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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #108: Benchtop Moxon Vice

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Blog entry by retired_guru posted 02-19-2020 04:48 PM 505 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 107: Recovery Update Part 108 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 109: Using Drill Press Clamps in Workbench Dog Holes »

My latest addition is a portable benchtop Moxon vice, something I’ve had in my mind to do for some time. I based this build on Jay Bate’s Sliding Moxon design. Several changes were made to accommodate my needs and workspace limitations. Mine is several inches shorter, a half inch taller, uses 3/4” pipe and clamp fittings, and some other variations or changes made to improve upon his original design.

Here are some of the mods I made and realizations after having built the unit:

- In retrospect, the narrower width of the jaws in my build, compared to Jay’s, could have allowed for a reduction in number of 3/4” plywood planks used—from four (3” thick) to three (2-1/4” thick)—without sacrificing overall strength. No way these are going to flex with normal use, so retrospection doesn’t negate its value as-is.

- If I had to make this again, or something similar (i.e, thick laminated jaws), I would drill the holes in each plank, line them up in gluing together. I didn’t catch this until after I had laminated. What a PITA it was to drill 3” holes with my benchtop drill press!

- I didn’t bother chamfering the jaws for looks, as Jay did. Sure, it looks like it could hold a 2-ton car in its jaws, because of its massive block-like shape, but the proximity of the Yost jaws to the top edge of the front jaw left me unwilling to take a chance in looks-over-function.

- The rear cast iron clutches won’t sit flat against the rear jaw when clamping force isn’t applied, so I drilled a couple of holes in each and screwed to the jaw. This not only solved the problem, it reduced a fair amount of unwanted slop in the vice. Jay’s method was to use double-sided carpet take, which wouldn’t have stuck to the pine plywood face.

- Jay included an open box in his design, to maximize use of otherwise wasted space, as well as create a brace for the rear jaw. I added a lid made from scrap to keep sawdust and shavings out. The hinges came from a local dollar store. Yeah, way too flashy for such a build, but for a buck…got use them up.

- I settled on a three-point mounting method to the workbench: three slots, one on each side and one down the middle. For now I am using course threaded lag bolts as-is. In the future I will make up wood handles for each.

I wanted to be able to use this on more than one bench in my shop—hence the narrower width. I’ve shown it here on two of the benches it will spend most of its time on.

All I have left to do is apply some BLO.

If you are interested in building something similar, the cost for a pair of Yost 3/4” clamps is about $11.00 USD on Amazon. I paid about $10.00 USD for a 30” black pipe. Jay’s build was accomplished in a 48” x 48” sheet of 3/4” of Baltic Birch plywood. I used what I had, which was interior general use pine. The rest you should already have in your shop or can find at your local Big Box Store.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.



9 comments so far

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

3065 posts in 3073 days


#1 posted 02-19-2020 07:58 PM

That vice looks like it can handle anything you can throw at it Paul. Nicely done!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3906 posts in 3021 days


#2 posted 02-19-2020 08:49 PM

Well done, Paul. When the vice’s moving jaw is extended, or when it has a heavy item clamped in the jaw, is it tippy? It looks like the table to which it’s clamped is a little shallow, but it may just be the perspective of the last photo.

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

View Buck_Thorne's profile

Buck_Thorne

89 posts in 1841 days


#3 posted 02-19-2020 10:21 PM

Wow! Clamp up a piece of coal in that thing and sell the diamond that comes out! That thing is heavy duty!

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2129 days


#4 posted 02-20-2020 08:41 PM



That vice looks like it can handle anything you can throw at it Paul. Nicely done!!

- luv2learn

Thanks. I sure hope so! Looking forward to doing some joinery on it, as soon as I finish the workshop projects in progress.

- Paul

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2129 days


#5 posted 02-20-2020 08:49 PM



Well done, Paul. When the vice s moving jaw is extended, or when it has a heavy item clamped in the jaw, is it tippy? It looks like the table to which it s clamped is a little shallow, but it may just be the perspective of the last photo.

- Don Broussard

Thanks, Don.

The reason for your question, of course, with the exception of one older test picture, is I didn’t secure the vice to either of the benches when took these pictures. So yes, if I don’t bolt it to the bench it will tip over if I open up the vice while the jaws overhang the edge of the bench. The smaller bench already has threaded holes made to mount it in one of two positions. I still have to drill and thread the holes for the other one.

The shallowness you are addressing is just the way the pictures came out. On either bench I can slide it back and the hardware doesn’t overhang, and slide it forward to allow for a tall board to clamp in and touch the floor.

Having test secured it on the smaller bench I can tell you, without question, it is secure and you can put a lot of weight on the extended jaw without movement.

- Paul

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2129 days


#6 posted 02-20-2020 08:49 PM



Wow! Clamp up a piece of coal in that thing and sell the diamond that comes out! That thing is heavy duty!

- Buck_Thorne

Haha! If only! :D

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3906 posts in 3021 days


#7 posted 02-24-2020 03:36 AM

Thanks for the added information, Paul. I figured you had addressed any balance issues.

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

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2129 days


#8 posted 02-24-2020 03:51 AM



Thanks for the added information, Paul. I figured you had addressed any balance issues.

- Don Broussard

You’re most welcome, Don. Thanks for bringing it up.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View retired_guru's profile

retired_guru

838 posts in 2129 days


#9 posted 02-24-2020 03:57 AM

UPDATE

Earlier today I got around to making the threaded holes on the second bench, but this time added bees wax to the threads on the modified bolt (I make a long groove with a triangular file to make it into a tap) before cutting into the holes. I also added a little to each of the regular bolts. What a difference. Now when I use the mechanics speed wrench and 3/4” socket, the bolts zip in and out very fast. Only a light snugging down with the speed wrench makes the vice unmovable on the bench.

I haven’t gotten around to applying BLO. I’m may end up chamfering the forward most four edges of the front jaw.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

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