CMS-Japanese Motorcycle Supply Parts

Dawn 150mm Cast Engineer's Bench Vice or Vise Restoration Review


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Today I am looking at restoring and reviewing an Australian-made vintage Dawn 150mm cast engineer's bench vice or vise (one of several on eBay AU).

It's a hefty unit - my best guess is that this is a 12012-5 model (Standard pattern), which seems to be the 1970s equivalent of the current 60156 150mm:

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

It was originally red, as is usually the case for the Dawn semi-steel units. This one has clearly had some additional paint applied over the years.

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

It weighs in in at 36.0kg.

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Here it is next to a 3" Carter:

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Cleaning it up and taking off the multiple layers of paint, the casting was pretty consistent - moreso than the older 5SP and 6SP vices I have restored lately:

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

The jaws are 150mm wide and open to approx. 175mm. The vice is of the usual Dawn construction from the ~70s onwards with a removable main nut and jaws that are affixed to the vice by means of a bolt from the back. There's also a hump at the back of the static jaw right above where the slide moves to prevent or reduce the amount of swarf/chips/etc. getting onto the slide.

Re-done in black because, well, I always wondered what one would look like in black.

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Some fingerprints from the grease:

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

Next to that same 3" Carter:

Here's a review and restoration of a Dawn 60156 Australian-made bench vice or vise, a 150mm or 6-inch semi-steel unit.

From the catalogues I can find, Dawn was still selling imperial-unit-badged vices in 1972 but had switched to metric by the 1978 catalogues. That does give us an approximate maximum age for the vice.

It's a touch heavier than the newer 60156 model - that apparently weighs in at 33.4kg. The 150mm Dawns are certainly easier to source replacement jaws for compared to the previous 5SP or 6SP - and when buying used I have yet to see the jaw fasteners totally ruined or seized on a metric-marked Dawn, whereas it seems to be not uncommon on the older ones.

It's a heavy, solid vice in use with a nice, smooth movement after replacing the spring and lubricating the threads. It can handle heavy duty work and clamps very firmly - it's a pleasure to use. In terms of value on the used market they go from anywhere from $free to $200 or so, but keep in mind that a new one of the same size can be bought from Dawn for a touch over $400 so I wouldn't pay too much unless you're specifically seeking an older vice.

Check out some of the Dawn 150mm vices on eBay AU, and take a look at my other Dawn restorations and reviews!



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