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Parkinson Perfect Vice

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Garden Shed Projects

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I have recently bought a rusty old Parkinson vice from eBay. After a bit of research I found this model to be circa 1930’s. It has 90+ years of rust and muck on it.
Frustratingly I don’t have a photo of it before I started the refurb. However it looked not unlike this one.
E8CA6089-7311-4B5F-8980-D4E2DD8BEFF9.jpeg

I got it home and initially removed most of the surface crud with a wire brush and some elbow grease.
I then carefully took it apart. It is interesting to note at this stage how well engineered these old vices are. All parts were intact and the only casualty was the split pin that held the screw in place.
I then left all the components in degreasant over night. The next day I pulled the components out 1 by 1. Wiped them down with a rag and cleaned them up using the wire wheel on the bench grinder. I was blown away by the condition of the parts, particularly the screw which showed no signs of wear at all.
3203A488-C1A9-4B0D-81C5-D4C59D5C4EAF.jpeg
A91AB2D1-8D32-4BE4-88D6-388A542A0E9C.jpeg
37AC8F46-B2E3-4901-A411-CEE407C6AE38.jpeg

I then gave all the none contact parts a coat of Hammerite. It has covered well and looks smooth. Maybe should have done a bit more research and matched the original colour, however I have yet to see anything that confirms definitively what the original colour was. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I intend to use this as my main working vice so am not going to lose any sleep.
I went on to give all the moving parts a coat of lithium grease.
Next it was time for assembly and all the prices went back together no fuss. Fitted a new split pin to the screw and tensioned the spring.
8B600DF8-85BD-46EB-B6BB-4C6F9E19F5B5.jpeg
CD98EEDE-AEC7-4124-9625-875702E30425.jpeg

I have added some oak for the jaws and the vice is now in use. I am really please with the outcome. All in it has cost me around £40, £25 for the vice and £7.50 each for the grease and paint.
I have a record 52 1/2 that I am part way through renovating and will be looking to install as an end vice. Will post a few picks once it’s fitted.
 

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dannyr

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looks great - I got mine many years ago and, did roughly what you've done (you have been more thorough) - it's worked 'perfect'ly ever since (brush out the sawdust every now and then)

I believe yours is the second version (mine has a longer 'chassis') - they were patented in 1880 and later copied by all the British makers - by the 1930/40s they started switching to a design more like the Record so I'd guess yours is likely to be a good 100 years old (now good for another 100+) - made in Shipley (Bradford)

the original colour was usually a rather garish red which matured to a shade of maroon, but an expert said they were also sold in other colours if requested by retailer or big customer.
 

Corset

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nice work. good looking vice. Yes its amazing how something 100 years ago is going strong but some vices made now will struggle to do 10 years of moderate work. Its like record vices they are soooo expensive new but tehre must be 100s of 1000s of them in active service. I am always baffled why people would buy new when so much good stuff is cheaply available on the net. Schools businessess etc excluded clearly
 

Lons

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Nice restoration, I like the shape of the old vice.
I recently restored a later version Parkinsons 15 which was in a state and now fitted to the front of my bench, I have the smaller 14c fitted to the end.

I made a slight modification though by cutting some 28mm copper pipe in half lengthways and fitting 1 piece over the top of the screw. There is a slot on the rear casting and it is a nice tight fit so no extra fixings to keep it in place, greased the screw and the cover keeps the sawdust and shavings off.

Note the "deliberate" mistake in the photo which required me to take the damn thing apart and assemble it correctly.:whistle:
 

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toolsntat

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Nice restoration, I like the shape of the old vice.
I recently restored a later version Parkinsons 15 which was in a state and now fitted to the front of my bench, I have the smaller 14c fitted to the end.

I made a slight modification though by cutting some 28mm copper pipe in half lengthways and fitting 1 piece over the top of the screw. There is a slot on the rear fitment and it is a nice tight fit so no extra fixings to keep it in place, greased the screw and the cover keeps the sawdust and shavings off.
Interesting to see the back jaw on the other way around. Was this to give you a benefit when mounting on the bench?
Cheers Andy
 

Lons

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Interesting to see the back jaw on the other way around. Was this to give you a benefit when mounting on the bench?
Cheers Andy
I take it you're joking Andy, read "deliberate mistake" I realised after taking the photo was one of those senior moments. Seems to happen more these days than it used to. :(
 

toolsntat

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I take it you're joking Andy, read "deliberate mistake" I realised after taking the photo was one of those senior moments. Seems to happen more these days than it used to. :(
Well, in reality I was trying to be tactful ;):).
But having cogitated on it while looking at the same vice in today's (Thursday) auction, I think, without losing too much opening you could have it mounted behind a 5x3 ? apron which in turn becomes the back jaw. (Just realised I'm talking cobblers with this one as its a quick release DOH! )
Now, if it was a plain screw vice.......
Cheers Andy
 

rob1693

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Love to know where previous owners stored there vices all the ones I've acquired looked like they had been used for anchors 😆, any one any idea of the age of the ward and payne
 

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Garden Shed Projects

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I know what you mean. It’s a testament to the over engineered nature and the weight of the materials used that with a little bit of clean up the castings and steel parts can look like new.

One of the things that has me thinking is the size of investment a vice of this nature would represent to a working joiner at the time of their manufacture. Multiple weeks wages. It would be the equivalent of a CNC router table or similar today. I wonder if it would have the same effect on the way the guy worked?
 

dannyr

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Love to know where previous owners stored there vices all the ones I've acquired looked like they had been used for anchors 😆, any one any idea of the age of the ward and payne
I see you're from Sheff - as you prob know Ward and Payne were, like Marples, one of the big Sheffield makers and sellers,-- I know they were still selling up to 1960+ - their heyday was earlier. They once had a huge catalogue including bench with built in vice like yours - I have one of these, I'd guess sometime 1930-1950 - including same vice as yours and a 3in W&P bench vice - in bits at present, but cleaning up for daughter's use - all good after 60+ years - will try to photo soon
 

dickm

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My Parkinson cost me 25 shillings from an auction in Morecambe 50+ years ago. Only when I got it home did I realise (doh!) that both rails, which are a one piece casting with the front jaw, had snapped completely through where they grow out of the jaw. Fortunately, the fractures were clean, so drilling through the front jaw into the rails and inserting a couple of HT Whitworth bolts made it useable for a good decade or so until I'd learned to weld. Vee-ing out the fractures, heating the whole thing on a primus and then welding made a better job, but finally decided, as did Parkinson, that steel bars made more sense and so got a Record 52, which is still in use. Sold on the Parkinson and it's probably still in use somewhere!
But owners, beware, those rails are brittle!
 

dannyr

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But owners, beware, those rails are brittle!
Fair point - steel bar version also much easier to manufacture.

Interestingly, virtually all the bench engineering-type vices (ie not woodworking) have what are effectively cast iron (or a few, cast steel) "rails" (yes they do break occasionally at that same point).

Also as a side comment, I got spares (spring and nut) for the tired ones on my ancient Parky from a couple of much later Records which had broken castings - all vices need some care, some more than others.

Anyway, well done with your repairs - skill needed to keep that alignment.
 
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TominDales

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This is really nice restoration. You have given me courage to do up mine. I love my Parkinson, its very strong and reliable, the jaw is designed to be slightly angled in at the top so that it pulls at a right angle as you tighten it. It was the first vice with a quick release hence the patent.

I have two Parkinson stories.
I bought a Perfect in 1975, looks identical to yours, it belonged to my school history teacher. I paid approx. £15 pounds for it, it was all I could afford and he was really sad to part with it. But he needed the space as they were downsizing. I'd just built this bench at school and this kindly teacher offered me his old vice, it was like passing it down the generations. I'm now older than he was then!, at last I have the time to properly use it after 45 years! Interesting that it was worth about £25 in 1975 - they were like hens teeth then and now you can pick them up for a song on e-bay. The old boy is still a live in his late 90's.

Bought for £15 in 1975 and worked perfectly since - its had no restoration apart from an old coating of phosphate de-rust and the occasonal clean - I'll add Lon's pipe, that is a good inovation.

Parkinson perfect  front TT.jpg
Parkinson perfect with dog TT.jpg


The knob on the front secures a dog. see second photo. Its a piece of 1 inch bar slotted in some ply at the back of the vice, it can be popped up by reaching into the jaw and pushing it up from the bottom, it has small piece of wire on the side to hold in place the knob is in case it moves - but not really needed.

I wish I'd seen you photos last month as I was restoring an old Parkinson 15 I found in our cellar (left by previous owners probably been there 30 odd years!) it needed a bit of a wire brushing, although it was only surface rust and the red paint is still visible, but it was missing the lever, spring, nut and bar. Cost me £20 and a fair bit of googling old Parkys to find the right shape for the parts - used a drill press quill spring and modified a clamp lever - bashed into shape.


1620918705926.png
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The toothed nut was filed from an old box spanner the type for small spark plugs. I'll post a fuller picture of the re-build when the garden stops galloping away. But seeing all your parts so nicely laid out would have saved me a lot of time,

No 15, Found in our cellar a few years ago, just got round to fixing the missing lever, bar and spring

Parkinson 15 inch TT.jpg


Thanks again, nice to see how it all fits together.
 

TominDales

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Just found this account of Parkinson's on the net. Parkinson's Patent Perfect Vise - the small workshop

It looks like your perfect is a Mark II (with two front screw holes on the Jaw), the Mark III - 15 inch with round steel sliders was introduced in 1930.
Interesting yours has two screws and mind has 3 screw holes, two a bit lower down and one in the centre.
 

Garden Shed Projects

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I believe the earlier version, maybe mark 1, had 3 screws and the ones I have seen had the holes for the mounting bolts further apart so the back jaw was larger
 

TominDales

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Nice restoration, I like the shape of the old vice.
I recently restored a later version Parkinsons 15 which was in a state and now fitted to the front of my bench, I have the smaller 14c fitted to the end.

I made a slight modification though by cutting some 28mm copper pipe in half lengthways and fitting 1 piece over the top of the screw. There is a slot on the rear casting and it is a nice tight fit so no extra fixings to keep it in place, greased the screw and the cover keeps the sawdust and shavings off.

Note the "deliberate" mistake in the photo which required me to take the damn thing apart and assemble it correctly.:whistle:
The mod looks a good idea for keeping the screw clear, although mine doesn't get that clogged - I have a separate vice for metal which may help.
 

TRITON

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You've made a god job of it OP. Can I say though take note that far as im aware the springs for the QR are irreplaceable, so dont do it up tight in case it breaks. I took some research when restoring mine, and found that the springs for the QR werent available anywhere and nobody had found anything to replace them with.

I recently restored a later version Parkinsons 15 which was in a state and now fitted to the front of my bench
Thats the one I have. Found it 'Doon the Barras' Got it for £15 and it was quite rusty though cleaned up really well and been in use now for nearly 2 decades.

When I got it I offered £15 and the trader had a friend with him who kept piping in that i should be paying much more. Unwelcome comments .
So I said. Do you pay this mans mortgage ?. The friend said whit ?, I says, do you pay this man's mortgage. He admits no, so I tells him to keep his F'ing opinions to himself. :ROFLMAO:
 

dickm

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Interestingly, virtually all the bench engineering-type vices (ie not woodworking) have what are effectively cast iron (or a few, cast steel) "rails" (yes they do break occasionally at that same point).

Anyway, well done with your repairs - skill needed to keep that alignment.
Yes, engineers vices(!) can be broken as I discovered when trying to press a bearing into the steering idler of my old Volvo! But that also welded up and Son in law is still using it. Alignment for welding isn't actually that difficult if it's a clean single break, as the broken surfaces give pretty good location.
 

TominDales

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You've made a god job of it OP. Can I say though take note that far as im aware the springs for the QR are irreplaceable, so dont do it up tight in case it breaks. I took some research when restoring mine, and found that the springs for the QR werent available anywhere and nobody had found anything to replace them with.


Thats the one I have. Found it 'Doon the Barras' Got it for £15 and it was quite rusty though cleaned up really well and been in use now for nearly 2 decades.

When I got it I offered £15 and the trader had a friend with him who kept piping in that i should be paying much more. Unwelcome comments .
So I said. Do you pay this mans mortgage ?. The friend said whit ?, I says, do you pay this man's mortgage. He admits no, so I tells him to keep his F'ing opinions to himself. :ROFLMAO:
Agree, It took me a while to find a replacement. In the end I cut and bent this quill spring into shape, about 4 coils kept. I'll dig out some photos. £6 from you know who.
1620945914365.png



Beware the spring has a lot of energy, I cut the retaining wire with the spring, plyers/cutter inside a cardboard box with hands in gloves outside. It actually expanded without too much of a bang, but wise to keep body well away. Very tough metal, found it easier to cut with a file than a hacksaw.
 
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