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Thread: Moxon Vise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Ft. Wayne, IN
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    Moxon Vise

    Ok, here I am once again humbly asking for advice and opinions.

    I am planning on getting a Moxon Style Vise. Benchcrafted makes one that has received rave reviews. However, Tools for Working Wood has one as well and, on the surface, it appears to have a few improvements over the Benchcrafted design.

    Ah, and there lies my dilemma. Does anyone have any experience with both designs or even strong feelings about a particular one. For that matter, am I overlooking some other alternative?

    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Stew
    "I've cut the dang thing three times and it's STILL too darn short"
    Name withheld to protect the guilty

    Stew Hagerty

  2. #2
    I've used the Tools for Working Wood one at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop (manufacturer) and own one. I can attest that the improvements you note, cambered jaw, adjustable handles, shelf, do make for easier operation than the Bench on Bench (which I've also used). While I can't definitively compare to Benchcrafted's offering, noticeably it costs much more and appears to have much larger wheels and front jaw. This means that the handwheels and jaw could get in the way of your sawing unless they are spaced farther apart and the jaw is chamfered.

    The TFWW Moxon just seems smarter, and half the price. It's sort of a no-brainer. Unless the glitziness or option of making a Moxon out of some fancy 8/4 you've been stashing is a factor I think the high level of functional refinement wins.
    Trevor Walsh
    TWDesignShop

  3. #3
    I thought about this for some time, and now I am in the middle of building a Moxon vise using press screws, scrap suede from Benchcrafted (they do not guarantee that you can make a Moxon with the scrap) and some 8/4 maple. Total cost including wood should be around $60. Could not persuade myself that spending $100+ more would really yield much better result. You could always build it, and if you hate it give it away and buy an expensive one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    I agree with the "build it yourself" idea. It isn't much work to make it yourself. You can even buy a thread box and tap set and have wooden screws for it. Make 3, keep 1, sell the other 2 and come out ahead.

    My .02

    Jeff

  5. #5
    For the lazy and cheap like me, Benchcrafted also offers a free PDF with plans for both plain and bench-on-bench version. Almost no modification is needed to build it with press screws.

  6. #6
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    I can't speak to the Tools for Working Wood model as I bought the Benchcrafted hardware long before it was available. Based on cost, I'd probably opt for the more inexpensive one, but that said, I wouldn't part with the one I have.

    I have incorporated the Benchcrafted hardware as a full width tail vise (twin screw) and am extremely happy with the smooth gliding the beef of the screws. Much like the video, I simply set the right wheel to the thickness of the wood, open the left one a bit more, slide the wood in and just give the left wheel a slight twist and the wood locks up tighter than a drum. I also put two dog holes in the chop lined up with my two rows on the bench and now have the ability to adjust the dogs for a secure lock up.

  7. #7
    " For that matter, am I overlooking some other alternative? " Build your own...A couple hours and you get what you want,Moxon vise complete1.jpg not what someone else thinks you need. And you get to keep your money and do a little woodworking to boot.
    roy griggs
    roygriggs@valornet.com

  8. #8
    I am a big fan of the Benchcrafted hardware, and this includes the Moxon screws, and a big fan of anything that comes out of the TFWW stable. The Moxon is such a simple and easy to build tool that I believe you cannot go wrong whatever you do - buy or build your own. When it comes to design, however, I have some ideas that may conflict ...

    The original article on my Moxon build is here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...etailVise.html

    I have cut a LOT of dovetails in the past 6 months especially, and this has provided the opportunity to clarify some ideas about the Moxon. Here are a couple of design considerations.

    First off, I think it is a big mistake bevelling the Moxon chop, as suggested in one of Chris Schwarz' blogs. This has been copied now by many.

    I struggle to see the reasoning in this bevel. It is a bad move.

    I think that it is to make space to hold the saw more vertically (so as to follow two lines at once). But if you need to do this it says that your board is probably too low in the vise, or the vise is too low for your bench.

    The flat edge of the front chop is a valuable guide when clearing out waste with a chisel. If you bevel it, you will lose the reference surface.

    Here I am use mine this way ..



    Lift the height of a board when sawing. It should not vibrate if thick enough ..



    Nice clean, level floors ..




    Secondly, I think that you may add a problem if you add a bench behind the Moxon vise, as popularised in the BC plan.


    In addition to sawing, the Moxon is used for transferring the tails to the pin board. To avoid slicing up the chop with a marking knife, the pin board needs to be raised up at least 1/2" above the chop. A bench behind the chop will place the boards in line with the top of the chop. Goodbye chop ...



    To make raising the board easier and secure, the tail board needs to be supported at this height. One of the fixtures I introduced some while ago was the "I-beam", which has sandpaper as non-slip on both sides...



    There are details here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...etailVise.html

    To set the pin board at the ideal height, one needs a suitable spacer (of, say, 1/2") ...





    I got tired of putting the spacer in a safe place, so I attached it with hingers ..



    It folds out of the way when not in use ...



    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 04-20-2012 at 2:03 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dorn View Post
    I have incorporated the Benchcrafted hardware as a full width tail vise (twin screw) and am extremely happy with the smooth gliding the beef of the screws. Much like the video, I simply set the right wheel to the thickness of the wood, open the left one a bit more, slide the wood in and just give the left wheel a slight twist and the wood locks up tighter than a drum. I also put two dog holes in the chop lined up with my two rows on the bench and now have the ability to adjust the dogs for a secure lock up.
    How do you deal with vertical racking, when using dog holes on Moxon?

  10. #10
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    North Plains (Portland), OR
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    Thank you, Derek. Very useful post. I love both your vise and your I-beam.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Milisavljevic View Post
    How do you deal with vertical racking, when using dog holes on Moxon?
    There isn't so much slop in the front vise that it's a big problem, but I did find that it happened. I just adjust to where I would normally tighten and push a wedge in from the bottom and then tighten - no vertical racking. I'll admit that initially, I wasn't crazy about the idea, but it's so simple and fast that I don't really think about it much. The majority of time however, I plane using stops.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2007
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    Derek makes some good points. However... If your workbench is built low enough for hand plane work, you may find it too low for some other task. If so then you may benefit from having a bench-on-bench (bob). The higher work surface is more comfortable at times. If you want to raise your pin board to mark use a spacer as he mentions. Using the moxon vise strictly for sawing and marking dovetails is OK, but I try to avoid single use items if I can.
    There are several bob builds here at SMC and on various individual blogs. Steve Branam's blog "Close Grain" was my inspiration, except I used some power tools where Steve is strictly powerless (pun intended). As far as hardware goes, BenchCrafted and TFWW are both excellent. If $ is a big factor there are bench or veneer screws available from many sources.
    Last edited by Paul Saffold; 04-20-2012 at 8:59 AM. Reason: spelling


  13. #13
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    Apr 2010
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    Wow, Derek Thank you for your post. You.ve given me some very useful ideas. Unfortunately I don't have a lathe so making my own screws and dowels for the handles just isn't going to work for me. Although the BC hardware used with your design would be a viable alternative. Or... For that matter, I could buy the TFWW model and the add your I-beam and flip-up spacer. I guess I'm still torn.
    "I've cut the dang thing three times and it's STILL too darn short"
    Name withheld to protect the guilty

    Stew Hagerty

  14. #14
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    Anchorage, Alaska, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Hagerty View Post
    Wow, Derek Thank you for your post. You.ve given me some very useful ideas. Unfortunately I don't have a lathe so making my own screws and dowels for the handles just isn't going to work for me. Although the BC hardware used with your design would be a viable alternative. Or... For that matter, I could buy the TFWW model and the add your I-beam and flip-up spacer. I guess I'm still torn.
    I have done something similar to what you described. After looking at various designs, including the Benchcrafted, TFWW, and Derek's, I built my vise incorporating features of several and some of Derek's additions. I liked the double handwheel design of the Benchcrafted, though the TFWW hardware also has some nice design features. And, while I think the Benchcrafted hardware would be virtually impossible to beat in quality, I elected to order an Acme thread screw and a couple of zinc handwheels rather than the Benchcrafted hardware.

    I got a 1"x3' 4TPI Acme thread screw for under $40 (actually $27) , nuts for about $8 each, and the 6" handwheels for under $10 each (actually $27.62 each - bad memory) . I lined the front jaw with leather, which I consider essential, and which is part of a piece I bought here locally in Anchorage from a scrap pile for $15. The vise is built of Canarywood, which I bought for another project but ended up not using. In total my vise cost maybe $100 and a little time, which I enjoyed. I've got enough screw, wood, and leather left over to make another vise so a vise could be made with a shorter (2') and smaller (3/4") screw for significantly less.

    I did not like the Benchcrafted design and felt that both the TFWW and Derek's were superior in getting the clamps out of the way. My vise leans more towards the TFWW in terms of using 8/4 rear jaw with an 8/4 small shelf attached behind the rear jaw with a 4/4 front jaw. In retrospect I would more closely follow Derek's design with a larger base and better clamping area but still use 8/4 wood for the rear jaw. I also found clamping work to my small shelf behind the rear jaw (ala TFWW design) to be less than satisfactory and built the auxiliary I-beam fixture following Derek's lead. It improves useability significantly and raises the work @ 5/8" above the top of the vise jaws which, as Derek has pointed out, avoids scarring of the vise jaws while markiing out dovetails. I did not and would not recommend chamfering the front jaw for all the reasons Derek noted.

    The 1" 4TPI screw provides quicker adjustment than the 3/4" 8TPI screw used by Benchcrafted. My cheap handwheels work just fine but are not as elegant as the Benchcrafted hardware. While I like the 8/4 rear jaw I find the 4/4 front jaw to provide all the clamping power I need though there is some flex in the jaw, which is to be expected with the heavy hardware I used. I could probably snap an 8/4 front jaw with it if I wanted to crank it down with the power provided with the 1" screws and I'm sure I could bend heavy steel if necessary. The Canarywood is more than sufficiently hard and stiff enough for this use. And, it has a unique and very pleasant aroma when being worked.

    Overall, were I to build another vise I'd happily use the hardware and wood I used on this one but more closely follow Derek's design, particularly the larger base which will make the vise sit quite solidly on the bench - more solidly than any of the other designs I've seen. The I-beam support fixture is similarly a splendid idea.

    One of the things I did not care for on the Benchcrafted design is that the screw is fixed and the wheel travels on the screw leaving the screw in your way. I preferred having the screw travel through a fixed nut let into the rear jaw so that the screw is out of the way of your work and your maximum capacity can be increased without leaving an exposed screw.

    The attachment of the wheels to the screw in the wheels I bought is very simple - the screw fits into a recess in the back of the wheel and a hex nut is tightened onto the screw. It is quite solid. I considered drilliing and threading a second hole into the handwheel to provide for offsetting hex screws - one on each side of the screw at 180 degrees but found it to be unnecessary. There are a number of different types of wheels available and the selection is larger if you are williing to use a smaller screw or even a 1" screw with even a slightly higher pitch such as 6-8 TPI.

    I ordered my hardware from:
    lead screw and hex nut: https://www.surpluscenter.com/Item.a...m=1-2983-100-3
    handwheels: http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/118/2230/=h6wd0d

    The handwheels were more expensive than I remembered $27.62 each.

    Moxon Vise 2.jpgMoxon Vise.jpg
    Last edited by Russ Webb; 04-20-2012 at 3:52 PM. Reason: Add additionl information in response to questions

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    It's really easy to make one with the press screws from LV. Mine works very well. Not that I'm dissing the high price hardware from Benchcrafted and TWW -- just too much $ for me. If you want I can send a photo.

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