Record 74 Auto Vice Cleanup

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The Record 74 Auto Vice still show up for sale fairly regularly in the UK. This one was a bit grotty cosmetically but in good mechanical condition:

The only minor issue was that at some point the pin that retains the washer/spring used to hold the handle against the moveable jaw had broken and the washer bent as a result:


Once extracted a few whacks with a hammer got it back into shape, and a cut-down nail did as a replacement pin.

Having got it apart, a bit of elbow grease to remove 80 years of accumulated oil and grease plus various layers of paint (not sure why it was partly painted green – perhaps to distinguish it from others in a shared workshop?) and it looked like this:


This model has a  patent number on it so we know it was made made some time between the summer of 1929, when the patent was filed, and the late 1940s when it would have expired. 

I am pleased to report that, as with all Record products of this era, the quality is excellent with very well finished castings and a substantial steel slide and screw. 

There is a larger version of this design (the model 75) which, in its earliest incarnations, was made completely of steel.

The steel 75 vices were so strong Record provided an unconditional guarantee against breakages

The Record 74 (and later versions of the 75) have a cast iron body, although the jaws and removable anvil are both steel.  

It is simple to install: drill a 1/2 inch hole through the worktop and secure underneath with the large nut and washer. Here it is installed:


I found some replacement jaws on ebay, they were a good fit and suitable BSW threaded screws were supplied with the jaws. The old slot head screws were impossible to remove with a driver so I had to drill them out (once the screw head is removed the tension on the thread is released and the shaft can be backed out with pliers) .

Owners of these vices who have lost the removable pipe holder attachment can breathe a sigh of relief since an enterprising ebayer has started making replacements (they are only available occasionally so you may need to be patient). After I cleaned the old oil, grease and dirt from the slot in the body of the vice the new part was a perfect fit. In a clever twist to to original design the maker of the new parts has installed a magnet in the base. The magnet helps locate the attachment in the slot and also means you can attach it to the vice when not in use, thus never losing it again.

Finally I found some original fibre grips which turn up as new-old-stock now and then:

fibre grips

These vices are very useful in a small space since they are removable and can be lifted off their base and twisted to allow the vice to be repositioned on the bench. This is very handy, for example, when you are working in a confined space on a long piece that has to be poked out of a near by window or door. Also, the anvil is big enough to be useful on a surprising number of occasions. The vice has some more unusual features – more on that here.


If you like the #74 you may also be interested in their excellent tiny sibling the Record Imp

8 thoughts on “Record 74 Auto Vice Cleanup”

  1. I have just inherited a very well looked after #74 that is also missing the pipe jaws . I am hoping someone can help out finding the aftermarket ones that someone made .

    • there was someone selling them on ebay earlier this year but they seem to have all been sold You might want to set up an ebay alert in case he makes a new batch

  2. Hi – great site. I have an older model 74 vice that is in pretty good shape, but missing the vertical stud/threaded rod that holds the vice body to the wingnut on underside of the bench. Long shot, but you wouldn’t happen to know the dimensions and thread specifications on this piece so I could have one made? Many thanks.

  3. I purchased mine at the 1947 Motor Show, with my Father, at a special Show price of £5.00 . It is still in everyday use! And all it’s parts are still with it, except for some paint. !!

    • according to Record they are “adapted to support a valve stem of an internal combustion engine or for use in straightening bolts or rods”

      you can read more about the vice’s features here

  4. It makes me proud to be British when I look at wonderful, built-to-last products such as Record tools. But then I feel sad when I think of what became of Record, Britool, and many other famous old names from the era when ‘British Made’ meant The Best.
    I have a rare Record Heavy Chipping Vice 516.


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