Scraping a Mill Vise.....Worth it?
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    Default Scraping a Mill Vise.....Worth it?

    I have an old mill vise, no name but nicely made and works for me. The problem is, it's worn a lot in the usual few inches of travel and the movable jaw lifts quite a bit. I've already cleaned and rebuilt it but no improvements.
    I'm wondering if I should scrape the ways of the vise, or leave it be. I'll get pictures tomorrow.

    Thanks.

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    If you have a surface grinder, it's probably worth cleaning up the ways. Scraping, especially without the benefit of preliminary grinding, would seem like an awful lot of work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfriedberg View Post
    If you have a surface grinder, it's probably worth cleaning up the ways. Scraping, especially without the benefit of preliminary grinding, would seem like an awful lot of work.
    Yes, it would be a lot of work. A friend has a surface grinder, but I would like to take the time to learn scraping. I'll check it on the mill to see how much wear there is.

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    you'll learn a lot about scraping if you do it properly....but the piece will still lift.

    Learn about hold downs. Wonderful things....if everyone had a set we might be saying "whats a Kurt?"

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    Seems fairly easy, you wouldn't even have to spot it for most of the workout. Just use a height gage with a test indicator, everything on a surface plate.

    However, a lot of work to take even .005" off by hand as you will find out.

    Not much investment to screw up in an old mill vise. Almost anything large with a serviceable screw thread can be used in a drill press!

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    If the mill's any good at all, you can take it down to the last thou or two with the mill and then scrape it. That way you get the scraping practice but don't get put off by the lack of progress.

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    If you want to learn scraping it's a great project! Not a lot of geometry, just parallel stuff. The couple of times I've introduced guys to scraping it was just making a block of cast iron flat and parallel, which is about the same work as your vice- but you get the motivation of having a better tool at the end with a vice.

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    What are these "hold downs" that you speak of?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6061Mike View Post
    What are these "hold downs" that you speak of?
    starrett no. 54 (a,b,c)


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    maybe 15 years ago, I wrote & illustrated a whole 5 part series in HSM about scraping a shaper vise.

    Of course a 15" wide shaper vise is not something that can be replaced new for a few $hundred$ by calling up any catalog store on the planet. I've never been sorry to have done it. Don't have to guess when setting up a job. Easy and reliable to indicate in, etc.

    for a 6" milling vise, you would probably best be served by a Kurt, or a decent Kurt clone.

    But appreciating the opportunity for a project, I say go for it. Mill it first, but don't mill any more than necessary. Then scrape. You will need a surface plate and a knee for the 90° angles. Also possibly a small CI reference flat for under any ledges, to make them parallel with the surface so the vise jaw does not lift at certain points in the travel. Of course also some mic's and indicators to keep track of parallel.

    However, a lot of work to take even .005" off by hand as you will find out.
    It is a disservice to newbies to keep posting this hoary myth. A person should learn when starting, the option to dig in and shovel off material, with a relatively efficient process, and properly sharp tools. While if a grinder were available in a size to suit the work I would use it for a vise, it is not necessarily essential for relatively small but "complex" castings of soft CI and has its own learning curve for newbies.

    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6061Mike View Post
    What are these "hold downs" that you speak of?
    starrett no. 54 (a,b,c)
    what prices! I don't know if they are still available but they are very handy. How they work - if you look in the first pic, you'll see the wide edges that goes against the vise jaws have a slight angle. This causes them to lift in jaws a few degrees creating force slightly downward on the work. Second pics shows work clamped....the hold downs were flat before tightening, but 'moved up' a bit after tightening - you can see the slight angle




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    life is short, you want to spend weeks scrapping a vise? .........you must need a hobby
    .
    1) you could mill it within .001" and maybe .0005" if you are careful and what would you need better than that for anyway?

    2) you probably could find a used vise relatively cheap if you take the time to look around, craigslist, used tool machine places

    3) you could just buy a new one, if a weeks labor is $800 or more i would not waste much more than a week to recondition a old vise, especially if you could mill it in a few hours to within .001" or less, even if hardened we mill stuff with carbide tooling all the time. just take a low depth of cut

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    you'll learn a lot about scraping if you do it properly....but the piece will still lift.

    Learn about hold downs. Wonderful things....if everyone had a set we might be saying "whats a Kurt?"
    The hold downs that I use still require a vise or magnetic chuck. Are there some hold downs that do not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    life is short, you want to spend weeks scrapping a vise? .........you must need a hobby
    Machining and shooting ARE my hobbies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt_isserstedt View Post
    Seems fairly easy, you wouldn't even have to spot it for most of the workout. Just use a height gage with a test indicator, everything on a surface plate.

    However, a lot of work to take even .005" off by hand as you will find out.

    Not much investment to screw up in an old mill vise. Almost anything large with a serviceable screw thread can be used in a drill press!
    Haha, yes, even the worst of the vises can be used on a drill press.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDM JOE View Post
    The hold downs that I use still require a vise or magnetic chuck. Are there some hold downs that do not?
    The ones I was referring to are the ones used in a vise - as per pics a few posts up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post

    But appreciating the opportunity for a project, I say go for it. Mill it first, but don't mill any more than necessary. Then scrape. You will need a surface plate and a knee for the 90° angles. Also possibly a small CI reference flat for under any ledges, to make them parallel with the surface so the vise jaw does not lift at certain points in the travel. Of course also some mic's and indicators to keep track of parallel.
    smt
    Thanks Stephen, I have surface plates, parallel bars (hopefully blue will stick to them...), etc.

    I think I'll try this, scrape the underside of the movable jaw first so if I mess up nobody will see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    The ones I was referring to are the ones used in a vise - as per pics a few posts up.
    I know how hold downs are used, and I did see the pics.

    I read threads before I comment on them.

    When you said "what's a Kurt" (in jest I am sure) I just thought you knew of a different hold down.

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    I had a nice K&T vise that was old and I ground it and then scraped it in. Wasn't too much trouble and it sure is nice to use.

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    Thanks Mcgyver, I kinda thought I knew based on using something similar for grinding. Nice to see pics!

    Oh and to the OP, I don't have any experience scraping, but I have to agree you could mill it very close, or mill then surface grind to get within .001 easily...


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