What is this tool?
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  1. #1
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    Default What is this tool?

    I recently bought a 9” South Bend lathe and cabinet at an Estate sale. Inside one of the drawers was this tool. Anybody know what it is or what it is used for? I don’t see any name or tool co stamped in the steel. It has to be an antique.
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  2. #2
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    Clamping thingy, doubt its antique, maybe a barrel wrench?

  3. #3
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    My guess is that the tool was shop-made (made by a machinist in the shop where he worked). It was made for some specific purpose, such as assembly/dissassembly of some mechanism or part(s). It appears to be made to fit onto something (what appears to be a dowel pin or alignment pin on the lower/RH end of the tool). From the photo, it looks like this tool was made as a small press. From the LH/top higher end in your photo: the "middle jaw" of the tool looks like it was made to slide on the two tie rods. The top and bottom members of the press have the tie rods passing thru them and are held with nuts. I would not be surprised if the tie rods each have a smaller diameter turned on them with a square shoulder. The end members of the frame likely have smaller diameter holes than the larger diameter on the exposed portions of the tie rods. The end members then are held in position on the two tie rods. The center member has semi-circular grooves on its ends, enabling it to slide on the tie rods, but not fall out and get lost.

    The device was made to do something specific, probably an assembly job that might have required compressing a spring. I would not consider it an antique. It is simply a tool made by a machinist or toolmaker. No disrespect to you, but nothing on it is particularly distinguishing. None of the "fine work" that toolmakers used to do, such as "color casehardening", "flake scraping" or "rope knurling", nor was there any need for the parts to be precision ground and lapped. It is simply a very utilitarian tool built to do a specific job. As the old saying goes, "dead men tell no tales", so any chance of finding out what this tool was made for is somewhere between slim and none.

    I'd hesitate to call it a school shop project. Back "in the day", when students took machine shop classes in HS, if they went to the trouble to make something like this tool, it would have taken the form of a tap wrench or small gear puller.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but you have something that I would not call particularly unique or special. When I was a teenager, plenty of bushel baskets and boxes of tooling made for use in shops during WWII were always turning up at auctions and in odd corners of used machine tool dealers' stores. Anything from drill jigs and milling fixtures to form-ground cutters, special reamers, gauges (snap and pin type) and inspection fixtures with large-diameter dial indicators reading on 0.0001" would be lumped together. Often, some heiroglyphics were etched onto the tooling using a "spark engraver". Usually, this was a tool or job number, never anything that made any sense in the everyday world. If you miked the reamers, you often found they were ground to some non-standard size, so weren't good for a whole hell of a lot.

    The prizes are the tools made by toolmakers, machinists, or apprentices for their own chests. These usually exhibit the fine work. Apprentices often made a grinder vise or sets of 1-2-3 blocks, learning about hardening, precision grinding, letting the steel "relax", and precision lapping to the point the blocks or other tooling would "wring together" like "Jo blocks". Usually, the apprentice or toolmaker would end mill a shallow "pocket" and stamp either their name, initials, and sometimes the year in it, before proceeding with hardening. Other tools were given the "color casehardening". Anytime I see anything like this at tailgate sales, flea markets, yard sales, or other sales, I try to buy it. No immediate use for it, but I appreciate the work done, and the individual who did it, while perhaps deceased, tells a tale to me. What you posted tells a short, simple tale with no clue as to who made it and what it was used for.

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    Default The “tool”

    Joe....What a pleasure it was to read your response to my post about the mystery tool. Maybe you should become a professional writer! Anywho, I think this tool will go back in the drawer and who knows, I might find a use for it someday.

    Thanks for your response.

    Bill Powell

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  6. #5
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    Watchmakers use a similar looking clamp called a 'frog tool' for polishing things like screwheads flat. They have 2 screws with harndened points for adjustment.

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    Looks a little like a connecting rod vise but smaller than I'm used to seeing. Engine builders use them to clamp rods in while torquing the cap bolts to ensure that the cap faces are exactly aligned with the rod faces before honing the big end ID.

    61fny5bfval._ac_sy550_.jpg

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