Wilton Bullet Vise Disassembly Guide

I picked up a Wilton No. 4 Vise from the flea market a while back.  I restored it soon after getting it but thought I’d post about that process. It has 4″ wide jaws and weighs about 36 lbs if you’re interested.  I thought I’d post the steps for taking one completely apart for others out there.

Here’s the vise.

Step 1
The first step is to remove the jaw pads. If the screws are really stuck in there, then spray them with your favorite penetrant. It’s also helpful to remove the dynamic (moving) jaw from the body of the vise so you can hold it vertically. With the screws in the vertical position you can put more force on the screws and tap the screwdriver with a hammer if needed. Once you’ve removed the pads it should look like this.

Step 2
The next step is to remove the three screws that hold the lead screw retaining plate on.

Step 3
With the retaining plate out of the way you can remove the lead screw and set it off to the side.

Step 4
Next, remove the dynamic jaw by pulling it out of the front of the vise. It can be heavy on the larger models so don’t drop it. If the dust cover is still in place on the back of the vise, remove it now. It can be removed by inserting a wooden dowel through the nut inside of the vise body. Tap on the end of the dowel to slowly remove the cover. Once again, some penatrant may be helpful if it’s stubborn.

Step 5
With the dust cover removed you can now see the back of the nut. While I’m calling it a nut, it’s more of a tube with threads on the inside. It is held in the vise by one or two cross pins or, on my larger model, two machine screws (one on each side). If you have screws, it’s easy to tell the difference because there is no way the heads of the screws can pass through the body. If you don’t have screws, then find out if you have one or two pins. Use a punch or nail with a flat end to drive the pin in a little bit. Did the pin move out on the other side? If so, then you probably have one pin. Drive the pin through the body as shown in the picture. In my case my punch was not long enough, so I put a small nail in between the pin and the punch. If the pin didn’t move on the other side then you probably have two pins. Try to drive one pin in until the other pops out and can be removed. Then drive the remaining pin backwards out of it’s side of the vise. The pins may not completely line up so while you may be able to push one pin with the other you may not be able to completely drive it out. Once you get a little of the pin out you can grab it with pliers if need be.

Depending on the vise you may be able to see the pins when looking through the back of the vise. If you’re uncertain, viewing from the back, line a ruler up with the top of the holes on the sides to see if the pins should run through the opening where the lead screw goes. If you have pins, you should be able to run a piece of wire in one hole and out the other side to make sure nothing is in there. No matter what style is used, go slow and don’t force it.

Step 6
If you look into the body from the front you can see the nut.

Use another block of wood and a hammer to drive the nut out through the back of the vise body.

Once you’ve removed the nut, note that there is a slot on that the cross pin passes through. This slot should face down and must be oriented correctly when you reinstall the nut. On my larger Wilton there are two dimples on the sides of the nut for the machine screws to go into.

Step 7
Depending on whether your model has a swivel base you may not need to perform this last step. To remove the swivel base, simply remove the two nuts that are used to lock the vise down.

Congrats, your vise is now fully disassembled.

Next up I’ll cover the restoration I did on the vise.

As an aside, I originally posted this guide on a forum I frequent called Garagejournal.com.  I don’t want anyone to see it in both places and get the wrong idea.

This entry was posted in Repair, Restoration, Tools. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Wilton Bullet Vise Disassembly Guide

  1. Tom says:

    Wow what a great website. I found it while searching out how to wire a drum switch for the old Logan metal lathe I’m restoring. I hope you’ll take a peak at my page http://radiotelegrapher.posterous.com/ . So many hobbies but no ham radio license?!?. Take very good care, Tom Bruzan, Mount Prospect Il.

  2. Marian says:

    Where can I get some Jows for the same vice ?? anyone ??


  3. Dave says:

    I have a Wilton bullet vise (about 25 years old) similar to the vise above. In step 4/5 above, where you remove the dust cover, on the back end of the ‘bullet shape’,, my vise actually has the entire end (where the dust cover fits into), the entire end is loose. Is this fixable?

  4. Bruce says:

    Liked your Wilton Disassembly Guide

    I need the “cross pin/s”. Do you have a description or part # for the pins? Do you know where to buy them? Mine came out in two pieces. It’s hard to tell if it was originally a one piece pin, or two pieces. There was a lot of metal particles inside the screw
    . My vise is dated 101159. Thanks: Bruce

    • davidjbod says:

      I’m not sure what size your cross pin is. You might try contacting Wilton to see if they could provide you with a replacement. If not, since the cross pin is made of mild steel and doesn’t take a lot of force, you may be able to replace it with something else. I’d take a trip to a hardware store to see if I could find a similarly sized nail and then cut it down.


  5. Robert says:

    Excellent disassembly guide!

    I have the same Wilton vise. Unfortunately, my vise is currently out of order. The three screws that hold the lead screw retaining plate snapped off. I’m not sure if the three tiny snapped off screws can be extracted safely and if I can obtain replacement screws.

    • davidjbod says:

      I think they can be removed. I’d certainly give it a try. Center punch them and then drill a hole in them with a left hand twist drill bit. Hopefully as you’re drilling, it will extract the broken part. If not, since the hole is there, you could try a small screw extractor. Worst case, drill them out with a slightly larger bit and tap the holes for new screws. Just don’t throw it away! Good luck

  6. Will Ramsey says:

    did you ever finish this restoration? I’m very interested in seeing what you did. thank you

    • davidjbod says:

      I did. Soon after posting actually. I thought I’d posted about it but it seems I didn’t. I’ll get a post up this weekend on the resto. Thanks for reading!

  7. Mike says:

    I bought replacement jaws and several other restoration parts for a 9400 4″ bullet vise here: http://www.wiltonviseparts.net Good service and excellent quality replacement parts.

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