Post vises are popular with blacksmiths because they can clamp incredibly strongly and the ajax-style threading allows them to be tightened quickly with one hand.
I don’t know where the “post” design comes from; to me it seems a bit like an afterthought but It Is How Things Are Done, apparently. This is an old post vise my neighbor Bob scrounged up when I put word out that I was looking for one. He is the kind of guy who knows where every post vise, hit/miss engine, or piece of heavy machinery is within 20 miles, and whether its owner would be likely to part with it.
I should have flipped it around but it’s really heavy and it can’t balance on its silly post. You’ll get a better look at how it’s assembled in a bit.
I’m still a noob at welding. But I’ve been learning the right way to grind back the metal for the weld to take, and I gave this weld a few experimental whunnngs with my cross-peen hammer and all it did was make noise. So I completed the bead all around the piece.
The base is a 2′ x 2′ plate of 1/2″ mild steel. The post is a 4″ I-beam. Most of the time when I see people making mounts for post vises they use wood – sink a 6×6″ beam 5 feet into concrete and bolt the vise on; that kind of thing. Since the main purpose of the vise is going to be holding red-hot metal while I whack it, I thought a fireproof stand would be the path of maximum wisdom. I used a large plate as the base because if I am using the vise I will be standing on the plate! Therefore, I will be exerting energy against myself and cannot flip the thing over or anything like that, as long as my welds do not fail.
I ought to be able to park something really heavy on that without noticeable effect.
The wonderful battery-powered angle grinders that (was that you YOB?) someone sent me came in very handy since I was able to grind down the metal without having to lift the plates up. Cordless is convenient!
Surprisingly, this project took a grand total of about an hour, and was remarkably free of drama, bloodshed, or burns. Mostly. I did remember halfway through that I was wearing my army jacket instead of my welding jacket. The army jacket is now full of holes; it is a “ventilated army jacket” for warm environments. I am glad it’s flame-retardant.
Eventually I plan to cut some fjords in the top-plate that I can hang things like pliers and twisters on. In the meantime, it will make a fine coffee-stand.
Once the whole thing was bolted and tight, sprayed with WD-40 and wiped down with linseed oil, it looked so good I completely forgot to take a picture of it.
The post thingie is wrought iron and I’m pretty sure it’s indestructible in spite of the fact that it looks flimsy. Remember: it only looks flimsy in comparison to the rest of the vise. That is a great big chunk of metal. The whole thing weighs about 200lb, so I don’t need to worry about it blowing over on a breezy day, and that’s a very nice big thermal mass.
To mount the post, there’s a piece of schedule 40 steel tube welded to the base. It’s not going anywhere.