Need Help Evaluating Chinese Kurt-Style Milling Vises

I need a 6" Chinese Kurt-style milling vise (I can't afford a real Kurt
right now: even decent used ones sell high on Ebay).
It seems that there are at least two different Chinese designs (probably
quite a few more) for these vises. Without being able to physically examine
each in advance, I was wondering if any of you have one or both of the two
that I'm looking at, and could give me some feedback.
Even if you don't have one of these vises, I'd welcome any comments or
observations as to which one you think might be better:
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(On the second one, scroll down to the bottom of the page for a larger
picture.)
Besides cosmetics (different paint job between the two, and the chromed
handle on the second vise), there are several other differences I can see:
1. The first mill's mounting "ears" have open slots for the bolts to secure
the vise to the swivel base (or directly to the milling table); the second
vise's mounting "ears" have bolt holes.
2. The second vise has an oil port for the screw shaft bushing/bearing; the
first vise does not appear to have an oil port.
I realize that's not much to go on, but those are the only differences I can
see in the photos.
I've seen quite a few Ebay sellers auctioning the second style of vise, but
the first one ("Clark" brand) is new to me. I don't know if the "Clark" name
is more reputable or if they demand a higher quality control on their
Chinese tooling.
Any thoughts?
Thanks,
Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
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I don't have personal experience with these but used an "Indian" version at a job once. If you have access to a surface grinder you can disassemble them and fix squareness problems. Randy
Reply to
Randy Replogle
My guess is the first vise is made in Taiwan and the second in China. The jaws on the first one look to be hardened and ground and on the second, to be softer. I don't much like the looks of the second vise. A mill vise you use all the time. The swivel base you will likely not use often (I've never used mine) but the vise itself you use almost every time you use your mill. A poorly made vise is a misery.
GWE
DeepDiver wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I bought a new kurt 6 inch vise and I have never regretted it. After 8 years in a home shop it still looks and works like new.
Reply to
Chuck Sherwood
Based on a fair bit of eBay experience I'd go with the 1st one. The buyer has had at least 690 transactions with no negative feedback. That's pretty remarkable in my book.
I have 2 negatives in less than half that many transactions and I've done nothing wrong. One is from a guy that was pissed because I left neutral feedback on him after he sold me a CDR when it was supposed to be a new, packaged product. The 2nd one I received after I left negative feedback for a buyer that did not send payment and did not reply to any emails or the eBay invoice or the unpaid item disputes for 30 days!
In other words, it's tough to make everyone happy so he must be doing something right.
On the other hand, the 2nd seller has a feedback rating of 98.3% and IMHO anything under 99% is dangerous unless you look at their feedback and see a valid reason for it. I looked at a few of his negatives and they all say things like rude, no response to emails, really slow shipping, 5 weeks to receive item, etc...
BTW, in case you're interested, the 1st seller wants $180 for that vise if you use Buy It Now but based on an earlier sale it looks like his reserve is $140.00.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"
Reply to
Keith Marshall
I've got the second one that I purchased from MSC on sale a couple years ago for 129.95 plus 60.00 shipping if I remember right. One problem I have with it is it is not level, so that if I clamp something in the jaws and mill across the length it it will no longer be square. Dick
Reply to
rhncue
The aucti[quote] They are manufactured in China. Basically a Kurt Angle Lock knock-off. They imported by Clark Machine Tool. Clark Machine Tool says the notable difference between their vise and the Kurt vise is Kurt is accurate within .0005", Clark vises are accurate within .001". [/quote]
When I asked for clarification since their auction page listed Taiwan and their e-mail stated China, they responded:
[quote] Thank you for bringing that to my attention. We are a distributor for Clark Machine Tool. Their milling machines are made in Taiwan. Recently we learned that the tooling for their milling machines (collets, vises, clamp kits) are imported by a different manufacturer in China. It appears we forgot to update our listing. Sorry for the confusion, I am going to change our auction and store listing. [/quote]
And they immediately updated all their Ebay pages. Good communication & follow through!
I looked again, but I can't see the difference. Not that I'm doubting you; I just cannot tell.
I agree on the need for a good vise. I do wish I could afford a Kurt, but even the good used ones usually sell well over $200 (and then you have to add shipping).
I would think the swivel base to be quite handy. I'm currently using a toolmaker's vise and it gets really annoying having to change it's orientation from time to time.
Thanks again for your feedback, Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
Shim it! Easy to do. I had to do it with my Enco 6" (Kurt knockoff). Been a good vise, can't complain at all. Lane
Reply to
Lane
I have a 4" Wilton (they're imported too) that has a different design, where the screw is enclosed, and the moving jaw is precision fit to a beam-style bed/base. I don't use it a lot, but it's very rigid and holds securely. The screw is inline with the centers of the jaws. I think Palmgren also produces vises of this design. The only thing I felt it should have is a wiper for the moving jaw (to keep crap from getting under the jaw), so I added a felt wiper.
It appears that they used the picture of the 2" model for 4" & 6" models.
The vises you suggested have open, slotted bases, which is probably an inferior design (particularly for a generic China version). As less cast iron is likely, I would expect the base to flex when the vise is tightened. The maximum jaw opening is typically less for this style vise, although there seem to be some longer versions of this design.
The Clark brand is just another way to not say Ginsu.. their name is on almost everything from accessories to welders and band saws. I seriously doubt that there is any better design or quality control than HF, Homier or any other brand.
WB ...........
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Reply to
Wild Bill
I have a 4" Wilton (they're imported too) that has a different design, where the screw is enclosed, and the moving jaw is precision fit to a beam-style bed/base. I don't use it a lot, but it's very rigid and holds securely. The screw is inline with the centers of the jaws. I think Palmgren also produces vises of this design. The only thing I felt it should have is a wiper for the moving jaw (to keep crap from getting under the jaw), so I added a felt wiper.
It appears that they used the picture of the 2" model for 4" & 6" models.
The vises you suggested have open, slotted bases, which is probably an inferior design (particularly for a generic China version). As less cast iron is likely, I would expect the base to flex when the vise is tightened. The maximum jaw opening is typically less for this style vise, although there seem to be some longer versions of this design.
The Clark brand is just another way to not say Ginsu.. their name is on almost everything from accessories to welders and band saws. I seriously doubt that there is any better design or quality control than HF, Homier or any other brand.
WB ...........
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Reply to
Wild Bill
Hi Keith, thanks for the feedback.
I had already asked about the reserve on the first vise auction and you are correct: it is $140.
I have been impressed with the email communications I've been having with Machinery Exchange (the dealers of the first vise sold under the "Clark" name). They have been responsive, informative, polite, and professional: all consistent with their 100% positive feedback rating.
To be fair to the second seller (Pits_Online), I purchased from them before about three years ago when I was first getting started in machining, and they did provide excellent service at that time. I had bought from them (via Ebay) a number of items and Pits_Online was great about combining the auctions into a single shipment (no excessive charges either, even though the total shipment was quite heavy). When I got the package, one of the items (an import toolmaker's vise -- the heaviest item in the shipment) had a manufacturing defect (buggered threads, IIRC). Also, a set of insert boring bars was not what I had expected. They agreed to exchange the vise with a new one and promptly sent a replacement (which was perfect) at their cost; they also refunded me for the boring bars, all with no fuss. They even refunded me back the shipping costs I paid to return to them the defective vise and boring bar set! I thought that was exceptional service from an Ebay seller.
Unfortunately, Pits_Online's recent feedback has been less than stellar. Perhaps they have new management.
In any case, at this point, I'm mostly concerned with the quality of the vises. That second vise is fairly common and can be purchased from any number of sources besides Pits_Online.
Regards, Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
I have 2 5" versions of the Kurt clone from Grizzly. They have the oil port, *and* mounting ears. I prefer ears to bolt holes; makes positioning the mounting hardware easier IMHO. The auction pictures don't show the base mounting style; what you are looking at is the rotation lock bolts. JR Dweller in the cellar
DeepDiver wrote:
Reply to
JR North
I realize that. Although those *would be* the vise mounting points if placing the vise directly on the mill table without the swivel base.
As far as the swivel base, all the Chinese Kurt-style vises I've seen have slotted mounting tabs (not bolt holes). In fact, on the first vise auction page, you can see this in the picture showing the underside of the swivel base.
Regards, Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
And here's a giant 8" vise for only $130 from the second seller. Of course, the freight on this 200 lbs monster is likely to add substantially to it's cost!
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- Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
"DeepDiver" wrote in news:fjr5e.13757$ snipped-for-privacy@typhoon.sonic.net:
First off, I don't care for swivel bases too much. But, if you need one I would go with the second one. Slotted holes tend to make the vise shift when you tighten it down. It's not as bad when you are bolting it directly to the table as you have more contact. On the swivel pedestal it can squirt around quite a bit. The other thing I notice about the first one is that it appears to have some oclusions in the casting on the bottom. If the bottom didn't clean up during machining there is a pretty good chance there are more voids hiding inside. To be fair you can't see the bottom of the other, and they may have used filler where it's painted. I've bought a couple of items from the second guys (Pits) and have never had a problem. From their feedback it looks like they run out of stock on some items from time to time.
Reply to
D Murphy
Actually the first vise may not actually be any better. They may just make it look more appealing. :-)
Have you looked at Enco's version? It looks about like the Clark in their online catalog but in their current sales catalog it looks like the other one. It's currently on sale for $84.95. According to the back page of the catalog they're offering free UPS shipping until the end of May if you enter promo code NRUPF45 and that vise is within UPS's weight limits but they have an asterisk beside it indicating truck shipment. It may be marked wrong so you may be able to get them to do the free shipping.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"
Reply to
Keith Marshall
There three reasons to buy the real thing despite the price. My Dad bought one of fhe Chinese ones and an employee bent it ( actually bowed the main casting) by tightenting it too tight. He had to disassemble the vise and grind it straight again. I guarantee that won't happen with a Kurt. Secondly, the hole spacing for the jaws is not he same as the Kurt so none of the nifty keeno accessories developed by at least 50 machine shops will fit. Probably those spider style feed handles won't fit either. The third is very important; If all you ever buy is copies of the good stuff who will be able to invent more good stuff. Kurt has lead the machine shop industry out of the dismall crap that they were stuck with for about a century. They are still an inovator and need the buyer's support as do other innovators. Leigh@MarMachine
Reply to
CATRUCKMAN
I agree 100%. Pay the extra money and get a vise that works. There is nothing more frustrating than a work holder you can't trust. Ebay often has some decent deals on used Kurt vises.
snipped-for-privacy@AOL.COM wrote:
Reply to
Tim Killian
You've offered three good reasons to buy a genuine Kurt. I could come up with at least another one or two reasons on my own. But sometimes, there's a huge gap between theory and practice: in this case, that gap is called "a budget" (also known as "lack of available funds"). It's not always possible to do things "despite the price."
I would love to have an entire workshop stocked with high-quality brand-name machines and tools. But the truth is, if I were to restrict myself to that attitude, my workshop would be practically empty. I have been able to get some great deals on quality new/used tooling via Ebay and occassional distributor sales. But there are times when we all have to make compromises. And this vise will likely be one of them for me.
As I posted earlier, even on Ebay, decent-looking Kurt vises are fetching $250 and up (and then you have to pay another $60-80 for shipping). And since there's usually no way to inspect the item, there is some risk involved in the purchase, even with a Kurt (and since shipping is so expensive, it's not like you can simply return it if you find that the vise is damaged). There are other sellers on Ebay selling new Kurts at ~$325 and up. But by the time you add the shipping, you might as well buy a one on sale from Enco for $399 combined with their offer of free shipping on the Kurt vises.
Believe me, I'd love to have a Kurt. But unless I get super-lucky soon, that will likely have to be on a future wish list. In the mean time, I need a vise now.
Thanks, Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver
Thanks, I'll check. But I suspect that the vise is exempt from the free shipping offer. I've always had great service with Enco's sales and support staff. But I know from past experience that there are some items that they will not ship via UPS even though the item is within the UPS weight/size limits.
For example, I've long wanted to get one of the ratcheting arbor presses that Enco has on sale from time to time. Even though the "small" one could be shipped UPS, they insist that they'll only ship it via freight (which adds something like $100 to the cost of the press). They claim it's because they've had too many "damaged in shipping" issues with UPS on the large/heavy items (which may be true, seeing how UPS tends to drop and kick-around heavy packages). But I suspect it also has a lot to do with Enco's many "free UPS shipping" promotions.
Regards, Michael
Reply to
DeepDiver

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