What do you think of the Fireball Hardtail Vise?

Incredible. Simply incredible. It’s even more impressive in person than in the pictures and videos.

Arrived within 1 week of final payment.

Quality is outstanding. I have the made in Taiwan version for what it is worth. The casting is great quality, machining is precise. It came well lubricated. In a world where it is so easy to be a critic, I do no have a single negative thing to say. The Fireball team clearly carefully engineered and manufactured this tool to be an heirloom.

Here are some pics. Feel free to ask me anything about it. I restore classics and build off-road rigs. Light fabrication too. I am hard on vises and have broken several; I don’t think that will be an issue here. Up next is to build a proper stand. Any advice or ideas regarding design, please let me know.





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Do you plan on bolting the stand to the floor or free standing?

Bolting to the floor. I have some 3/4”concrete anchors left over from another project.

Awesome, I like the top of jaws to be anywhere between 34-38” off the floor. I personally like 36”. This is a compromise between the handle to low and the jaws to high.

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So I have a few questions?
I didn’t think these were available yet?
How big of a base would you suggest using including what you bolt to the ground?
How well does it spin/turn on the rotation plate? Reason for this question is I always have problems locking it and the vise spinning when you don’t want it to. Like if your tightening pipe threads and the vise starts spinning with the pipe wrench. Not nitpicking just interested.
Can I assume your happy with the purchase?

I think I’ll like it a smidge taller at 42.75" to the top of the jaws for two reasons:

  1. I’m 6’ tall and if I bend my elbow 90 degrees, that would put my elbow right at the top of the jaws.
  2. More importantly, all my tables are 38" high and I would like the bottom of the throat to match this height so I can use my other tables as supports for larger parts. I definitely wouldn’t want the throat lower than the tables because then the position of the tables would limit how large of items I can hold. Since the throat of the vise is 4.75" deep, that would put the top of the jaws at 42.75"

The vise is a total of 13.75" from base to top of jaws, so I will build a base with a height of 29".

In case anyone is wondering, here are some pictures with measurements.




The vises are available to pre-order (but it is actually more like a deposit until the vise is ready to be shipped out). I pre-ordered Feb 2, 2022 and the vise arrived June 5, 2023, so 16 months was my lead time. Maybe @Fireball_Jason will chime in with what the current total lead time is.

With regards to the size of the base, I am planning to make it 29" tall (see my rationale above). I have not yet decided how wide the base will be where it connects to the floor, but it’ll probably be a tripod design around 32" wide and 24" deep. If the front of the stand is 24" away from the wall, then the vise has enough room to spin 360 degrees (this is an excellent design feature). 32" wide because the vise is 16" from the center of the pivot pin to the handle with the jaws closed, so that is the minimum, and 32" wide will also provide good side-load support.

The vise rotates very well on the base. I believe mine may have a slight defect in the casting of the base that needs shaved off because it catches in one spot if I don’t have the screws loose enough. I’ll take it apart and look soon. Conversely, when you lock down the swivels, it stays exactly where you put it. The large tapered nuts in the swivel base provide plenty of traction to keep it from pivoting when you don’t want it to. I feel like it is worth noting that the swivel base is optional; you could mount the vise directly to the table if you didn’t need the swiveling functionality (which most people probably don’t - Maybe Fireball could sell a version without the swivel base).

In short, yes, I’m very happy with the vise. Now I just need a giant anvil to match :slight_smile: The vise looks a bit lonely being the only absurdly large tool in my relatively small shop.

The thing makes a great arbor press substitue. Didnt even need a cheater bar to almost crush the hub :joy:

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@ImEngineer Have you built a stand for the Hardtail vise yet?

@Fireball_Jason Not yet. I “temporarily” mounted it to another “sturdy enough” metal table while collecting the parts as they come up in scrap.

The last piece I’m waiting to fall in my lap is a plate of 1” thick steel big enough to bolt the base to. I like the idea behind the 1/2” thick plates you have on the site (and they’re probably plenty sturdy). I just think 1” thick would look better since that’s also the height of the bolt flange on the vise.
If you made a 1” plate, I’d definitely buy it! *hint-hint *

Also, if you’ve had any other ideas on the vise stand design, please do share! I’m still very open to suggestions and thinking about ways to improve beyond the last design I shared above.

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For anyone wondering: After 6 months of HARD use on this vise, it is holding up flawlessly. Multiple times, I’ve used my 10lb sledge on a 24” handle (with full chooch swings) to beat large seized bolts into submission. The vise still looks brand new other than where my grinder bit it once. Oops.

The clamping force of this vise incredible. It’s easy to overdo it, so you (or the apprentice) really have to pay attention to not accidentally crush/deform whatever part you have in the jaws.

Speaking of Jaws, I really like the hardened steel jaws that came with the vise. The knurling on them have held up perfectly.
If you do get this vise, I would definitely recommend picking up a set of soft jaws too. Those are on my Christmas list :slight_smile:

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@ImEngineer PLEASE video record yourself hammering something in the vise. I’d like to see it. I’m sure others would to. Ill put it up on the website. Jason

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Much bigger than I was expecting. Thing is huge. I compressed a 2x to less than 1" without trying very hard. Probably could get it down to 3/4". Only mod I would suggest (if able) is to blend the area below the fixed jaw so the vertical clamping can have more jaw area. Would be able to move items in farther into the jaws.

Good morning guys, my name is Albert, I’m from the Netherlands, I am a blacksmith and purchased the vise last October true Fireball tool Europe. Due to a lot of business I had no time to unbox the vise, until today!!
I’m surprised by the dimension of the vise in real life! Looks like a beast!
I’m planning to built a stand for the vise, something like this:


I will keep you updated about the vise stand.
Kind regards from the blacksmith shop!

Looks great. What’s the stiffer for on the back of the post for?

@Fireball_Jason

Aero.

:rofl:

I do believe thats called adding some cool factor or Adding some flare.

Thanks! I’m planning some support for all my hammers, like this:

Then I have a clear view of my hammers instead of this:

You using that cross peen hammer for some forging work? I just recently got a Mr Volcano 2 burner forge and a couple tongs and hammers to add some light blacksmithing to the list of hobbies.

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yep! I made my hobby my business :slight_smile: