View Full Version : Can you bust a Machinist's Vise?

David Ragan
06-01-2015, 1:10 PM
A machinist's vise is typically cast iron.

My friend says take it easy on pounding on it, the flat part behind the jaw-cause you can crack it. Steel is another story.....

Has anyone ever busted one in this way?

ian maybury
06-01-2015, 1:15 PM
Presume you mean a metal working bench vise. Depends a bit on the quality of the vise and the cast iron, but yes - no problem if hitting one hard with a hefty hammer. Some do have an area for light hammering on, but light is the word. I've seen several break, and busted one myself in my youth. Anvils or a block of mild steel are for hammering on...

Greg Hines, MD
06-01-2015, 1:15 PM
My brother has a cast iron anvil that is missing the heel of it from some great misadventure sometime long before we got to it. Maybe it dropped off a building or got hit by a freight train. I doubt that under normal circumstances you can damage it appreciably. Maybe with the hardened face of a sledge hammer, but under normal use, I would doubt it.


Ole Anderson
06-01-2015, 1:49 PM
Broke one once by trying to bend something that wouldn't bend. I was using a four foot cheater bar. It is not an anvil, so I don't treat my new one as an anvil. Light pounding seems to be fine.

Lee Schierer
06-01-2015, 1:59 PM
I broke a cast iron vise that had a part clamped in it really hard while trying to straighten a bend with a hammer. Cast iron is pretty solid under compression, but much weaker under tension.

You can break almost anything given enough force.

Greg R Bradley
06-01-2015, 2:10 PM
A cheap cast iron vice can be broken pretty easily.

A good cast iron vice is more difficult. Good luck finding a good cast iron vice made in the last 15 years.

Better vices are made from Ductile Iron. Example is my personal Wilton 350 Machinist Vice.

Some vices are made from steel. Generally used where it needs to be strong without being massive in size. Example is my personal Heuer 100, rumored to be made by Matador in Germany. Matador also seems to make the Bessey Professional series vices just introduced, the Rigid F series, and also sold under the Matador name in Europe.

Don't confuse the Bessey Professional series with the garbage Bessey sold in Lowes and HD. Don't confuse the Ridgid F-series vices with the cheap tools sold under the Ridgid that is a house name for HD.

glenn bradley
06-01-2015, 3:40 PM
In a word yes. Record/Irwin vises from Lowe's = 300 pound pressure rated. Yost equivalent format = 3500 pound pressure rating. Ability to exceed Record/Irwin's capacity by hand? Not that hard. Break it with a sharp blow from a small sledge? You betcha.

Shawn Pixley
06-01-2015, 5:35 PM
Cast Iron is brittle. Cast Iron Vises are brittle. Anvils should be cast or forged steel (Cast Iron anvils are anvil shaped objects - they will not last). Anvils are made to be hammered upon. Vises, not so much.

Brian W Smith
06-02-2015, 6:13 AM
Cast iron is almost exactly like concrete.Some better,much better,than other.And as posted above,fine in compression,not so in tension.Also like concrete,it dosen't like sharp corners(stress risers).

Don't "beat" on them,they are for tappy taps.And stay away from cheater bars.

Jim Matthews
06-02-2015, 6:38 AM
You can break almost anything given enough force.

Anyone with school age children has seen that demonstrated.