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

86 Responses to “Restoring A Record Vice”

  • keith says:

    thanks alex, i have found a set of 5′ jaws for a no.5vice just wonder if they fit thanks

  • Usually just the one way to find out :) Buy em and have a go!

  • jackie says:

    Hi I have a record 6 and the part that sides in and out has broken this is an original one and would like to know where I can a repalcement part. or the details of record and how to contact them. thanks

  • Wes Mantooth says:

    I’ve just acquired a Record No3a and can find no reference to that particular model anywhere online. Can anyone inform me whether I have a genuine Record vice or where I my be able find more info on Record model numbers.

  • Richie Smith says:

    Hi Alex, do you know where I can locate a washer and spring for an old no.3? Thanks

  • Michael O'Mahoney says:

    Hi there.
    I wonder if anyone can help. I’ve just aquired a Record 34 Quick release Vice and I cannot get the jaws to open further than 85cms when ratchet clicks in and I understand they should open to 14cms. Thanks

  • Carol says:

    I am looking for replacement jaws for a record 22 vice, can anyone help??

  • john says:

    Hi Alex
    I have a No. 3 Record engineer’s vice. I found your disassembly instructions very helpful re the pin and nut. I’ve lubricated the spline and put it back together but the moving jaw won’t move back. It works fine doing up but not the outward movement. The little spring looked a bit compressed and I put it on the spindle/spline on the inside of the moveable jaw just forward of where the turning bar attaches. Please advise if you can work out what is going on.
    Many thanks

  • mal says:

    Hi. I have a No.6 RECORD and the jaws only tighten/slacken off after a turn of the bar. This shows wear in the threaded bar etc. I would presume, so if i send off for a new threaded bar, spring, handle etc. (supplied as a repair kit) would the “slack” in the handle turning be eliminated, or does the delay in the jaws moving (in or out) mean another part is worn, so a new bar/handle etc. would make no difference.

    I am trying to avoid spending over £150 on new internals only to find that it may make no diffrence too the action of the vice.
    Anybody got any idea’s or advice please. :)

  • Michael says:

    Anyone know where I can get parts for my Record No53 RD664709 joiners vice, Michael

  • John Crisby says:

    I have a 6 inch, swivel base Record vice. It is at least 50 years old, but lookes like new. Last week I was putting a little extra into closing the jaws when the moving jaw broke. It broke right where it slides into the fixed jaw. Any idea as to where I can get a new, or used part.

  • I doubt if there are any spares out there anymore, but I’d suggest perhaps attempting to weld it back together :)

  • JC says:

    Alex, that’s good work there. What paint did you use?

  • Richard Barton says:

    I have a number 5 Record vice that I rescued from a skip, with permission of the owner. The clamp face plate on the moving jaw had been replaced at some point with a piece of wood and I am planning to replace that with the proper metal part such as this:
    When I took the wooden plate off I found that the screw holes are angled down into the jaw at something like 20 or 30 degrees. Is that normal? Will the replacement parts be drilled at an angle to match?
    Any assistance will be much appreciated.

  • Steve Britton says:

    Excellent restoration work on these vices.

    I am about to start restoration of a Record vice that is currently quietly rusting in a shed – from the pictures I have it looks like a number 34

  • Garry Cunliffe says:

    Hi Alex, Thanksfor the blog it got me started on my own restoration, a Record No3.
    When I dis-mantled it I noticed the spring and washer behind the handle are completely shot. Do you know the specification of these two parts, spring stiffness, diameter etc. Also who are the better option for spare parts.
    Best Regards

  • Gwj Zoeker says:

    Is the letter R on the side from vices. from factory records ? well made in Engeland.

  • 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.

  • A Hammerite direct to metal enamel paint.

  • 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.

  • Have you tried approaching Record Direct?

  • 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.

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