Are bench vises really this valuable?
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  1. #1
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    Default Are bench vises really this valuable?

    I have big and new Yost Vise I am planning to sell and not knowing the value of it I thought I would check out the eBay sales.

    This kind of blew me away.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=170265400934

    Over the years I have bought a few Ames, Rock Island and Reed vises but never one this large or pricey.

    I had never even heard of Yost until I picked up this one at a local bulk auction. Judging for the prices it must be a good brand or someone just got carried away.

    Anyone ever feel the need to buy an expensive bench vise?

    Walter A.

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    I would say a vice that is 36" long, opens 15" and weighs 325 lbs is no ordinary vice. I can see why it costs a lot. how big is yours. I may be interisted in it. pm me with details please

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    Check out a Wilton 800S or -N or a Starrett 926. Add to the above and these are a group of big bad dogs.

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    My Yost is a lightweight compared to the big one that sold. Mine is 160# - 24" Long - 16" Tall but only 6" jaws plus pipe jaws underneath.

    However, it is new and made by Yost in the USA. Still haven't figured out a price. If I was a gambler I would try eBay and hope for a jack pot.

    Walter A.

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    Sorry, but unfortunately your vise is not a jackpot maker. Old 8" vises are rare as hens teeth and thats why he got a premium for his. Ebay has a regular serving of 6"ers.

    Also, did you notice that only 2 bidders took that vise above $500.00? One of those guys go away then it might sell for 1/2 that.
    Hard to beat an older Wilton C-3.

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    I have two large Reed vises (around 1910 vintage) that I wouldn't sell for any price and if I needed another I'd pay what I had to for a big Reed. They don't them like that anymore.

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    I have two 6" vises at home that I love. One is a Rock Island I bought at a flea market for $75.00 and the other is a Reed that was my Dad's. Love them both.

    In my plant I bought all Wiltons and never had a failure yet.

    JL - I'm usually on the other end of the spectrum on the eBay sales. Still, you gotta hope that one day you will truly step in it and it will come out smelling like a rose.

    Walter A.

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    I just paid $200 for a big, no name -just casting numbers- vise at an estate auction the other day. 7" wide jaws. and I'm guessing it opens to about 16 inches. I could just barely lift it up to set it on the tailgate of the truck. Railroad shop retiree.

    It's missing one of the replaceable jaw faces, and sometime in the next hundred years or so I may get around to try and make a replacement. (-; I also wish I knew a quick and easy way to knurl the flat face of a replacement jaw,

    I have a whole pallet full (around 15 to 20) of real nice medium and large sized USA bench vises~ Chas. Parker, Rock Island, Prentiss, Athol, Kansas City Scale and etc., and an assortment of vise parts, and a few USA arbor presses. I kinda collect the vises- I think I pay way too much for them, so it does me good to see high dollar vise sales on ebay. I know shipping would eat the buyer alive. Most I ever paid for one was 350$, so that's the benchmark I judge the rest of them by at a sale. If there is a big one selling at a sale, it isn't going to go for less than that much. And, at least these thing actually have some use, and value, in the end. I could be collecting beany babies or something cheap........and lightweight.

    Old iron disease manifests' itself in me via vises. Can't get enough of them, it seems.

    Every now and then someone will come by and ask me to sell one of these monsters. When the last guy who asked about a price kept insisting, I trotted out an ebay page I had printed that showed big vises like mine that sold for around $1300 on ebay from "matchless antiques"- I think if I could get this much out of these big ones, I'd sell in a heartbeat, but I can't bring myself to mention a price for fear they'll jump on it and I would lose a "family member". So, they stay there back under the bench on the big pallet, keeping each other company.

    As an afterthought- while at work (railroad), I wander in and around the maintenance shop of a coal fired power plant we serve. They have some pretty good size Wilton vises- biggest ones of them I've ever seen. Money is no object out there.
    Last edited by JoeE.; 10-14-2008 at 12:22 AM. Reason: because

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    a shaper is handy for recutting vise jaws.

    dt

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    A guy from the fleamarket says that he has a very old Prentiss bench vise that stands 2' tall. Told me that two typical men cannot pick it up. Supposedly he is gonna bring it this weekend.

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    I just finished fixing up an old Parker combination vise that I picked up this past summer from craigslist. It stands 16" tall and is 24' long. The jaws are 6" wide and it opens 8-9". It was painted green over the original royal blue. No cracks or repairs. Must weigh over 200 lbs. Most likely was manufactured in the 1930's. Chas Parker was the same company that made the Parker shotguns. I never really thought of selling it but if anyone is interested I may part with it for the right price.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pvise1.1.jpg   pvise2.1.jpg   pvise3.1.jpg   pvise4.1.jpg   pvise5.1.jpg  


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    There have been several PM threads about vises in the recent past.
    I'd like to take the liberty of summarizing the conclusions:

    1) Size does matter. Extremely large and extremely small vises sell for the highest prices.

    2) "Gizmocity" matters. Vises with pivoting or tilting jaws for irregular work have a strong following.

    3) Vises from famous makers bring good prices. Genuine Buggatti seems to take the cake, followed by Starrett, Emmert and then Charles Parker. (Repros are panned.)

    4) Anything with a railroad provenance seems to have more appeal than the same item without a RR connection. (Probably part of the "romance of steam railroading" - if you don't feel it, you'll never understand.)

    5) Condition, condition, condition......

    6) Post vises regained value with the resurgence of interest in blacksmithing.

    7) Vises seem to be "temporal touchstones", somehow connecting us with the workers of the past. I've tried several excercises in Cold Chisel work. This has practically no connection with modern times, but it feels good when you acomplish something with judgement and sweat. Besides, once you get to be middle-aged, it's nice to have some skill that just blows young whippersnappers away !!!

    JoeE needs to make a workbench out of small H-columns and I-beams to display his weighty treasures in their natural habitat. If it must be wood, maybe start with RR ties......or timbers you hew yourself outta treetrunks!

    John Ruth
    Whose own vises include a 58lb Parker, a Yost, a Wilton, a genuine Versa-Vise, a Starret hand vise, and a coupla woodworking vises including a quick-acting type.
    Last edited by SouthBendModel34; 10-14-2008 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Added Starrett to item 3

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    Whatever old vise you can find to make yours, thats the one to have!

    As for trading values bases on vises seen on Ebay over the years this is what I've seen. The Emmert is a special case, the others Im comparing 6" jaw width size.
    Top five:
    #1 Emmert (no longer made)
    #2 Wilton (older bullet type)
    #3 Starrett USA (no longer made) (small sample of 6" size seen on Ebay last 10yrs.)
    #4 Good quality older vises including Reed, Prentiss, Yost, Charles Parker, Columbian, etc. Its just who is wanting what on Ebay at that time really.
    #5 Blacksmith type post vises, preferrably Indian Chief, Iron City, Peter Wright, etc.

    The 2" Wilton w/Powrarm base takes the cake: As high as $500.00 based on condition. Most go for sub $300.00. Weight about 8 lbs IIRC.

    Right now I own a Wilton C3, C2, and a C1, Wilton machinist, 2 Wilton Tradesmans, A Starrett, an Athol (pre Starrett), Boley, Reed, Columbian, Iron City, and many unnamed post vises.

    Vice trading is fun!
    Jeff

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    WalterA

    I just noticed that you mentioned Ames vises. Were these made by the Ames works in Oswego, NY, the one that made the Ames stationary steam engines? Or, are they made by the Ames that was (is?) in Chicopee, MA ???

    I can't ever recall seeing the Ames name on a vise....are they rare?

    JLSargent:

    Keep us posted about this upcoming vise adventure! One never knows what will turn up at a Flea Market! (Once saw a Fisher anvil that musta been 3 and a half feet long at Collingwood FM)

    There's two common models of Emmert vise. The older one is nicknamed "turtleback". There's also a rare Emmert machinist vise that incorporates the patternmaker's vise technology. (Saw one of the latter in person just once at the Collectors of Rare and Familiar Tools Society of NJ picnic circa 2004.)

    JRR

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    .... getting them all out and mounting them- I like that idea.... where to put them is the problem. Only place with enough room would be outside, and that would be too much temptation for thieves. I suppose I could mount them on a long beam and mount that up in the air between columns holding up the outside wall.........?
    Back on the subject of big vises, about 20 years ago I bought my first BIG vise at an farm sale/auction, paid 350$ for it. At the time I thought I would never see another one that big.
    A few years after that I went to an auction in Miami Oklahoma that was held out at some type of fairgrounds. The guy who owned all the stuff got it at, I believe, the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant- which I think was up in the northern part of Kansas somewhere. It looked like he cleaned out the maintenance department or something.
    Anyway, there was trailer after trailer loaded with all kinds of neat stuff, mostly unused. Mostly tools and etc. I got a 250 pound Fisher anvil for 200$ and a 48" brand new Ridgid pipe wrench for 45$ On another trailer were 6 or 8 huge bench vises- with swivel bases and in N.O.S, condition!!
    At that sale there was this one fellow bidding on about every item- and getting most of them. At the time I remember someone saying he was from Neosho Missouri and had some sort of a industrial sales type of place. If you wanted something, he'd did too and would run you right on up- you didn't get a steal. If no one else bid, he'd get an item cheap, and on multiple items he take them all.
    On those Ridgid wrenches I would say there were 10 to 15 of them, all new, and I got the first one (45$) and that other fellow got all the rest. He took the rest at 20$ each cause no one else would bid against him.
    I don't remember for sure, but I think that fellow got all of the big vises, and I distinctly remember the price-$175 each~ and I remember thinking as the bidding was going on that "I am not going to spend that much money on another vise cause I don't need another big frickin vise" and, with hindsight being what it is, I am now fully authorized to kick myself in the ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post

    7) Vises seem to be "temporal touchstones", somehow connecting us with the workers of the past.......
    I think that sums it up as far as I am concerned.

    About Emmert vises- I found an abused one at an auction recently and PM member JLSargent had some emmert pieces for sale on ebay. I was going to try and restore to usefullness this thing I bought with the parts he had, but I got outbid. It really needs the turtleback shaped front piece.
    The poor thing is laying there soaking in Kroil in an attempt to break the hold rust has on its' moving parts.

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    Default 3 old vises in Ohio

    Last edited by lepton; 10-15-2008 at 05:29 PM. Reason: found another

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    You guys spend way too much on used vises.

    I got my Wilton C2 off CL for $40. The mrs didn't understand why I was driving 40 miles at 9pm to go get it. lol

    Just needed some paint:

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  22. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    WalterA
    I just noticed that you mentioned Ames vises. Were these made by the Ames works in Oswego, NY, the one that made the Ames stationary steam engines? Or, are they made by the Ames that was (is?) in Chicopee, MA ???

    I can't ever recall seeing the Ames name on a vise....are they rare?
    JRR
    JRR,

    I no longer have that vise but it was not a bench vise anyway. It was a drill press or shaper vise. It was not in great shape. I seem to remember it was made in Massachusetts.

    All I have at home now is a couple of Rock Island, a Reed, an unknown swivel head and that big Yost that I will be selling.


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    Hey Jim, where do you keep the sunglasses?


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