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  1. #1
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    What can't I do without a vise?

    Hi all,

    I'm soon moving to the other side of the world, where I will have limited access to spare parts and MTB mechanics, so I'm going to have to start doing more myself (to date, it's just been very simple parts replacements, basic fork service, tinkering).

    Specifically, I'm looking at being able to service a Hammerschmidt and Reverb, previously handled by my LBS. I have been planning to get a proper bikestand, but when reading the Reverb service guide, in particular, there is liberal use of a vise.

    Where I am going, I am very unlikely to have a bench to mount a vise on, and so will probably be restricted to a portable workstand.

    So, my questions...

    1) Are there any workstands that come some way towards the strength of a vise?

    2) What bike maintenance activities would be ruled out without a vise?

    3) Any chance of doing the reverb service without one? If so, what's the risk?

    Thanks a lot for any answers!

  2. #2
    Humanoid Lobster
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    In general, I use the vise frequently when working on bikes. Lots of hub/axle work and fork service, etc. Not sure what exactly you'd need it for, but the stuff in your reverb manual is a good indicator.

    There are smaller vises that clamp to a table. They're not really a substitute for a big 'ol bench vise, but in a pinch might work for you.

    Also, I have a hard time imagining where in the world you'd go that you couldn't find a vise to buy if you really need one. They're a fixture in many kinds of workshops.

    Then again, I went without one at home for years and used a big adjustable wrench for many of the things I'd have used a vise for if I had one.
    Don't call it a gooseneck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks JakOzilla!

    I'm sure I can get a vise where I'm going, or buy one now and ship it there, but I don't think I am going to have anything to mount it on. (Well unless I bring the whole workshop into the house, which will cause familial issues. :-) )

  4. #4
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantrumizer View Post
    Thanks JakOzilla!

    I'm sure I can get a vise where I'm going, or buy one now and ship it there, but I don't think I am going to have anything to mount it on. (Well unless I bring the whole workshop into the house, which will cause familial issues. :-) )
    How about a Black & Decker Workmate as a portable bench? Fairly sturdy, yet light & folds for storage. You can put a small clamp-on vise on it, or use the table itself (within reason).

    JMJ

  5. #5
    Humanoid Lobster
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    Or a saw horse, or a beat up old table. Heck you could attach a vise to a tree stump!

    I'd worry more about access to parts and supplies that are higher up the food chain than a vise! (Just out of curiosity, where in the world are you headed?)
    Don't call it a gooseneck.

  6. #6
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    I know it's not recommended, but I use my Feed Back Sports bike stand as a vice. I put blocks of wood in the jaws to make them flat. I've used it to press out bushing in a Fox shock, hold fork cartridges for rebuilding, hold pieces of metal for drilling (for another hobby), etc. Of course it's not a real vise, so I can go too hard on it, but it works.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jak0zilla View Post
    I'd worry more about access to parts and supplies that are higher up the food chain than a vise! (Just out of curiosity, where in the world are you headed?)
    To a South Pacific island - fortunately one with some hills!

    There is a bikeshop there, but I don't know if they'll have the gear to operate on a few of my bike's more exotic parts (or they might be crap), so I'm stocking up.

    Thanks Birdman for the tip on the portable workbench, that's a good idea. I'll look into that. Or do as the-one1 suggests and carefully use a bikestand.

  8. #8
    SNS
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantrumizer View Post
    To a South Pacific island - fortunately one with some hills!...
    Which South Pacific Island? Some are pretty developed, such as New Zealand. Some are less so.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNS View Post
    Which South Pacific Island? Some are pretty developed, such as New Zealand. Some are less so.
    New Caledonia. Not as developed as NZ, but close.

    My current idea is to ship over (or buy there) a smaller clamp-on vise and then see what my workshop area (if any!) will be like before deciding what to do next. I think I'd had the impression before that all vises weighed a tonne and needed to be bolted on to a solid table, but checking out the Black and Decker setup mentioned above, I saw some other options.

    Thanks to all for the tips again!

  10. #10
    Plays with tools
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    A C clamp and a solid table can do a lot of good when you don't have a proper vise.

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