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1950's Wilton Shop King Rebuild


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For those of you not familiar with Wilton, they are to bench vises what John Deere is to tractors, or Budweiser is to beer. They are the most recognizable name in the business and generally regarded as one of the highest quality vises available. But while Wilton may be renowned for quality, tonight's post is about one that wasn't quite so good. 


Despite it's rocky heritage, the Shop King has always held a special place in my heart. Growing up in the 80's my Dad had one on his bench. He doesn't remember where it came from or where it went, but it was there. Maybe it's the personal nostalgia, or maybe it's the art deco-ish, stereotypical 50's styling, but something about the Shop King always spoke to me. For years I told myself I was going to get one, but I have several vises meaning it wasn't even close to being a "need" (like that ever mattered before) and when I found them for a decent price they were missing parts I didn't want to try and track down. Awhile back something weird happened though. I answered the door and the mail lady handed me a fairly heavy box. I opened it to find a 3-1/2" Shop King in excellent condition that while missing the swivel base, had both pipe jaws. As I found out, a friend of mine had noticed a comment I made about the Shop King, found one, and mailed it to me. This thread will cover my restoration of this little guy and will be updated over the next couple of weeks. 


Here is the vise as it arrived. While it is free of paint, it will need to be cleaned up good to remove oil and stripper residue. 









The pipe jaws being there was a big plus, because they're anything but easy to find.





The first step was to disassemble and ensure there weren't any internal issues or breakage. Luckily everything checks out. No cracks, gummed threads, etc. 





As I said, the swivel base was missing. Luckily, an online acquaintance was able to locate a base with a hole spacing of 1-1/2" and an outside diameter 3-7/8". This base came off a Model 112 Littlestown and while it isn't an exact match for the original, it works. One can't be too choosy when looking for parts for a nearly 60+ year old vise. 







Stay tuned for updates!


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