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In addition to their lineup of cast vices, Dawn also offer fabricated units ranging in size from 100mm (4") to 200mm (8"). Today we are reviewing one of the Australian-made 150mm variants.
Please note that Dawn currently offer both an Australian made and an imported range of fabricated vices - the imported range appears to be designated the "I" range, where the line without a range designator is listed as still being Australian made.
This particular vice is a vintage unit, acquired second-hand - or as is perhaps more likely, third or fourth hand. It's also the regular sort of vice, rather than one of Dawn's offset vices where the jaws are set to one side to allow for vertical clamping of long objects.
This particular vice started out life red and was painted light blue at some point.
The only indicator that this is made by Dawn is in the little circular plaque on the slide. This one has been partially painted over...
So, let's pull this one apart and see what it's made of. The jaws aligned nicely when the vice closed, and on this one came off easily - they are 150mm in width:
The jaws open to a maximum of just over 170mm with full contact between thread and nut.
Jaws are 15mm deep, 25mm high and the bolt centers are 125mm.
The slide displayed little slop and the screw was smooth throughout the range. Speaking of the screw:
Acme threaded. There's a U-shaped screw guide and a removable nut:
The removable and replaceable nut is a good feature as it means you can replace the nut if/when it begins to show signs of wear. After cleaning up the plaque we can see what it says:
This one was not from the period of Stanley ownership, as far as I can tell - vices made under their ownership (1991-1998) appear to have "A Unit of the Stanley Wo***" at the bottom of the plaque. World? Works? The only photo I have of one is of a damaged plaque and the rest of the last word is obscured. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can more accurately date the vice (before/after that period?).
The bottom of the vice shows it's original colour:
The welds under the bar that sits beneath the jaws:
One colour change later:
Oh, and the handle is 260mm from end to end and the shaft is 15mm in diameter.
In use the vice is very strong and sturdy, with smooth movement (especially after fresh grease) and very little slop. The jaws mate perfectly and the vice clamps very tightly without issue.
It's reasonably hefty at 22.6kg, though that's lighter than the equivalent Dawn cast vice. This vice design is currently available from Dawn with part number 60207.
Considering that these vices can be found for under a hundred dollars on places like Gumtree or Facebook I feel they're a viable alternative to a brand new vice - while it lacks any kind of swivel function it's a large, solid vice that is likely to outperform the cheap imported vices from Bunnings and similar. Like most of the Australian made Dawn products, it'll likely outlast most of us.
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