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#547032 - 05/29/19 11:20 PM Lead vise soft jaws
Woodreaux Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 09/20/16
Posts: 237
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I've wanted a good set of vise soft jaws for a while, but I've had trouble finding large lead plates to cover my vise at a reasonable cost. I looked for others who had made their own, but found little info. Here is what I did:

Bought a 5" square Lodge cast iron skillet from my local outdoor shop. Filled it with old decoy anchors and put it over a camp stove:


Melted it in about 5-10 minutes. Maybe less. Skimmed off the gras-du that came to the top.


Let it cool and dumped it out on a piece of sheet metal:


Scrubbed off some residue on the bottom / skillet side and put them in the vise. Pounded the whole thing to shape and the edges smooth.




Ran out of time to put them to the test, but they are nice and thick and should do just right.
_________________________
Jim

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#547038 - 05/30/19 06:15 AM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
Stan Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 10114
Loc: somwers in Jawja
Good pictorial, Jim. Lead vise jaws are one of those "must haves" for action/barrel holding.

Never saw a cast iron pan that small. Good idea. Thanks.

SRH
_________________________
Doves ain't hard to hit ........ they're just so easy to miss.

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#547090 - 05/30/19 03:27 PM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
B. Graham Offline
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Registered: 08/07/13
Posts: 837
Loc: Durham NC
There's a guy selling 5" pairs of lead jaws on eBay, which he makes himself. Last set I bought were $20 shipped.

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#547092 - 05/30/19 04:24 PM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: B. Graham]
Woodreaux Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/20/16
Posts: 237
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I was shooting for something like the ones Jack Rowe uses and shows in the Midway and Brownell videos. The ones on ebay looked like they would only just cover the jaws, although I'm sure they do the trick. These are the ones, right?


My skillet, which I just happened upon while killing time at the local shop, was about $15. Wal Mart sells it for less than $10 online. The decoy weights were ones I don't use anymore, so 'free'. I figured it was worth a shot.

The nice thing is that they cover all the hard surfaces with overlap, and I can throw them back on the stove when they get overly misshapen.
_________________________
Jim

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#547098 - 05/30/19 05:20 PM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
damascus Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 856
Loc: Cheshire England
Woodreaux I see you are a person who has the mind set of if I cant purchase the thing I want I will make it. Back in my apprenticeship days lets say some fifty years back in time it was my job to make the lead vice jaw covers, just like the ones Jack Rowe used and those two in that photograph. I had to cast about ten pairs over a couple of days, the jaw forms where made of 1/4" ply wood to suit the vices. The method of making them was simple, one tin can big enough to hold the form standing on end then pour in the can enough Plaster of Paris to obtain the depth of lead needed leaving enough form to enable you to get hold of for removal when the plaster is set. Now the tips on how to do it right. While the plaster is liquid bang the tin down on a hard surface to get the air bubbles to come to the plaster surface. Wax the wooden form well brushing on Paraffin wax makes the surface smooth so the plaster will not stick to it. Push the wooden form very slowly into the plaster this stops air bubbles clinging to it. Just as the plaster sets tap the form and lift it out of the plaster. Most important before you pour in the Lead make sure the mould is completely dry and hot, half an hour in a domestic oven at the hottest setting. Sometimes you can pull the lead casting out of the plaster if you let the lead cool over night because of the amount of lead shrinkage, though sometimes you do have to break the plaster mould.
_________________________
The only lessons in my life I truly did learn from where the ones I paid for!

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#547104 - 05/30/19 06:06 PM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: damascus]
Der Ami Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 07/04/12
Posts: 3469
Loc: East Alabama
Or.. You can make a mold from two pieces of angle iron with appropriate blocks welded onto the ends and one long side. Hold it together with C clamps. Will last the rest of your life.
Mike

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#547112 - 05/30/19 06:45 PM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
Woodreaux Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/20/16
Posts: 237
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I'm envious of your experience as an apprentice Damascus. It's fun to figure things out for myself, but it sometimes feels like groping in the dark.

And speaking of envious, welding is not yet in my skill set, Mike. But it's in the list of things to learn.

Just for completeness sake, here's a side view of the soft jaws.
_________________________
Jim

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#547140 - 05/31/19 12:23 AM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
keith Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 10031
A great source for sheet lead is the lead flashing used by commercial roofers. I bought several 3 ft.x 3 ft. sheets at a local farm auction for about scrap price. It is very easily cut and formed to cover vise jaws. I also made some non-marring vise jaws from soft sheet copper.
_________________________
If joining the KKK makes you racist
Then voting for Liberal Democrats makes you anti-2nd Amendment

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#547145 - 05/31/19 07:37 AM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
Stan Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 10114
Loc: somwers in Jawja
A couple other sources for scrap, pure lead is (1) sheathing that was used by telephone companies to protect junctions of the old underground 'phone cables, and (2) hospital or medical clinic destruction of old X-ray rooms, which were (are?) lined with thin, sheet lead.

I've got enough stashed away from these two sources to likely last my lifetime.

SRH
_________________________
Doves ain't hard to hit ........ they're just so easy to miss.

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#547158 - 05/31/19 11:46 AM Re: Lead vise soft jaws [Re: Woodreaux]
Der Ami Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 07/04/12
Posts: 3469
Loc: East Alabama
Woodreaux,
One look at my welding and you will see it is not my skill set either. Thank goodness for grinders.
Mike

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