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Looking for a high quality 4" vise? The Dawn 60153 is well worth considering - check out our review below.
Straight up, this is not as cheap a vise as the the entry level ones you'll find in Bunnings - this is more the kind of vise you buy that you want to keep and expect not to destroy despite hard use! If that's something of interest, read on!
The vise (when closed) is 367mm long, 163mm wide and 177mm high - and is a hefty 16kg. It has 4" replaceable jaws (100mm) that can open to ~115mm:
The provided jaws are case hardened and have a vertical notch for non-flat objects:
These jaws are Dawn part number 65129, as far as I can tell - though they appear to be ~15mm thick not ~25mm thick as the 65129 spec sheet suggests. There are also jaws with both a vertical and horizontal slot - 65134.
Alternate jaws are available - you can get polyurethane jaws, Dawn part number 22100 for the 100mm variant. There are also aluminium soft jaws available which fit over the existing jaws, part number 60104 for 100m vises like this one. Both of these options have magnetic strips on the back to hold them in place.
The cast iron slide has been machined (slide replacement part number 65041)- Dawn literature says that it has been machined accurately and based on the fine tolerances between the cast iron body and slide I believe it:
The screw is fine pitch Acme threaded - very good news for a vise as it's a strong thread type - and it's well shielded from debris inside the slide:
The nut is housed within the body and is removable in case it ever needs to be replaced - it's Dawn part number 65067 or 65072, it's hard to tell which:
The handle and screw are corrosion resistant, and the knobs/screw head are forged - meaning they should not shear off. If you need a replacement handle it comes with the screw and is part number 65094. The washer/pin/spring that sit around the screw behind the handle are also available and are part number 65115.
The body (part no. 65013, I think) has a raised cast section at the back - Dawn literature describes it as a deflector - which is designed to guide any chips or other debris away from the vise's moving parts in an attempt to increase longevity by reducing wear.
So, how does the vise work in practice? I have spent a year with the pictured vise and it has done everything that has been asked of it - and while I don't use it as a makeshift press (I have a hydraulic press for that) I would hazard a guess that it would take rather a lot of force to break this particular vise. A couple of local motorcycle enthusiasts bought much cheaper vises in the same time frame and they all broke at some point during use (misuse?) - so from that very small sample size I feel there certainly is value in buying a well made vise if you like your tools to last.
The vise grips firmly with no appreciable slop, the handle has not bent even with some decent force applied and the jaws are quite grippy.
The vise itself does not swivel, as is evident from the photos - there is an optional swivel base available from Dawn or you can buy a vise that comes with it pre-attached in the 60163.
One other thing that not everyone will put the same value on - this is an Australian made product, unlike most of the vises that you will come across in stores today. My own buying preferences are to pay a little more for an Australian made product if possible, so this is something that I put value on - others won't care and just want the best value for the money, so this point may not make the vise more appealing.
The vise does have good parts support - if you do wear something out or break a part all of the individual components are available for purchase. This is certainly something I look for in a tool I expect to keep long-term!
Overall - a really solid piece of kit and well worth considering if you're in the market for a quality vise.
Looking for this sort of vise but with a swivelling base? Check out our review of the 60163, which is a 60153 with a swivelling base
You may be interested in some of our other tool reviews - check them out here.
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