Record 52E Restoration

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #604023
    George Castillo

    I have a couple of Record 52E vises I picked up off of eBay a couple years ago (shipping from the UK was super pricey). I’ve dismantled one of them to install into my newly finished workbench and soaked some of the components in Simple Green. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Roundel blue finish from that era dissolves rather easy in that particular degreaser – when I pulled the pieces out of the solvent tank, they were a pinkish hue. I’m not terribly upset – it just means my restoration is going to be a bit more involved than I had planned it to be. The blue pieces are currently soaking in a bucket of Simple Green to finish removing all the paint from the rest of the vise.

    Once I’ve reduced it to bare casting in a couple days, I would like to repaint (or enamel?) it to be as close as I can reasonably get to the original. With that said, I have a couple questions:
    1 – Primer the casting? If so, with what?
    2 – The Roundel blue that they were originally finished with is not widely available in the US – what would be a good alternate that is durable and reasonably faithful to the originally coloring?
    3 – How to apply? I do not have an airbrush or aerosolizer of any kind (and not particularly inclined to try to play that game).
    4 – A few surfaces, notably the front bar used to turn the screw, are basically brown. I would like to return them to the original silver finish they had – should I use a wire brush, steel wool, or more aggressive methods, like a drill with a wire wheel?

    That about covers it – thanks for any advice you folks can offer up. I’ll post some pictures of the restoration project as it progresses.


    Many paint shops will do small custom paint matching (Sherwin Williams here in Canada) but I would just look for a similar color in a rattle can. Many modern spray can type paints for metal come ‘self priming’ but if you have a lot of old rust on the metal, you have to neutralize (convert) the rust. I would recommend Ospho (follow the directions, it basically converts active rust over to a stable compound). For any project that is going to be exposed to damp (workshop/garage) I would definitely not skip that.
    Preparation is 90% of any paint job, so preparing and cleaning the surfaces (and masking what you don’t want to paint) is what takes up most of the time and what determines the success of the process. The tommy bar is going to turn brown with use, even if you polish it. Both of mine are brown after decades of use. I would just clean and wax it.


    Hi George, How did you end up finishing your vise? I just received a 52 1/2 E in the US and am going to get started on cleaning it up and painting it.

    Thanks, Jon

    Rob Southern

    This is a very durable high temp enamel, used it on several record restorations and you can get a good finish with a brush no primer used on this vice

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.