How to turn a $6 pair of "ViseGrips" into a $23+ pair!


"The Montana Bladesmith"
I know everyone is always looking for ways to cut some costs around the shop, and I'm no least in areas that it's not critical (each of us has to decide that for themselves). Anyway, I use the heck out of 11" "ViseGrips" around the shop, and wreck a lot of them. At around $23 per pair for the Vise-Grip brand, that gets spendy pretty quick.


So here's some pointers to make a pair of $6 HF (Pittsburgh) 11" "visegrips" preform as well the name brand.

1. Both brands have this area crimped....its just that ViseGrip brand does a better job. First thing to do is gently clamp this area in a vise, and CAREFULLY weld this area. Sometimes, with enough pressure applied, these crimped areas spread a bit, and when they do...don't flex back into place, and at that point, won't adjust any more.... so folks usually toss the tool. Welding means the crimp never come apart! :)

2. Next, I weld a large "fender" washer to all the adjusting "nuts" on these type pliers/ makes it much easier to adjust, especially once it's clamped onto something.....

3. Pull out the threaded adjustment, and give it some good quality grease. As they come, the treads are dry as a bone, and horribly rough to turn. Grease makes all the difference!

4. Finally, give all the pivot points a good spray of "dry" lube. I suppose you could use WD40.....but that gets kinda icky, and if you ever use the clamps when welding....ya don't want WD40 on them! I suppose it would be a neat picture....your clamp in flames.....but when it happened to me, I was too freaked out to think about getting a picture.

The pliers/clamps are good for many things around the shop, from welding, to just about anything that needs "clamped". I took me about 10-15mins to do all this to 4 pair of the HF (Pittsburgh) brand, for a total cost of $21 (used a coupon) less then what it would have cost for ONE of the "ViseGrip" brand versions.

One thing I use these for is..... a mount/flex arm that holds my GoPro when shooting videos in the shop...... I drill/tap a 2 1/2" piece of 1/2" square stock, then weld it to the top jaw, and off we go. (This one I painted just so it would look good for the pic! :) )

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Chris Railey

Great tips thanks Ed I have a few of these I will have to do that. Welding on a welding clamp...How Avant Garde...
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Well-Known Member
Thanks Ed! Just the other day I tried using 2 of my HF ones and they were so hard to tighten that I threw them in the scrap bin and got out the c-clamps. I'll salvage them and do an upgrade, now thanks to your post.


Well-Known Member
Before I read your post I was looking at the picture wondering where in the hell you got copper clamps.....


"The Montana Bladesmith"
OK, I confess. I dig the "Hammered" spray paints..... especially the copper and green ones. They stopped making the best spray paint out there.... Hammerrite. :)