Moxon Vise

I haven’t hand cut dovetails in a long while, but I have in the past and have a big project coming up that will require a lot of them. My front vise is useful, but not great at clamping wide boards. I bought a bunch of hardware from mcmaster carr before we moved to make my own. In digging around I found it again and decided to restart that project. This is 2+ year old hardware finally getting to see its use.

I thought I had a piece of maple saved for this, but I think I turned it into a wedding present. Not sure where this sample came from. It looks a bit like oak, but is very light. I don’t remember buying ash or white oak, but it has that kind of grain structure. Oh well, let’s get cutting. I ripped this piece in half and cut down a shorter piece to act as the front of the vise.

The hardware is a 3/4″ acme screw, a few nuts and a set of generic hand wheels that fit on the shafts. The hand wheels have set screws to keep them in place, so I ground flats on the threaded shafts to give them good purchase.

To hold this vice to my bench I cut down the sides to make it easier for clamps to get in there and hold. That will let me set this up on my bench at any spot that is convenient.

The shaft slides through the front and the back half of the vise. To have it clamp I will need to fix the nuts somehow. I took the spare cutoff from the front vise and set the nuts in to capture them. I traced the nut edges, used a forstner bit for the center area, and then chopped the rest with a chisel.

With the nut blocks screwed on, I covered everything in boiled linseed oil and then moved on to installing leather. Hide glue makes an excellent glue for leather to wood so I rough cut pieces, smeared on a thin layer of hide glue, then clamped the assembly hard to make sure the pieces dried flat.

Once the glue was set I trimmed the spare leather and leveled the top. It fits well across the end of my bench and is wide enough to hold an 18 inch board. That should keep me covered. When not in use, it can go on a shelf and be out of the way.

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