Dovetailing Jigs, Moxon Vise and Shooting Boards

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Project by MrWolfe posted 06-07-2019 03:54 AM 2067 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am transitioning from power tools to hand tools. I will end up being one of those hybrid woodworkers that uses both power tools and hand tools on any given project. However, I wanted to learn how to cut dovetails by hand and these jigs and vise have really helped me tremedously. That and changing the bevels on some of my chisels and getting some others ones too. I spent a long time polishing the backs, changing the primary bevels, grinding and sharpening my old chisels… turned a few into fishtail chisels too. All that has eliminated that chopped out, tearing/crushing woodfibers in my dovetails.

Moxon Vise
I used the Gold’s Gym threaded rods on this build. It has 12 inches between the screws and is 20 inches by 24 inches. It sits on either my bench or my assembly table/tablesaw. It is about 6 inches tall and I have a lower sunken section of my shop. If I set it up close to that area then the vise is 46 inches tall on risers that add another 4 inches in height and I can take a quick step back and it is about 56 inches tall… ALMOST EYE LEVEL! I love working this tall.

Shooting Board
Standard shooting board but I put a miter slot in it so I can use a miter gauge and shoot just about any angle. It can be flipped upside down and the hook has miter box type cuts that allow very accurate and quick cuts with my japanese pull saw, 45 degree cuts, both left and right and also diagonal as well as a straight/90 degree cut.

Miter Shooting Board
This sits on top of the shooting board or can clamp on the side of any work surface. It has a track that the plane rides in that cuts accurate 45 degree miters. It can be used left handed or right handed and I put a 3/4 oak dowel across the width that allows me to use wooden wedges as clamps to hold down slippery boards.

Thickness Shooting Board
This has adjustable rails. It is easy to set the height/thickness by loosening the bolts in the threaded inserts and raising or lowering the rail then tightening the bolts. The plane rides on these rails and the stop at the end is also adjustable. I am using this to plane down very thin and small pieces for my boxes and for the inserts in the lids.

Custom Mallet
I’ve just finished this tonight, well, its doesn’t have a finish yet. It is mesquite and oak and the mesquite handle keeps staining my hands purple so tomorrow it will get some BLO and then later some Johnsons Paste Wax.
BTW….. Lemon juice cleaned up my stained hands very quickly and will do that with other woods that stain skin. Just wish I hadn’t had so many little chisel slices on my fingers.

I found the ideas for all of these jigs on this site and on youtube. Some of them I have tweaked a little where I saw room for improvement. All of them are works in progress in that I keep changing little features of them as I go along. These jigs have really made dovetailing a blast. I almost gave up after my first few joints but now I am very excited about hand work.

Maybe I should have made a post for each item but these are all jigs that I am using to make hand cut dovetails boxes.
I may add a pic or two of the boxes even though I am just starting out. I’ve made about 6 in the last month.
Thanks for looking.
Mr Wolfe

10 comments so far

View therealSteveN's profile


6264 posts in 1426 days

#1 posted 06-07-2019 07:43 AM

Nice jigs for your hand tools. That Moxon will change your world. I never understood bench height, especially with how it pertains to DT’s. I like that right in my face height. Less strain on your eyes and back.

Enjoy being blended

-- Think safe, be safe

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5861 posts in 1434 days

#2 posted 06-07-2019 10:35 AM

Nice tools!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)


1067 posts in 975 days

#3 posted 06-07-2019 01:16 PM

Thanks guys!
Yes, Steven, I played around with where to set up my Moxon and what height it would be and eye level is amazing. I can’t stress enough how much that really works for me. I seem to be making equal amounts of jigs and boxes at the moment. Make a box, make a jig, make another box, make another jig.
I enjoy making tools though.

View swirt's profile


5467 posts in 3823 days

#4 posted 06-07-2019 02:07 PM

Wow! A very impressive collection of hand tool devices. I really like you shooting board design. You included some clever features.

-- Galootish log blog,

View kennymac's profile


45 posts in 2057 days

#5 posted 06-07-2019 02:08 PM

Nice work Mr. Wolfe! No criticism here but I’m wondering why you beveled the face of the moxon vise, I would think that would weaken the strength of those dog holes you placed on the face. And I can’t think of a circumstance where you would need to have that shallow approach angle for your chisel to a piece in the vise. That said I love the tools, I think I am interested in the same sort of journey. Nice job on the shooting boards, I need to make myself some of those.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9655 posts in 3180 days

#6 posted 06-07-2019 03:51 PM

Very cool. precision and repeatable….

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)


1067 posts in 975 days

#7 posted 06-07-2019 04:30 PM

Thanks everyone!
Precision and repeatable is great for the small work I am doing now. Kennymac, I had seen that bevel on a few vise chops on the internet and I wasn’t too sure about it either. It is great for using a handsaw while cutting the dovetails though. It allows me to set the board deep into the vise and then cut the tails or pins. Somewhere in the process I end up cutting at an angle and that bevel keeps me from sawing into the vise face. I set the work piece low in the chops to prevent chatter when I am sawing. I do most of the chisel work on the vise top. I am using those Amour holding clamps to hold the board down while I chop.

I wasn’t sure about that bevel but I am sure glad I put it in.

View therealSteveN's profile


6264 posts in 1426 days

#8 posted 06-08-2019 02:55 AM

I’ve always heard beveled is a better approach to the saw. Usually you are somewhat slanted starting your cut. Early Moxon makers often reported that beautiful piece of wood they put in for the face chop, was picking up saw marks. Bevel solved that. For those using dog holes, many make a thicker chop, so it will allow the bevel, and still be beefy enough for dogs.

Using a dogger like this one, you do not need a lot of meat, and get great face time with the stock.

Plus is you can easily make them with 2 dowels, and a solid stick of well prepped stock.

I like that clamp, is that one of the new Armor tool line? Looks like they are gonna make a dent in Kreg’s market share. They also have a few plane stops, similar to the LV link, just RED.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)


1067 posts in 975 days

#9 posted 06-08-2019 03:51 AM

Thanks Steven, that is what I am finding to with the bevel. I made a couple of those doggers/planing stops out of 3/4 inch oak dowels and a 1/4 inch strip of oak. They work surprisingly well especially when planing against them because they have such a low profile. They work to clamp a board between the dog holes on the chop and dog holes on the table top too. I also have a lot of those blue Kreg bench dogs that will work in any of the dog holes.
In the picture below you can see my assembly table (table saw), risers, the moxon and then you can see the sunken section of the floor. I just took a measurement and from the sunken floor to the vise top is 56 inches. I’m about 5’ 10” but that is plenty high for me!

The Amour clamps are great, quick and easy with a lot of holding power and I have the inline clamps too except I realized that I have the Craftsman version, basically the same but about half the price. Also I am kind of cheap so with craigslist, ebay, amazon warehouse and even the sears website I’ve found all those items for much less than retail. I am very very frugal.

Here are some pics from tonight showing some of the details we’ve been talking about.
Thanks for all the comments.

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)


1067 posts in 975 days

#10 posted 08-25-2019 12:04 AM

Quick Update…
This update is about the crap cast iron A.E. 8 inch holdfasts I had bought for all my benches. They never had enough flex in them to really bite down and hold any stock when I used them on the bench. I tried them out on both moxons I built and the full size work bench also and had the same issue. I’ve been using the Craftsman hold down clamps and inline clamps with good results. I’ve just bought some blacksmith crafted holdfasts and they are fantastic. Excellent holding strength and they work on all of my benches with 3/4 inch dogholes.

Great holdfasts and the same blacksmith has them on amazon too.

Here is a pic of the old cast iron crap ones next to the new blacksmithed ones.

and the new holdfast in action on the moxon.

If you have the cast iron ones and are having problems with them then I highly suggest the blacksmithed ones.
The dogholes on my benches are 3/4 inch and these holdfasts are 5/8th inch diameter.

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