A critical tool for welding and fabricating is a machinist’s vise, and this small fellow had worked well enough for me.
What I was reading and learning about blacksmithing – along with my own sense – told me that its cast iron frame would disintegrate pretty shortly if I clamped some hot metal in it and started pounding away. Blacksmiths need a way to hold on to their work so they can strike it, or twist it, or punch a hole it in, or otherwise manipulate it when just placing it on an anvil won’t do. The traditional tool used is a post vise, also called a leg vise, which is designed so that the force of the hammer’s blows is mostly absorbed by the rear jaw of the vise which is directly connected to a post or leg anchored in the ground.
I bought a post vise through craigslist that was rusty and sticky, but appeared to be in workable shape. After cleaning it up and applying some grease, I was ready to build a stand to hold it. I wanted the stand to be portable yet sturdy, so I placed in all on a steel plate that I would stand on when using the vise.