Makevember 25th A spring for a leg vice.

My smaller leg vice is lacking a spring. I decided to make one for it.

I’ve been looking forward to this – making a part which fits other parts is always a challenge. I’m looking forward to having two function leg vices – I’ll be able to use one for mounting jigs and tooling. The other for holding hot stuff or gentle squishing of things.

So I lit the forge and stuck a suitably sized bit of steel in there.

I’m very fortunate to already have a leg vice, so I can see how the spring should be. It’ll need to be considerably smaller, but at least I’ve got a pattern.

It’s that funny S shaped thing.

It is held by the shackle at the top – and I made mine nice and square yesterday.

At the bottom there are little ears which wrap around the movable portion of the vice. This is so the spring doesn’t slip out. Given the height it would present a significant risk to kneecaps or testicles. I’m not willing to find out which.

The spring is also tapered in width along it’s length.

I started out by hammering in an isolation over the edge of the anvil about an inch from the end of the bar. This will eventually form the bit with the ears.

Then I hammered on the edge of the bar to produce the taper taking care to keep it even on both sides and flattening out any roll-over. I ended up with more marks than I would have liked, I really need to grind my hammer rounder.

The taper isn’t much, but it means that the bar is the correct width up near the shackle and a sensible size in relation to the front jaw of the vice. I then started to spread the end to form the ears. I used a cross peen to do so and managed a satisfying increase in width.

Then I formed the ears. They’re not as prominent as the ones on the bigger leg vice. I also didn’t manage to get the nice curved and folded back end. I’m assuming it’ll be absolutely fine without them.

Then it was time to bend the spring into the correct S shape. This was more difficult than I thought it would be. In hindsight, it would have helped to draw out the curve I was after rather than just eyeballing it. However, that’s what I did.

Well, yeah, it’s curved, kinda about what it sort of ought to be ish. Let’s try it in place on the leg vice.

Now I’m happy with that. It fits well, all I have to do is cut off the excess material and bend the end over.

So why is it now entirely the wrong shape! It’s the very definition of not being a spring at all.

I think that bending the top part straightened out the slight curve which used to be up there and that’s thrown it all off by a significant amount. So I needed to rebend it into a more useful shape.

I’m not entirely happy with the shape. The top curve is a bit tight. The lower curve is a bit too big. It’s just a spring, I’m sure it’ll be fine. I may have to reshape it, but at least I’ve got a spring to reshape.

Oh, and the little ears fit the movable post perfectly. This is very satisfying.

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