Craftsman 6" bench vise quality?

Hi. I’m new here.

I just received a 6" bench vise from my father-in-law for Christmas. It’s model 51856 and I think you can see it here:

I haven’t found any detailed specs on it.

I know nothing about vises, but in doing a bit of research on it this morning, a see people complaining about low quality asian imports. There was the recommended Craftsman “pro” vise listed here a few years ago but that was discontinued:

So my question is: do you think this is an okay vise for general use?

Or should I consider returning it and pay up a bit for something of higher quality? I see people talking about grabbing old American-made vises on craigslist and such, but realistically, I probably won’t spend the time to search for them right now (just other priorities). I did find this “Colombian” one that’s roughly in my area:
portland craigslist item 5907633006 (limited in # of links I can have because I’m a new user).

I do prefer to not own Chinese-made stuff, when possible. It sounds like a new American-made vise is going to run 4 or 5x what this one probably cost though, so maybe it’s out of range anyway.

Any thoughts?

Realistically that’s not too shabby, I’d keep it myself, I have a Japanese made Fuller vise, I like it but it the base turns oddly. I’ve considered replacing it with that same model you have, but if it ain’t broke…

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A quick look on the Internet says it bears the UPC 019907870128

Looking up the owner that GTIN suggests that it comes to Sears - Craftsman by way of JPW Industries (Jet, Powermatic, Wilton etc.) - and I would suspect produced under their Wilton Vise Brand.

Wilton still has a good reputation so maybe its worth holding onto it and giving it a try to see if it meets you needs. I have several old Wilton woodworking vises, an old Columbian Vise and an old Starrett Athol vise. I would not trade any of them in on a new vise. Replacement jaws for my Starrett 926 probably cost more than this Craftsman vise - and the Craftsman adds the versatility of have pipe jaws. If you plan to put it in your Blacksmith Shop and start “whaling on it” with a sledge - then you might want something beefier. If you plan to do only woodworking - then look to a dedicated woodworking vise - to which you can add large maple faces. Otherwise maybe just do a quick test. See if the jaws line up parallel to each other, if the acme screw is smooth operating and if the body castings look good (hard to tell about internal flaws.and stresses)

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Thanks for the input. I think I will keep it then.

Fred, thanks for finding that info on the UPC. So it looks suspiciously similar to this Wilton model:

Both are 30k PSI. Dimensions look the same. Both are from China AFAICT. The box says the Craftsman has 270 degree rotation but it says 180 on the website (Wilton says 180)

The main complaints I’ve seen about the Craftsman is that due to the single bolt, it can be difficult to keep totally steady (a bit of play in rotation). And that Sears offers no replacement parts. But I’m thinking the Wilton parts would likely work.

Fred, how did you find the UPC? You just Googled for “Craftsman 51856 UPC”? (which does bring the UPC up for me). Nice trick to know.

There are many “house brands” that get slapped on tools by retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Walmart et. al.

Some house brands include:

Home Depot Uses : CE Tech, HDX, Husky, Rockforge, and Workforce.

Lowes Uses: Blue Hawk, Duraworx, Kobalt, Precise Fit, Task Force, and Utilitech

Sears Uses: Craftsman and Benchtop

Some other well-known brands may be cross-licensed and/or have their brand names on tools from different OEMs. I’ve seen the Skil brand name on hand tools (mostly gimmicky ones IMO) where the OEM was Iron Bridge Tools – not the brand name owner (was Bosch – now sold to Chervon)

Home Depot also may have a cross-licensing agreement with Emerson to put the Ridgid name on some tools that neither come from TTI (most Ridgid-branded cordless tools) nor from Emerson’s Ridge Tool Company. So HD sells shovels made by Ames under the Ridgid brand, “Ridgid Brand” extension cords made by Cerro Wire, and Ridgid hole saws made by R.A.F. Industries (Blu-Mol / Disston). These cross-licensing agreements may also let HD change the OEM as they see fit - so two different Ridgid shovels may come from different OEM;s

Some of these house brand or cross-licensed tools that have different OEMs may and should bear a unique GTIN (I think it is an acronym for Global Trade Identifier Number) My first step (not always successful) for trying to figure out the OEM of a house-brand or cross-brand tool is to first see if I can identify the UPC (GTIN-12) or EAN (GTIN-13)number.

So try to find the barcode – usually easy if you have the original package in front of you at home or in the store. Or if no package – try your search engine with the tool’s brand name and part number in your search.

Knowing that the first 6 numbers of the barcode typically are used to identify the GTIN owner, I try to use a resource to look up that owner – searching by GTIN:

Sometimes you get right to the OEM. Other times the GTIN may be owned by an importer or wholesaler. Still other times the barcode may be a bit fictitious (not to cast aspersions) having been originally owned by companies that are now out of business and been picked up by others possibly to avoid having to pay money to legitimize their company-code. Still other times the UPC/EAN may just have been made up, or slapped on for in-house use only - having a good (last) check digit but not much else that is good (at least not of use in identifying the OEM.) If you Google “Fake UPC Codes” you will see more on this issue.

Central Purchasing LLC. (Harbor Freight) - is IMO - in a class by itself as far as the number of different brand names. They use brand names that include: Cen-Tech, Central Forge, Central Hydraulics, Central Machinery, Central Pneumatics (Earthquake and Pro variants too), Chicago Electric (Power Tools and Welding). Diamond Life, Drill Master, Gordon (Flashlights), Harbor Freight, HFT, Lifetime Carbide, Pittsburgh (Automotive and Pro variants too), Storehouse, Voyager, Western Safety, and Windsor Design. Some of these seem to me to be homonyms - or close cousins of some other brands - or bear brand names that seem associated with a North American Market. One example is HF’s “Chicago Electric” brand compared to Atlas Copco’s “Chicago Pneumatic” brand. Since they (the Central Purchasing brands) all seem (my random checking) bear the same UPC company code prefix (792363) - you can not tell from which of the various (mostly Asian) OEM’s they might have come from.

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Wow, never new the cross-branding was so involved. Thanks for the details.