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Shimming slides on a vice


Oct 19, 2023
Hey guys I recently picked up a old Morgan Chicago 140 vice and have been reconditioning it. The action wasn't very smooth and noticed that the slides that the vice rides on were very wavy. I filed them down some which gave it nice smooth action but now it seems a little too wobbly when cranking the vise in or out. Do you guys know of a way to put shims on all these slides to tighten up the action? I also thought about putting little tack welds on each slide and then filing those down but I know cast can be difficult to weld so I figured I would reach out here and see what you guys thought. Here is a pic of the slides inside the vice20240330_123637.jpg20240330_123625.jpg
UK general purpose bench vice makers seemed to agree that a bit of slop in the body is a feature not problem. Thinking being that when Gorilla Guy drops a less than square, less than parallel part in and heaves until the thing is held well enough not to move when belting with his favourite 4 lb club hammer a bit of slop lets the jaws get nearer the shape of the part. If the movement is well guided the jaws can't adjust closer to following the part and all the stress goes into the body. With the jaws more out of line they can't hold as well so Gorilla Guy heaves even harder on the vice handle, with a cheater. Which may not end well.

Certainly all the bench vices I've had dealings with, mostly old style Record with some other good makes, have been what is politely termed a "rattling good fit" with the emphasis on rattle. Indeed the only one I ever saw with a close fit was a UK made inexpensive "no name" with a busted body from over stress. Was worth re-working to get round the defects as i ended up with a very useable (by non gorillas at least) vice for free.

Swindens have a different view of things but that is by no means a general purpose vice and way to expensive to let Gorilla Guy loose on it.

If it moves smooth it's good.

Anything you could weld in place and then relieve would be much harder than the ductile iron slide (the rectangular moving part) and cause wear issues.

You'd have to remove quite a bit of material from the pads to be able to fit a shim in place, and that would be an involved process. Then you'd have to figure out what to use as a shim...probably something bronze.

The only thing that comes to mind would be to remove some of the cast iron tabs, then build up with braze and machine to size. I suspect that might wear pretty quickly though.

Hopefully you didn't remove material from the top and bottom pads because that will cause the front jaw to be higher or lower than the rear jaw...very annoying.
It’s a bench vise, some slop is a feature not a bug. It’ll conform to whatever oblong objects you find need clamping. A bit of grease on the slides, some rust from being in the garage and it’ll tighten right up.
Well it sounds like I should just leave it alone. It does go in and out smoothly but thought the tolerances could be a little tighter. I guess I will just roll with it, thanks for all the advice
drill and tap the area you would have built up and use a screw with a lock nut to remove the slop.