Generally, there’s very little that can go wrong with a bench vise, but when something does, why not take the opportunity to roll your own? And, while you’re at it, make it operate with hydraulics instead.
That’s the path taken in this example when an abused vise reached it’s end-of-life with an catastrophic casting failure.
The replacement is completely fabricated from steel bar and channel stock, and has a fixed base and rear jaw, with a moving front jaw — hiding inside is a 5-ton single-action hydraulic cylinder. A single action cylinder won’t open the vise on its own, so a clever return mechanism was crafted with a pair of gas springs from a car trunk.
With a pair of hardened steel jaws and some modifications to the hydraulic cylinder to allow for foot operation, the vise is ready for service — check out the build in the video below…