Moxon Vise/Bench on Bench

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Project by Greg In Maryland posted 02-16-2014 12:46 AM 8451 views 24 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In May I am taking a class where I have to cut something like 120 dovetails in five days. I don’t think this is an easy task for anyone—whether they are experienced or not. To make my life easier and perhaps increase the chance for success, I built this Moxon vise and bench on bench platform.

The entire unit is made of hard maple. The chops were 8/4 maple jointed/planned down to 1 3/4 inch. The platform was 4/4 maple jointed/planned down to 7/8 inch (or so) and then laminated. It is about 1 1/4 inch thick. Overall the platform is 33 inches wide by 21 1/2 inches deep and is 5 3/4 above the bench.

The finish is an oil/varnish mixture described on the Wood Whisperer’s forum: link. Cliff notes version, it is 1/3 Pratt & Lambert 38 Varnish, 1/3 Pure Tung Oil and 1/3 Mineral spirits. I combined the ingredients, mixed up and liberally applied it with a foam brush. After a few minutes I wiped it off and ta-da it’s finished! Because of the oil there is a slight yellowing, but not much. It has dried nicely and I am pleased with the process. It is easy and pretty idiot proof. For how I intend to use the appliance, it should be plenty durable. I used this finish on all the parts except the inside face of the fixed chop.

The vise pretty much follows the standard outline using BenchCrafted hardware and plan, except for a few enhancements:

The first is I added some ‘tabs’ on the end of the vise for the clamp and a 1/4 round cutout. I first saw these in CL10’s build: link and subsequently read that using a 1/4 round strengthens the transition. I like the way it looks and works, and would not hesitate to recommend this approach.

The second is that I made it 25 3/4 inches between the screws. I anticipate building a 24 inch chest, so this gives me a bit of wiggle room.

The third and biggest is that I made a ‘portable’ bench on bench platform. The platform is 33×21 1/2 inches and attached to the Moxon Vise via four bolts.

The bolts are countersunk and screw into a coupling nut: link and there are screws from the bottom ensuring that the coupling nut doesn’t go anywhere.

On the back there is a cleat to which the coupling nut is screwed into

I drilled holes for each nut and then smashed them in with a hammer (I only missed twice). By the time I was done, it was apparent that I did not need the bottom bolt. The fit was so tight that the nuts are not going anywhere.

The platform is simply held up with a scrap piece of wood placed under the back.

The point of making the platform detachable is so that I can easily store and transport it to my class. Most likely I will attach some sort of handle to the platform portion so I can carry it with one hand.

Finally, the BenchCrafted plans: link suggests that a mortise should be cut for the nut in the fixed chop. That seemed like a bunch of work to me and instead I drilled a slightly smaller hole and used the two nuts to screw the nut into the fixed chop. It worked perfectly and it isn’t budging at all.

Here is the requisite semi-action shot

Thanks for looking!


14 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5098 days

#1 posted 02-16-2014 01:07 AM

Nice one Greg.
I want to build one of these so badly. Thanks for the inspiration.

Very nice build,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PioneerRob's profile


47 posts in 2828 days

#2 posted 02-16-2014 01:42 AM


I have the problem of a non-functioning table saw in the middle of my shop, and no bench yet. Although a roubo workbench is high on my priority list, I just won’t have the time, tools, or money to make one in the next long while. This is a great idea, and should be relatively easier approach to fill the void.

-- Rob, Ontario

View Oldtool's profile


3309 posts in 3407 days

#3 posted 02-16-2014 01:43 AM

Nice work on this vise. Now start practicing your dovetails. Have fun.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3087 days

#4 posted 02-16-2014 02:22 AM

Pretty sweet, the benchcrafted kit is on my wishlist…

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4249 days

#5 posted 02-16-2014 03:18 AM

Very Nice indeed Greg! Thanks For Sharing!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View CL810's profile


4167 posts in 4204 days

#6 posted 02-16-2014 03:18 AM

Well done Greg. I really like the detachable platform.

Have you given any thought to an additional set of holes so you could move one the screws closer to the other? Say, 10” closer so there’s a 15” spread instead of 25”? Mine is 21.5” and there are times when I wonder if it would work smoother if closer.

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

View JayT's profile


6430 posts in 3427 days

#7 posted 02-16-2014 04:27 AM

Nicely done, Greg. You’ll get a lot of good use out of it. I’m constantly using mine and don’t know what I would do without it.

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

View CJay's profile


133 posts in 4447 days

#8 posted 02-16-2014 09:49 AM

Fantastic. By some strange coincidence i added something like this to my dream workshop list only yesterday. I love the look of the Benchcrafted stuff, i wish they had a UK outlet.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - -

View Andygulfcoast's profile


30 posts in 3053 days

#9 posted 02-16-2014 12:41 PM


One question, though. How much does that weigh? Can you lift it by yourself?

-- Hobbyist woodworker. My garage shop now shares space with my kids toys, and most of my equipment is stored on shelves.

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5039 days

#10 posted 02-16-2014 05:24 PM

Great blog on this unit, it should inspirer plenty to take the plunge. I build one similar a couple years back, its a handy unit. Enjoy your new workmate….BC

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3883 days

#11 posted 02-16-2014 10:41 PM

That is a helper that anyone can use no matter what kind of bench .
Great looking Moxon Vise and the portable feature is a great idea ,have fun with this at the class .
You will be the envy in the class .

-- Kiefer

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

556 posts in 4214 days

#12 posted 02-17-2014 11:36 PM

Thanks for all the kind comments.

Andy, I am not sure how much it weighs, but each component should be easily carried. As I mentioned in my post, I am going to put a handle on the platform so I can carry it with one hand. Otherwise, trying to get my arms around a 33×21 1/2 inch somewhat heavy object is a bit difficult. The vise portion is very portable

Keifer, I suspect that any envy of my classmates will completely evaporate once they evaluate my dovetails :). I have far too many tools and far few skills to really be envied. I wish it were the opposite.


View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4305 days

#13 posted 02-19-2014 12:52 PM

Wauuu Greg.
It’s a beauty.
Lovely extension to the work bench.
Best thoughts,

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

View dakotawood's profile


211 posts in 3999 days

#14 posted 03-19-2015 11:04 PM

Favorited! Love the idea. Never thought of or seen that before. Would be a great upgrade to my bench, without having to scratch my bench entirely. Might have to add it to the arsenal some day.

-- Travis, South Dakota

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