Posted By on November 22, 2011

Below is a Littlestown number 25 vise made by the Littlestown Hardware and Foundry Company of Littlestown Pa. This foundry produced quite a few bench vises after WWII and through the 60s. Unlike the cheap import castings of the vises found in your local home improvement store, Littlestown vises were made from good ole American iron and steel that in a lot of cases, has outlived their original owners. You can still find these jewels on ebay for way less than what you would pay for a cheap Chinese vise. Add a little elbow grease, primer and paint and you can have a shop vise that will last another lifetime.

The example below is typical of what you might find on ebay. You are going to pay anywhere from $10 to $20 for one of these plus shipping which using a USPS flat rate box will run you another $10.95.

Littlestown #25 Vise Before Restoration

Once you have received you rusty gem, you will want to disassemble it and start removing the rusty crust. The vise parts below were soaked in white vinegar for a few days and then hit with a wire brush mounted in a hand drill to clean them up.

Vise Parts Ready for Painting

If you have an old battery charger, plastic bucket and a couple of stainless steel plates, you can create a electrolysis bath that does a great job of removing rust as well. Check out this YouTube video for how it is done.

After you have all your parts cleaned up, you’ll want to wipe them down with paint thinner. Next, tape off the anvil top, jaw top and sides as you will want to leave these as bare metal. Using a rattle can, give them a coat of auto primer followed by a couple of coats of enamel in your favorite color. All that’s left to do is apply some grease to the main screw and light oil or wax to any remaining bare metal and you’re ready to mount your vise to a suitable table.

Finished Vise Restoration

Below is our restored vise mounted and ready for use. When the jaws are closed, the vise is 10 1/2″ long and 6″ high. The jaws are 3 1/2″ wide. With it’s fresh coat of grease this vise is very smooth and acts like new.

Finished Vise Restoration

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