Moxon Twin Screw Vise - Budget Version

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Project by Dallas posted 11-18-2011 04:47 AM 10315 views 25 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally broke down and decided to buy a real vise. Then, I remembered the Benchcrafted Moxon Vise.

The store had one, but I didn’t have $300 for something that excels at squeezing real tight. $83 and a new friend at Woodcraft later, I had a tap/thread kit, some 8/4 popular and a hardwood dowel.

I spent the better part of an hour planing down the cupped poplar (agonizing video here), followed by some vigorous headscratching with the tap and thread. I don’t have a lathe, so I just bought a 1.25” diameter maple dowel which is the diameter of the threader. You drill a 1.25” dole in the face piece even with a 1.125” hole in the back piece that is to be threaded. Use oil or paste wax to lubricate as you cut the threads.

The handles aren’t very romantic, but now I have more vise than I’ll ever need.

Dims: About 32” long, 24.5” of clamp width and 8” of extension. I added a cleat and use holdfasts to hold ‘er down. There are various ways to do this. I found using clamps on the back jaw wasn’t stable enough alone.

You don’t really HAVE to have a non-slip surface in the jaws, but it might help. A harder wood would prevent the slight bowing of the jaws when clamping narrower material. If I really go at it with the saw, it shakes lightly. Frankly, I use it as a reminder to let the saw do the work or sharpen for Pete’s sake.

I don’t necessarily think this is any better than a $250 twin screw vise (it doesn’t have a dog hole or anything), but I’d bet that I’ll revise statement after I have had to dovetail a 24” panel in wood I could afford with the money I saved.

This was a great project to practice:

- Drilling straight
- Chamfering
- Using paste wax (for the threads)
- rasping/filing down tight spaces and circular objects

Of course, I can say I made my vise. No one will ask if it was pretty or not.

-- If a tree falls in the neighbor's woods, and no one is there to hear it...can you take it home, mill it and turn it into a coffee table without your neighbor making a sound?

34 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4375 days

#1 posted 11-18-2011 06:36 AM

that looks like a really nice vise, Dallas!! Who cares if its cheap, as long as it works! Thanks for sharing

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View skipper55's profile


22 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 11-18-2011 10:19 AM

I need one of those
thanks for posting

-- live your dream , don't dream your life

View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4472 days

#3 posted 11-18-2011 11:58 AM

Nice work, looks great!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View mafe's profile


13404 posts in 4373 days

#4 posted 11-18-2011 12:04 PM

Dallas I think it looks really good, and a perfect match for your bench.
I have bought one of those taper sets, made the dowels and… This was a month ago… Now I need to kick my … soon and get to make it after seeing yours.

If you think its too it shaky I would suggest sawing of a inch or two of the top, then you will get the screws closer to the tension point I think that would make a difference, but ofcourse it will be a little lower.

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dallas's profile


73 posts in 4248 days

#5 posted 11-18-2011 03:08 PM

Hey Mads,

Great thought about shortening it. That would help the shaking.

I can see that now.


-- If a tree falls in the neighbor's woods, and no one is there to hear it...can you take it home, mill it and turn it into a coffee table without your neighbor making a sound?

View mafe's profile


13404 posts in 4373 days

#6 posted 11-18-2011 03:48 PM

Smiles, have a nice weekend.
(And do not blame me if it don’t work – lol).

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View chilimac's profile


29 posts in 4181 days

#7 posted 11-18-2011 04:00 PM

Nice set up and craftsmanship. Have drooled over all the various high-end vises in the catalogues, but sadly can’t afford them. I think this is a bit more my speed and price range, will definitely have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

What about drilling two holes in the back jaw, one each for the hold downs? That might transfer pressure directly to the back jaw instead of a kind of pivot point with the stabilizer that is currently being clamped.

-- Big discoveries don't go "Eureka!", they go "Huh. That's funny..." They just as frequently go *bang* and *woosh*...

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4360 days

#8 posted 11-18-2011 04:04 PM

I been wanting to build one of these for a while now. Very cool to see your handy work this morning to rekindle my urge to build it. I too considered getting a tap and die set but struggled even with the cost of that (I cant see me using it that much). I been considering making one out of large diameter All-Thread, but just cant seem to make up my mind.

Thank you very much for sharing this with us… Im going to definitely favorite this one so I can come back for notes… I like what you did…

P.S. Love the Bad Axe! Just recieved one as a gift from a very good friend. Got to be the coolest saw I have ever held in my hand… Two thumbs up IMO….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 3886 days

#9 posted 11-18-2011 04:27 PM

I love the look of this vise, I can see mounting at the end of a bench. Thanks for sharing.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View ChuckC's profile


847 posts in 4218 days

#10 posted 11-18-2011 04:40 PM

This is a great looking vise!

View tsangell's profile


216 posts in 3976 days

#11 posted 11-18-2011 06:46 PM

That is one Bad Axe you have there! Sweet vise.

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3759 days

#12 posted 11-18-2011 11:18 PM

What he said. I like it, thanks for showing the idea. I can afford this vice and still afford the project material to use it on, LOL.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4399 days

#13 posted 11-19-2011 12:28 AM

great job :-)

thankĀ“s for sharing


View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 4407 days

#14 posted 11-19-2011 02:07 AM

I’ve built these vises using maple for the jaws and they still flex under pressure. It just proves the point that you really don’t need to reef on those screws to hold a board in place.

-- Tony -

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 3764 days

#15 posted 11-19-2011 03:05 AM

I bet the Moxon vice will also bow the jaws under pressure. The way to improve that. would be to move the two screws closer together. Less than 1/3 the length of the jaws from the end, but probably more than 1/4. What you’re going for is roughly equal pressure over the full length. Too far apart and the center doesn’t get enough. Too close together and the center gets too much pressure and the ends don’t get enough. I’m sure there’s a formula for that but it’s been a long time since I went to school :)

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

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