Reed No 206 R vise
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  1. #1
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    Ok so this is pretty much a blatant tool gloat but what can I say?

    Picked this baby up for $120. Yes it's dirty (and so is my workbench, I have since cleaned both of them up!) but it has no hammer or weld marks on it, and the jaws are practicly like new. I think I scored a pretty good deal on it.

    Anyone else have a Reed vise? Are they as good now as they were when this beauty was made? Any ideas on the vintage? I figure a vise like this has to be at least 10x new what I paid for it.

    Miller Lite bottle for scale... (Canadians and Germans keep your comments to yourself on the beer please...)


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    Good find Mits. I have a 4 1/2 and a 5 1/2 Reed and they look pretty much like the one in your photo, except a bit smaller of course.

    The company is still in business, but the style of vise they offer has changed a bit. I think your vise is very typical of the quality of product that was common when they were mfg. Yours could have been made anywhere from 1900 to 1950 or so, but maybe some others will have more specific info.

    Dave

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    I have a Reed vise, just tore it down and bead blasted it. It's going on a stand made from an old truck wheel and a 4" square steel tube, and it will be a general purpose unit. Mine is a 5" vise and you aren't going to like what I paid for it - zippo!

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    Thanks for the replies!

    1900-1950 eh? Didn't think it would be that old! Well for 60 years or more, whoever owned it took very good care of it in that time.

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    I looked again, mine is a 204½ .. real solid hunk of cast iron. For a few months there a couple years ago, I could have gotten about one big old vise a week free. I passed up on most of 'em, obviously ..

    GWE

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    http://www.reedmfgco.com/

    When I was a kid in western NY state the family that owned Reed owned some property next door to us- not sure if the same family still owns the company or not. They gave dad a "reject" drill press vise that he still uses.
    Andy

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    Here's one. a Reed 404 with swivel jaw. I have since made a pin for it to hold in straight position.



    Looks small in the picture, but it is almost 20 inches long, and nearly 12 tall.

    oh, yeah, I got it for 20 bucks, probably because they thought it was broken

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    JST, that picture threw me off at first too!!! I've never seen such a devise, but thanks, now I want one of those too!

    I think you beat my score by a few points in the deal department too.

    There's just something about big honkin vises isn't there???

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    I have a Reed 404 1/2 with the swivel rear jaw. It came out of my grandfathers garage. My dad (now 95 yrs. old) said it was there when he was a kid.

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    I hope the picture shows up, it wouldn't show when I hit "Preview Post" <img src="http://okeba.smugmug.com/photos/195957605-M.jpg"> <BR> Hi Mits! Nice vise ya got there. This is my first post on this forum and your vise is the reason I registered. I wondered if you could tell me the size of the knobs on the handle, I want to weld on some small trailer hitch balls or something but I want it to be as close to original as possible. Mine weighs in at 148 pounds, with knobs welded on I guess would go a little over 150. Have you weighed yours? <BR> Also, that hole below the oil hole at the top of your beer bottle, it has a set screw in it and I took it out to try and remove the nut so I could get the main screw out and clean it. It wouldn't budge with light taps using a good sized pin punch and hammer, I was afraid to tap very hard as I didn't want to risk doing any damage. I guess I should stand it up and let some PB blaster soak into it for a few days. Did you take yours out for cleaning? Is there a easier way to clean it without taking it out? Thanks, Chip

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    Okay, I'm an idiot who won't give up. Here goes again

    Hi Mits! Nice vise ya got there. This is my first post on this forum and your vise is the reason I registered. I wondered if you could tell me the size of the knobs on the handle, I want to weld on some small trailer hitch balls or something but I want it to be as close to original as possible. Mine weighs in at 148 pounds, with knobs welded on I guess would go a little over 150. Have you weighed yours? <BR> Also, that hole below the oil hole at the top of your beer bottle, it has a set screw in it and I took it out to try and remove the nut so I could get the main screw out and clean it. It wouldn't budge with light taps using a good sized pin punch and hammer, I was afraid to tap very hard as I didn't want to risk doing any damage. I guess I should stand it up and let some PB blaster soak into it for a few days. Did you take yours out for cleaning? Is there a easier way to clean it without taking it out? Thanks, Chip

  12. #12
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    The collar holding the screw in is a cast iron split nut, that's threaded into the jaw. Remove the setscrew from the holes in the side (shown in your pic) and unscrew both halves of the nut CCW as you withdraw the screw.

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    And after you get the vise all prettied up with your favorite paint, use the tip in a recent version of Machinist's Workshop to highlight the raised lettering with a contrasting color of paint: Buy a bag of women's "Cosmetic Wedges" and use the blunt end of one of these dense sponge wedges to pick up a little bit of paint and touch it to the raised lettering. The article showed a plastic lid being used as a "paint palette".

    JRR

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    Quote:
    "And after you get the vise all prettied up with your favorite paint....Buy a bag of women's "Cosmetic Wedges. . . ."

    Now I won't feel so bad

    about putting a garter belt on my leg vise.

  15. #15
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    MitsTech

    Nice vise. I just bought a new Yost, but I don't think that it is as beefy as the products of yore, including what you picture here. Do they use different materials or processes today (e.g. cast iron now, and semi-steel in the 50s)?

    I'm not European, but I favor beers with more flavor. Sam Adams. Anchor Steam. Many of the brew pub's products.

    Still, a Saturday afternoon getting a vice like that fixed up, and even Lite beer probably tastes pretty good.

    Jim

    PS Your beer reminded me of my friend Alan's quote on the male view on sex: Good sex is sublime, bad sex is still pretty good. Substitute "beer" for "sex".

  16. #16
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    Mits, your Reed vise could have been built between the early 1940's, and the mid to late 1960's. They used that design for quite a few years, which was the 'high water mark' of quality, and built thousands of those vises, which, along with some of the Athol make, were the best vises ever built. (with the rare exception of some very expensive British machinists bench vices which built from heat-treated steel forgings)

    The Reed number in the '200 series' indicates a standard machinists vise with swivel bottom. A 100 series would be the same, but plain bottom without the swivel, and a 400 series would have swivel bottom and swivel back jaw. The last digit is, of course, the jaw width.

    Note that the handle end of the screw is short. That seems to be a recognition feature for a design change in which they also went from a cast iron screw nut to a hardened steel nut with a part octagonal top. Note that okeba's vise has the earlier type of screw, and will probably have the cast iron screw nut as well.

    Note that JST's smaller Reed predates the patent for the later style screw retainer, and has the 1913-14 patent dates for some other features (I've never gotten around to looking up those patents)

    That one was probably built somewhere from the late '20's to the late '30's.

    You might be wondering why I would know all this......well, some years ago, a friend and I were seriously thinking about doing up a book about vises......after seeing Richard Postman's book about anvils......and I had the opportunity to buy the archives of the Columbian Vise Co after it was closed down. In addition to recording the detail changes of their own product, they kept close tabs on their competitors, as you might imagine.

    About the 'book about vises', like Postman's book of anvils......well, we thought it over, and I really doubt there would be enough interest to make it worthwhile to do all the work involved in making up a book which might sell, say, two dozen copies to some of the folks here.

    In any event, I'll never get around to doing up such a book.....if someone else thinks it a worthwhile idea, and has the relevant ambition, e-mail me about the Columbian archive collection.

    cheers

    Carla

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    Okeba,

    The earlier Reed vises had large out-of-round cast iron balls on the ends of the handles, which were literally cast on to the handle after the handle was assembled to the screw.

    The practical way to re-do a vise handle today is to simply buy soft steel balls of suitable size, and drill/bore them to fit the handle.

    To 'do it right', turn the handle ends just to 'clean up' and note the diameter at which they clean up. Bore the balls .001 under that dimension, face a small flat of full handle dia on one side, and put them on hot for a good shrink fit. Polish the end neatly, and you're done.

    Years ago, a local supply house in our area here kept a stock of soft steel and brass balls in quite a range of diameters....I don't know what all they were used for, except handle ends for tooling, and possibly check balls for pumps.

    They were really cheap, as I recall. That supply house has since closed down, so I wouldn't know just where to get those today. I'm sure that if you put in a query here, someone will direct you to a suitable supplier.

    cheers

    Carla

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  20. #18
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    Oh, and one more thing.......you don't have to go to a cosmetics counter (dykes feel even more out-of-place there than you would, believe it or don't) to get a suitable tool for 'frosting' the lettering with contrasting paint.

    Just go to any good hardware store and get a small bag or two of small to medium miscellaneous size stopper corks. They are really cheap, and a little cork is just the right tool for dabbing on the paint. They are the convenient item for masking holes when painting, as well.

    cheers

    Carla

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  22. #19
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    $120.00 is a great deal for that vise around here. I wonder what it cost in the 50's?

  23. #20
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    Thanks for all the great info. I noticed Mits vise had "OIL" around the top hole where mine doesn't. I'll check the nut to see if it's cast or forged. I guess mine is the older of the two if it's a cast nut? Before I cup brushed it it had that blue-green paint under a thick coat of some kind of soft black coating.
    Being from Atlanta I like both color schemes of Ga Tech and Ga Bulldogs so I'm thinking of combinations of black/red or yellow/black.


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