Welcome to my website! I’m the miviseguy, but some folks call me Chris or Bart (long story). One of my hobbies is restoring bench vises to their former glory, and sometimes a little better. I created this site as a way to share pictures as well as information and techniques involved with vise restoration. I’m not really a vise collector, and I’m not in business buying/selling vises, but I usually have a few around, so if you see something you’re interested in, send me a note. I also know a number of like-minded folks who either collect, restore, or flip vises to make a few bucks, so it’s possible I may know someone who has what you’re looking for if it’s something specific.
In case you’re wondering about the site name, it’s partially a play on words, and partially descriptive. In the U.S. we call those things mounted to a workbench for securing objects a “vise” while other parts of the world call them a “vice.” In the U.S. a vice is a bad habit, and some folks have the vise vice because they can’t seem to stop buying them. The descriptive part is because I live in Michigan.
Several people have asked me “why vises?” and I honestly don’t have much of an answer. I’m sure part of it is the legacy of manufacturing in the United States, and vises were a big part of it, both as a product, and as an enabler. There used to be many companies making quality vises in the U.S. and now there are only two left, Wilton and Morgan. I’m not sure if Morgan is importing any less expensive models and their website leaves a lot to be desired, but Wilton now imports all but their top two models. Wilton makes their Machinist models and Combination models in the U.S., the Tradesman line in Taiwan, and most of the rest in China. In some ways, the vise manufacturers put themselves out of business. They made a product that was so good, they were essentially a lifetime purchase. People are starting to recognize this, and vintage American tools are now in demand because people realize the supply is limited and the alternatives are expensive….much more expensive. Another aspect of it is that I enjoy projects that have a definite ending with a product you can look at and be proud of. I can usually get a vise finished in three to five hours of work. Granted, that time is usually spread out over several days, or a week, but I get the satisfaction of seeing the end state pretty quickly. It appeals to both my desire for accomplishment, and my borderline obsession with perfection. I learn a little something with each vise I restore, and I try to make each one better than the last. That’s also why I sell a few vises. If I kept them all I’d quickly run out of space, and I’m pretty sure my lovely wife would run out of patience!
Speaking of family, I really do have the most amazing wife that anyone could ever hope for. We live on 20 acres outside of Detroit, Michigan with our two wonderful rescue dogs, Daisy and Charlie.
This site is still very new, so I expect things will change a bit, and a few things are really nothing more than placeholders. Don’t hesitate to send me a note if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. I welcome the feedback and hope you enjoy your time here.