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Craftsman Vise any good?


redmed

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I found a Craftsman Professional 4 1/2 inch vise yesterday.  This was a clearance item ($95) seems that Sears does not carry this vise anymore.  Wondering if anyone has any experience with this vise?  Should I keep this or get the 6 inch Harbor Freight for half the price?

Specs

Made with 60,000 PSI iron

4 1/2"

360 swivel

Clamp or Vise Maximum Capacity: 600
Clamping Force: 500 lbs.
Vise Max Open:4 in.
Clamp or Vise Depth Of Throat (In): 3-1/4 in.

Weight (lbs.): 41

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Looks like a pretty good vice at a decent price. I do have one of those HF vices that I got real cheap that has worked ok for the last couple of years of light use. I got it for 50 bucks and a similar one made by a better company was about 200.  

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you could easily spend 4 times that on a vise, having said that unless you need a pro model that price for that vise will do you fine.....I have pretty much the same vise and am happy with it.......

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The Craftsman Professional vise is an imported copy of the Wilton Tradesman series. It's a very good copy, so good in fact that I suspicion it may actually be sourced from Wilton.

It was probably the nicest Asian vise available and at that price it's an absolute steal. Most Asian vises (HF vises included) employ a cheaper grey iron construction, but with 60K ductile, it will rival some of the higher end American vises in terms of resilience.

I wouldn't let that one slip by me if I were you. Once you use a good vise, you'll never have a shitty one again.

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I have read good about the Craftsman but also read that a guy bent the jaws working on a driveshaft.  He replaced it with a 6" HF vise and it has held up better.  Don't know how true and makes me hesitate.  I imagine the HF vise is a cheap grey iron construction.  I assume 60K ductile is stronger?  More or less brittle?

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Anything will break when used beyond its limit. Even they very highest quality tool manufacturers deal with warranty claims and breakage every day. Look around hard enough and you'll find $1500+ Wilton machinists vises for sale that have been welded to repair cracks in the static jaw.

Don't let one guys bad experience and probable misuse deter you. Those are good vises. Used and praised by one of the toughest vise critics I know.

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And yes, ductile iron is much more resilient than grey iron for the purposes required of a vise. It's more mailable allowing much better shock absorption and will flex where grey iron will crack.

If you tap a grey iron vise with a hammer and do the same with a ductile, you will notice more of a ping with the grey iron as opposed to a thud with the ductile. If the ductile vise is cast at 60k, figure the grey iron to be in the 30-40k range.

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This vise will replace a tilting Wilton vise on my basement workbench.  I need a stronger vise in the basement.  To really clamp something I have a real old blacksmith vise in my garage that I'm tired of walking the stairs to use.  I'm about to build a woodworking bench for my basement workshop and I might to mount the Wilton on it so I can tilt it up or down below the woodworking bench surface.  That was the plan until I saw this vise-less workbench today.

One can never have enough vices but this bench seems pretty neat.  Just wack the holdfast and it's clamped.  My father had a wedge shaped wood clamp on his workbench that was fast and easy to use.  Just put the piece to be clamped into the clamp then wack the wedge with a hammer then wack the other end to release it.  This bench reminded me of that.

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Thanks conductor. I'm sure the imported one would of been fine for me. Just wanted to splurge a little.

You're opinion will change. Once you get used to that 1745 you'll gag at the thought of a vise from HF or the like. They offer superior holding force and ease of operation that you just can't get on a cheap vise.

FYI: There are huge metal chips inside the tube. I recommend taking it out, cleaning them out, and relubing. If you want to do that and need help with the tear down, just let me know.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You're opinion will change. Once you get used to that 1745 you'll gag at the thought of a vise from HF or the like. They offer superior holding force and ease of operation that you just can't get on a cheap vise.

 

I just spent the day using my new Craftsman clone of the 1745.  It works sooo much better than the cheap (made in China) Wilton vise it replaced.  It grabs onto the parts and holds while I beat and wrench on them.  With the other vise I was constantly re tightening because the parts kept coming loose.   With this vise I just snug the handle and the part stays put.

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