill which has a larger 'crown gear' with a hand crank. This gear drives a smaller bevel pinion gear which has the arbor with the chuck on it. It works like an old time kitchen egg beater, hence some of us call those drills by that name. Anyhow, the drill was ancient and had been my parents', from before I was born (and I was in my 50's at the time). I forget why we needed to use that drill, maybe one of our kids had some project or other. As it turned out, one of the hardened jaws in the chuck of that drill fractured and broke so the chuck was un-usable. I got a sales flier from Victor Machinery Exchange and of all the crazy things, they had a special on "Goodell style chucks". Goodell-Pratt was a competitor of Millers Falls and offered similar tools, and was absorbed into Millers Falls many years ago. The Goodell-style chucks were German made and had either 3/8-24 or 1/2-20 UNF female threads (both being 'standard' threads). The Millers Falls drill had some bastard thread on its arbor. A bastard thread is a term for a non-standard thread. No problem. I took a piece of scrap rebar, chucked it in the lathe and turned it down, making a new arbor turned to fit the Millers Falls drill and its gear, but threaded to accept the 'Goodell style' chuck. That has to have been a good 20 years ago. Check your vise parts carefully before assuming Millers Falls used standard threads, particularly if you are talking about the 'vise screw' which does the actual clamping of the jaws.

2 mm is about 0.080", and 1/16th of an inch = 0.0625", if you hav e a 'fat sixteenth' over part of the threads, and there is plenty more meat in the rest of the part surrounding the thread, I would not be kvetching about things being 'super thin'. Take your cue from the great sculptors. The story goes that someone admiring a statue made from a chunk of marble asked the sculptor how they did such fine work. The answer was: I chip away anything that does not look like the statue I want to be sculpting. Take a file, use your head, hands, and your eyes and do what mechanics and machinists have done for eons. No CNC. No CAD. No computer software, and you won't find it in your phone or iPad.
 

TommyNiceGuy

New member
Thanks Joe for you extremely well stated response. I have a nut that will fit on it just too think so sounds like I will need to start working on filing it down. Much appreciated.
 








 
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