Vise restoration/maintance advise

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    Mic van Reijen

    Hey everyone.

    I’ve recently bought an old Record 52 1/2 E vise. It didn’t come through time unscathed and is in need of some TLC. It’s somewhat usable but it tends to lock when I fix some wood in it to work on. So I’m attacking rust and dabs of glue and squeaking clogged up parts, and it’s starting to look and feel real nice. The thread is surprisingly clean, probably partly thanks to the cover that shields the upper half of the thread from falling dust.

    I read and hear about coating used on the parts. The screw and other moving parts I intend to coat with a bit of bearing grease, but I hear different approaches for the rods. Not greasing them too much makes sense because over time it will collect muck. For this reason, I understand, some use wax.

    What kind of wax would this be? I’ve never heard of wax coating of steel parts, but I suppose this isn’t your bog standard beeswax, is it?

    What do you use for coating and lubrication?



    Parafin is what I use. You can buy blocks of it (USA) in the canning section of your grocer. It is very affordable and can be used to lubricate most anything in a woodshop without attracting dust and sludging up. All the moving parts on your power machines will thank you for it. The screws on planes, handsaw blades and clamps like it too. Bob L.

    Mic van Reijen

    Thanks for the advise. It seems hard to come by here in the NL,though I found a shop in town that sells it in pearls, used for candle making. 100% paraffin they say, so I’ll give it a go.

    If that’s not the stuff to go for after all I might ty Teflon spray.


    Eric Lundholm

    if you can find plain white candles (unscented) they might be less expensive than the plain wax.

    Teflon might mess up a finish job later if it gets on the wood. Didn’t Paul do a video on vises some where?

    Peter George

    I used a graphite spray on mine. It works well.

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"

    Paul Dallender

    Like you micr I found a very old vice at a bargain price in need of a good fettling and when it came to lubrication on advice I bought pearl beads of paraffin wax too. I melted them and brushed the liquid on the screw thread and bars. Unfortunately no sooner had the liquid wax been brushed on, it cooled and hardened immediately and every time I wound the vice in or out, then all the wax simply peeled and dropped off onto the floor.

    I obviously missed something because I know a tin of wax polish (the sort I feed some of my furniture with) doesn’t go hard, so I’m guessing there must be something added to it to prevent such a thing from happening or I bought the wrong stuff.

    Consequently I’ve resorted to a wipe of oil on the thread and bars but I can’t say I’m happy with the result, it certainly doesn’t glide in and out as I’d like. There are spray lubricants some on here have championed so I will try one of those.

    Paul - A southern lad living up north - Nr York England

    Mic van Reijen


    I don’t know of any video, but he did say something on restoration in this blog. In it, he states:

    Once completed I waxed the newly exposed areas around the jaws, greased the threads inside the threaded block that receives the screw stem and greased the screw rod. The vises are now ready to install.

    He doesn’t mention the rods.


    I’ve had that question actually at the tip of my fingers: how do I apply the wax? Ideally the result should be a really thin layer on the rods. The fact that it hardens is I think a plus as it won’t catch dust and muck so easily. But it shouldn’t get in the way of the moving parts and slow down operation, as you described.

    Anyone any idea how to apply wax on the moving parts?


    Eric Lundholm

    rub the wax on like using a crayon, it will distribute itself around the threads it doesn’t take a lot to make it work. perhaps it was a clamp video that I saw, a vise is nothing but a big mounted clamp.

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