Clear all

Wilton PCB Bench Vice Refurbish

Vrat Founder Admin
Posts: 10843

As most of my TV work is PCB based I've managed quite well with the PCB resting on the bench and sometimes propped up at a suitable angle by something that was to hand like rags of blocks of wood. Same when it comes to using the bench PCB microscope for inspection, the PCB again propped up in some sort of fashion, not ideal but it sufficed.

That said I've often thought of getting a specific PCB vice but nothing much took may fancy, that was until I came across a rather sad looking and neglected Vintage Wilton.

A Brief history of Wilton

The legend of Wilton begins in 1941, when Hugh W. Vogl, a Czech immigrant, founded the vise manufacturing company naming it after the cross street where the original company building was located: Wilton Avenue and Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago, IL. Hugh Vogl designed a 4” vice with a unique patented bullet design known at the time as the 40S Machinist Vice. The fine threaded spindle accurately fit in a horizontal anchored, unbreakable malleable nut. This created an even, central pull, which eliminated dead motion and unnatural strain on the nut. The thread on this vice was completely enclosed keeping it clean from contaminates and well lubricated for years of smooth operation. 

From 1941 through 1945, the new Wilton 40S machinist vice was manufactured in Chicago and sold solely to the US Government. Most vices were used in munitions factories or in manufacturing of equipment used during WWII. After the war ended, the government dumped their surplus of tools and equipment into the marketplace at huge discounts. Because Wilton vices were only sold to the government, and did not have a distribution network in place, the surplus of vices now flooded the marketplace from the government, and nearly forced Wilton out of business.

The rest of the story if you're interested, can be read here.

wilton history 6

Back to the PCB Vice

The Wilton PCB vice was picked up £10 from e-bay and unlike the many modern Chinese offerings looked a better prospect.

The vice was I believe a silent key disposal and had obviously not been used in many years and likely stored in a shed or garage. The body was pitted and in places surface rust had occurred but nothing too drastic and it was a good candidate. The device was disassembled cleaned up with various grades of wire wool clean and oiled. The plinth was stained and sealed with a couple of coats of Danish oil.

The results shown in the photos below, I hope speak far better than the words.


wpcb 1
wpcb 2
wpcb 3
wpcb 4


wpcb 1a
wpcb 2a
wpcb 3a
wpcb 4a
wpcb 5
wpcb 5a

This now takes pride of place on the PCB repair bench and will be used daily.


Well that's all folks, hope it was of interest

Topic starter Posted : 11/05/2019 9:00 pm
PYE625 liked
Noble V-Ratter Registered
Posts: 1544

That’s a good looking and useful piece of kit! I’ve got a Panavise PCB vice, which is very useful, it grips the PCB at the edges, so is only good for boards up to a certain size. 

I recently inherited 3 of my Grandad’s bench vices, they all need derusting and cleaning before use.



Posted : 11/05/2019 10:49 pm