Restoring A Record Vice

I recently purchased a number of old Record Vices from a chap on the Stationary Engine Forum. Two No 5 Vices and One No 6. I started with the No 5 (as the other one was for a friend, and the No 6 is for my future use), and un-seized it using plenty of WD40. Here’s a picture of it before I started:

Record No 5 (Before)

I’m a big fan of “Proper” old tools, the like of which I doubt we’ll see again with the large quantity of Chinese Made, microprocessor controlled equipment on the market these days. Even the current Record vices are only Record vices in name only, they’re made in China now and even though they claim the QA is better than on the older ones, thankfully lots of the older ones are still around! And at a fraction of the price too! (£40 got me 3 of them, versus £150+ each new).

When the world explodes, amongst the Audi 80’s that will fly out there will be these lumps of metal, still fully functional along with the older drills and lathes built in the 50’s and 60’s. I once owned a lovely pillar drill that was more of a milling machine, but lost that a few years ago when the company I worked for and had lent it to went under. One day soon however I hope to get another, along with a bigger lathe. Anyway, on with the article on restoring the vice…

The process to get it apart is very simple, start off by opening the jaw as wide as you can, and turning it over.

Underside Main Body

If you look between the fixing hole on the left of the image, and the rectangular cut-out in the centre, there is a small round pin. Smack that out using a drift and it will free up the captive nut held into the main body with a tongue and groove style fixing, with the pin stopping it from coming out when you unwind the vice.

Underside Jaw

Looking at the Jaw end, you see the spring, washer and in this case a split pin holding the two in place. Remove the split pin, mine helpfully cracked off at the end and I was able to lever it out. The No5 I did first (these pictures are of the No 6) had a steel pin in this position that I couldn’t get free. I got that one apart by striking it backwards and forwards and working the washer & spring over the pin until they were free of it, then drawing the screw back so I could strike the pin all the way through the screw bar into a recess in the jaw.

Once these are free, unscrew it fully and withdraw it. This older No 6 has it’s turning bar held in with a split pin also, so I was able to remove that entirely, which should make painting easier. The No 5 had a fully formed turning bar which was not removable.

You can now slide the jaw back, and tap the captive screw back also until it falls out. The jaw can now be withdrawn fully and set aside.

No 6 Vice Dis-Assembled.

You can then remove the Jaws from the vice, the No 5 had flat head screws, the No 6 had imperial hex head screws. If your jaws are in poor shape, Farnell sell new ones fairly cheaply and they come with new screws.

You can now clean the vice up with a angle grinder & wire brush, lots of de-gunking agents and a dremel for the hard to reach parts. A re-paint later, and you’ll have something like this:

Record No 5 (After)

So, for the record, here’s a picture of my Record No 6, which I’ve started work on today. I’ll post again when it’s finished. The No 5 was re-painted using a white undercoat and a red enamel overcoat, but I don’t recommend this combination as it was a pain to get the red to sit properly without looking white underneath. As a consequence I think I have put too thick a coat on, but hopefully as this sets over the next week or so it will harden a bit more. The No 6 I intend to paint using a Hammerite direct to metal blue.

Record No 6 (Before)

Edit on the 17th of May 2010 – Finished the Blue Vice today, I’d mainly completed it about a week after writing this article, but had to replace a cotter pin, which took me a while to find a suitable replacement, and get round to fitting it. It’s at about 96% completion, there are a few bits that need touching up and the handle needs a clean on a wheel at some point but other than that is functional and neat enough for me.

Record No 6 and No 5 Side by Side

Record No 6 and No 5 Side by Side

As you can see below, I’ve not cleaned the jaws from over painting, and there’s a bit of a dirty mark in the paint, but I’ll sort these in the next few days.

Record No 6 after Repaint

Record No 6 after Repaint

Posted in Proper Tools

105 Responses to “Restoring A Record Vice”

  • scott townsend says:

    I have a record 21 which has a quick release lever on , seems the spring possibly has gone as the vice wont tighten up, presume spares for this are hard to find now.. any ideas ? Thanks

  • Mike Kelly says:

    Hi Alex,
    Interesting reading, who would have thought that a vice could supply such innocent and capitivating fun. I am about to restore an old 4.5″ which I have had from new for 55 years – the washer and spring gave out. Of all place this one is to be located in the large green house! Tip after all your restoration work burnish the vice with beeswax – but not the jaw faces! Regards to all Mike

  • Mike Kelly says:

    Thank you Alex,
    Vice duely restored thanks to your information, I used the reducing ring from a circular saw blade as the washer and a back end of a broken drill bit for the dowel!

  • Paul Narramore says:

    At the weekend I bought a really nice little Record No 00 vice which will be a useful companion to my Record No 24. No need to dismantle the little one as it was in excellent condition so I gave both a coat of blue Smooth Hammerite and have amade a hardwood bracket to grasp the 00 in the jaws of the 24, at the right height.

  • Barry Parrish says:

    I am in the process of refinishing (2) original 52 1/2 ED Record Vices. These have the quick release but are missing the Dog. Figure it’s not that big of a deal. Got some good info on using Bees Wax! So thanks. Once finished, I will be selling both of these vices. I’d love for them to go to someone who won’t use them as metal vices or some such rubbish. Thanks!

  • Brian Gapp says:

    Any idea where I can purchase a new set of jaws for my Record No. 2 vice.
    They are 3.5″ (90mm) wide and nobody seems to list them.
    Any help appreciated.

  • Were can I get screw and nut kit in uk for reasonable price

  • Any were in south west uk I can get vice worms if any one knows good place mail me

  • Slartibartfast is alive says:

    Source of Record spares – hellish prices, though.

  • Jan Andersen says:

    Great article. I am going to restore just such a vice myself. I just need to find the right screws – would you mind telling what size of screws you have in yours? I dread having to lug the whole thing into diverse hardware shops to see if they have anything that fits.

  • EddieBarclay says:

    Hi Alex

    Nice work. I have just purchased a No 6 and plan to strip down and rebuild. Do you have and “Restoring a Record Vice for Dummies” version? Any resources you can point to would be much appreciated. I have looked underneath and can’t see how the thing comes apart.

    Thanks, Eddie

  • Nigel says:

    Thanks Alex, I have just been lucky to pick up a really old rusty No6 and want to do the same as you have done but had no idea how to get it apart, I do now thanks to your step by step guide.

    Regards Nige.

  • M E Falkingham says:

    Have a Record Heavy Duty 111 The screw and half nut are worn thus the vice does not grip 1/2 inch bits does anyone no if the spare screw and half nut from a 112 will fit

  • Scott says:

    I have a Record 2075 and I am looking for replacement jaws. Do you have an suggestions were I can find them?


  • Glyn says:

    Hi can any one tell me where I can get a set of replacement jaws for a Record no 24 vice I can find every size but the one I need which are 135mm or 5 1/4″-thanks.

  • David Robinson says:

    Hi,I have a very old Record no 2 and it works but no spring,could you please tell me what I need as im not sure if it’s just the sping I need and also could you tell me when the no 2 was made and if any diagrams for it,there’s no paint on it but a small amount of what looks like dark green,thanks.

  • Phil says:

    Nice article. Thanks. Just pulled my No4 to bits.

  • Sandy Reid says:

    Hi There I have bought 2 old Record 25 Vices and want to restore them and wondered if you could help me with the blue colour code or any very close shade. Someone said that Blue Hammerite Smooth is close which would be fin as they will be used in an industrial/Motor Trade environment…


    Sandy Reid
    01738622416 W
    07730810888 M

  • Anna says:

    Can you tell me anything about a vice I found in a house I just bought, it’s shapes like a hand saw (left handed I think) says made in England record no 050 I can’t find it on eBay or the Internet.
    Thank you

  • Rob says:

    Hi Alex, I wonder if you can help. I have just got an old Record No 3. When I open the jaws, they stop moving before the width they are suposed to open to (4″ rather than 4.5″) and the handle starts to come out from the dynamic jaw. It isn’t free though, and wont pull out. Is that normal? The spring and washer around the screw/worm are present, but look pretty distorted. The jaws close fine without any backlash and do grip well. The dynamic jaw slide looks good and doesn’t seem to stick in the fixed jaw. Also, when you knock out the dovetail nut retaining pin can you re-use it, and if so how do you get it back in. Thanks if anyone can help. Rob

  • ralph says:

    the best vices are steel bodied rather than just cast iron, but they only come in the larger sizes.. record 34 is an example.. says cast steel on the side..these can be clamped up incredibly tightly,with extensions on the handle, and will take any amount of hammering..lesser quality vices, and the grey iron ones can fractured, , and are pretty well irrepairable, unless you are way out in the backwoods, and ingenious….probably possible to fracture whilst razzling something with oxyacetylene whilst tightly gripped..,

  • Mick hemmings says:

    I have a record 34 quick release vice. I’m blowed if I can remove
    the slide – there must be a trick to it – does anyone know or
    should I contact Paul Daniels!!!!! H E L P!!!!!!!!! Mick

  • Dave Pawson says:

    Alex, I’ve a number 3, made in England vice. The machine screws fixing the jaws to the vice are bent, any idea what thread they might be please?

  • rick says:

    Hi, Did you ever find out the screw size. I bought some 5/16 whit on Ebay and they are not even close, far too big

  • Jim Birchall says:

    I have a no 6 record vice that sticks in the locked position that then requires me to dismantle it to release the clamped item. Do you think I can fix this by stripping and cleaning or is it possible something is worn and needs replacing?

    Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

    Very Best Regards


  • Tomo54 says:

    I have a record 34 quick release vice. I’m trying to fit new vice jaws on.However i cannot undo the the screws “it is an old vice and probably never been touched” the only way im going to get the screws out is by drilling them but once again the vice will not open wide enough for me to drill them so i need to dismantle the vice but am wary of the quick release spring! Does anyone know of a safe method?

    • Only way is to get the jaw out I’m afraid. Just go careful with the spring.

    • Plinkerplunk says:

      You need to dismantle the vice for access then use a dremel and repair the slot in the recessed bolt head, really use lots of release all on the area near the bolts, you can heat the jaws but not that hot and then use the release all and let it soak in. Only do this outside and be careful as most release all solutions burn! Use a larger slot screwdriver in good condition, your goal is just to move the bolt a tiny bit at a time and then work it back and forth….

  • Plinkerplunk says:

    I have two Record vices that I am repairing and found this site on Google. One is a #5 and the other a #3, respectively the #5 is mine and the #3 was given to me to be repaired in parts and I need pictures or information of where the washers go. I have a further two vices that will need to be restored.

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