Moxon Bench Vise

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Project by CL810 posted 01-10-2014 01:52 AM 10774 views 25 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this joinery vise and small “bench top” with leftover maple from my bench build. The vise is 5” high and 25” wide. It is capable of holding wood 21.5” wide and 3.25” thick. I used 9” veneer screws with the nuts embedded in the back jaw (pic #5.) The work surface is 23” wide and 15” deep.

Since the front jaw of a moxon vise is typically heavily chamfered, I thought why waste that beautiful live edge. I’m happy with how it turned out but wonder if I should have darkened it with Watco’s dark walnut Danish oil instead of their natural Danish oil.

The finish was an initial coat of Zinsser’s Sealcoat sanding sealer (1 lb. cut dewaxed shellac.) I then sanded this more aggressively then you would normally a sealer. I originally planned to use just Danish oil for the finish. But on my test boards the oil created a “dirty” look to the maple. So I tempered the oil’s ability to penetrate the wood with the sealer. The aggressive sanding still allowed some oil to penetrate while still keeping the maple’s clean appearance.

The verdict is out, but looks grim, for the veneer screws. While they are a very low cost alternative to Benchcrafted’s hardware, they may not be stout enough. There is 3/32” vertical play in them. Addionally, the hand wheels are not smooth. You certainly cannot spin them like Benchcrafted’s hardware.

Thanks for looking!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

29 comments so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4095 posts in 3593 days

#1 posted 01-10-2014 01:55 AM

The live edge is pretty cool, Clayton. I’m glad you were able to save the edge. Nice job!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View chrisstef's profile


18140 posts in 4348 days

#2 posted 01-10-2014 02:03 AM

The live edge is very cool. Im also into the clamping points on either side. Great use of off cuts and extras too. I approve ;)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3353 days

#3 posted 01-10-2014 02:25 AM

A good fixture for your bench, the rounds tie it in well. Nice job.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3940 days

#4 posted 01-10-2014 02:34 AM

Looks really good.

View lysdexic's profile


5349 posts in 3964 days

#5 posted 01-10-2014 03:40 AM

Good call on the live edge.

How did you execute the little round overs?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View shipwright's profile


8781 posts in 4139 days

#6 posted 01-10-2014 05:27 AM

Nice addition to your bench Clayton. Too bad about the screws but I’m sure you will work something out and until you do, you have a serviceable moxon.
I have several of the veneer press screws and when used vertically for a press they are outstanding. I guess it’s just one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” situations.
Sometimes re-purposing works better than others.
On the bright side you are about half way to a good veneer press. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8594 posts in 3323 days

#7 posted 01-10-2014 05:47 AM

You’ve got some great taste in designs my friend. That thing is handsome.

Bummer about the veneer screws. If it helps any, the BC wheels definitely take some finesse to spin freely like the video. However, there’s no play, pretty solid.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View whitewulf's profile


456 posts in 4278 days

#8 posted 01-10-2014 07:26 AM

All is not lost,
You have plenty is room outboard and below the screws for “guide rods”. 1” thin wall tubing should reduce the slop in the screws.

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 3305 days

#9 posted 01-10-2014 08:40 AM

Live edge is a winner, no doubt.

I think the main reason for the vertical play is that screws are movable: you have to turn them to clamp the work. The BC setup does the opposite: screws are secured in the back jaw, front jaw moves on the screws back and force (there must be some play, but not much I guess), and the wheels give no play at all.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View JayT's profile


6451 posts in 3552 days

#10 posted 01-10-2014 12:22 PM

Looks great! Love the live edge. I think yuri has a pretty good explanation for the play. My benchtop vise setup has some sag, too, but it’s not that big of a problem, really, so I just deal with it. Most of the time you are using this, you are working with consistent thickness stock for that project, so the vise gets opened just enough to pull one board out and put another in. There’s never a need to spin the wheels/screws for fast changes.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4700 days

#11 posted 01-10-2014 01:22 PM

Nice job!! I’m curious about the slop in the screws. I have a couple of veneer press screws and I was going to use them for a quick and easy Moxon. The threaded rod from Jameel is 3/4” and the veneer press screws are 11/16. Would the 1/16” difference make that much of a difference? When you drilled the holes, what size hole did you drill?

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View bondogaposis's profile


6105 posts in 3692 days

#12 posted 01-10-2014 02:06 PM

Really nice vise, I’m sure if the veneer screws don’t pan out you’ll be able to come up w/ something else.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View terryR's profile


7698 posts in 3650 days

#13 posted 01-10-2014 02:33 PM

Awesome build, Clayton! I love the live edge, and the natural color of the Maple.

The little round overs near the hold downs…elegant touch!

And thanks for sharing your view of the veneer press screws…good to know…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 3519 days

#14 posted 01-10-2014 02:48 PM

Glad you kept that live edge. Looks awesome! I’m sure you will get the play sorted out in no time. Great job

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View WillliamMSP's profile


1162 posts in 2946 days

#15 posted 01-10-2014 02:57 PM

Very nice – love the live edge.

I third Yuri’s explanation on the sag and think that it explains the (relative) difficulty in adjusting, too – the weight of the front of the vise is essentially levering the screw against the top of the back threads of the nut and the bottom of the front threads of the nut (or the front edge of the bore hole, if play is sufficient), so it’s seeing a lot of friction at those two points. You can check this theory by lifting the front of the vice with one hand and spinning the cranks with the other – it should spin much more freely.

Guide rods, as suggested above, should help relieve the screws from some of that weight, but they’d need to be firmly anchored in the base and be able to slide through the front of the vice someplace that doesn’t interfere with you or the operation of the cranks.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

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