Wilton Mill Vise Identification?
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  1. #1
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    Default Wilton Mill Vise Identification?

    Hey folks, I picked up another lot of old milling/machinist tools and tooling and there were a handful of vises in the batch. When I dragged them home yesterday I looked over the milling vises and this giant Wilton seems like the coolest of the lot. It's pretty big as can be seen by the tape measure next to it for scale, and it weighs in at 98lbs...pretty hefty.

    The bottom has "HM 9 600" cast into it, but a thorough search of the interwebs yields nothing but a long-expired eBay listing from someone referencing what must be another of the same vise...their description calls it an "HM-9-600" and their size and weight details are spot on...but the photos are long gone. Nothing else appears to show up...

    I'll send Wilton a message on Monday and see if they have any info on these old mill vises, but I thought I'd see if anyone here has experience with them in the meantime. It's a gorgeous piece of equipment and even though it must be 50-60 years old there's zero play in the moving jaw and the screw has no backlash to speak of...

    Anyways, thanks for any light you can shed on the mystery of just what model this thing is. I'm planning to take it apart and clean and lubricate it (judging by the other items in the lot it's likely been in storage for 30-40 years) but would love to have a manual or diagram before I dig in.

    wiltonvise1.jpgwiltonvise2.jpgwiltonvise3.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyitsmeben View Post
    Hey folks, I picked up another lot of old milling/machinist tools and tooling and there were a handful of vises in the batch. When I dragged them home yesterday I looked over the milling vises and this giant Wilton seems like the coolest of the lot. It's pretty big as can be seen by the tape measure next to it for scale, and it weighs in at 98lbs...pretty hefty.

    The bottom has "HM 9 600" cast into it, but a thorough search of the interwebs yields nothing but a long-expired eBay listing from someone referencing what must be another of the same vise...their description calls it an "HM-9-600" and their size and weight details are spot on...but the photos are long gone. Nothing else appears to show up...

    I'll send Wilton a message on Monday and see if they have any info on these old mill vises, but I thought I'd see if anyone here has experience with them in the meantime. It's a gorgeous piece of equipment and even though it must be 50-60 years old there's zero play in the moving jaw and the screw has no backlash to speak of...

    Anyways, thanks for any light you can shed on the mystery of just what model this thing is. I'm planning to take it apart and clean and lubricate it (judging by the other items in the lot it's likely been in storage for 30-40 years) but would love to have a manual or diagram before I dig in.

    wiltonvise1.jpgwiltonvise2.jpgwiltonvise3.jpg
    Not sure it is worth ny more bother than inspection and a spruce up.. but...

    - It is "old real, US-made Wilton", pre-dates the Asian branding exercise. Still an over-rated name, just not by as much.

    - There MAY be a patent - note the two fastener/adjusters at 45 degrees to the jawline and screwline. Even so, without even a "patent pending" a mere sales brochure touting this "feature" or that is probably the best you can hope for.

    I'm not sure it even fits the genre of milling-machine vise.

    Seems far more general-purpose - drillpress'ish, rotab'ish, grinder-ish, saw-kinkery-cutter'ish, even wood-chopper'ish as it looks to be far too short of clamping force for METALS mangling on any of mill, planer, or shaper to me.

    Sort of thing I might find a use for on my Kasto PHS, but would not dream of trusting to on a mill.

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    Nice looking piece of old hardware. Is it a 6" or larger?

    There are two sets of keyways on the bottom so it could have been keyed for two mounting orientations. And the combination of the round base with a central hole suggests that there may have been a base that allowed rotation. Is there any kind of index mark on that round base?

    It seems to have a dovetail slide. Is that the case?

    A curious feature is the two bolts (?) on the rear of the movable jaw. They are at an odd angle, probably not 45 degrees. I wonder what they are for. Could they be associated with some kind of "pull down" mechanism to prevent jaw rise? Or what?

    And, does the movable jaw rise when it is tightened on a part sitting on parallels? The answer to that will go a long way toward answering the question of just how useful it may be in a modern shop.

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    It was made for a shaper or mill. The casting in your picture list's the Schiller manufacturing plant that was from 1956 on prior to that they were at another location. the vise could be either straight or swivel base. there a very good machine vise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Not sure it is worth ny more bother than inspection and a spruce up.. but...

    - It is "old real, US-made Wilton", pre-dates the Asian branding exercise. Still an over-rated name, just not by as much.

    - There MAY be a patent - note the two fastener/adjusters at 45 degrees to the jawline and screwline. Even so, without even a "patent pending" a mere sales brochure touting this "feature" or that is probably the best you can hope for.

    I'm not sure it even fits the genre of milling-machine vise.

    Seems far more general-purpose - drillpress'ish, rotab'ish, grinder-ish, saw-kinkery-cutter'ish, even wood-chopper'ish as it looks to be far too short of clamping force for METALS mangling on any of mill, planer, or shaper to me.

    Sort of thing I might find a use for on my Kasto PHS, but would not dream of trusting to on a mill.

    Interesting! I'll preface this by saying my milling experience is next-to-nonexistent and what little I do have is all on Sherline stuff milling parts less than 3" long and .5" diameter...

    Having said that, the size/design of this vise seems very similar to a lot of the big Kurt machinist's vises which I've seen on people's mills so that's why I assumed it would be classified as a "mill vise".

    I am definitely curious about the adjustment bolts at 45 degrees to the jaws. I haven't messed with them yet but I am going to see what they're all about. Was hoping to find that out via literature!

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    Time for a quick update. The nice folks at Wilton emailed me today to answer the question of what exactly this vise is all about...turns out it's a Wilton "MilOmatic" vise. Those two bolts (actually threaded plugs) at 45-degree angles to the screw are where one would connect the hydraulic or pneumatic line(s) for using the "automatic" (I presume foot pedal controlled) feature for quick workpiece changes.

    They were kind enough to include the attached scan of an old catalog page showing the vise.

    Pretty cool.

    wilton600viseadvert.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    Nice looking piece of old hardware. Is it a 6" or larger?

    There are two sets of keyways on the bottom so it could have been keyed for two mounting orientations. And the combination of the round base with a central hole suggests that there may have been a base that allowed rotation. Is there any kind of index mark on that round base?

    It seems to have a dovetail slide. Is that the case?

    A curious feature is the two bolts (?) on the rear of the movable jaw. They are at an odd angle, probably not 45 degrees. I wonder what they are for. Could they be associated with some kind of "pull down" mechanism to prevent jaw rise? Or what?

    And, does the movable jaw rise when it is tightened on a part sitting on parallels? The answer to that will go a long way toward answering the question of just how useful it may be in a modern shop.
    The jaws are 6" exactly. There is indeed an index mark on the right side of the vise base. Unfortunately I don't have the base!

    I haven't had a chance to test the jaws for rise but I will do so this week...see the above post with the attachment from Wilton showing what the vise is all about. It's also got the specs on there. Pretty cool!


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