Joseph Moxon’s double-screw vise described in his 17th c. book "The Art of Joinery” was the genesis of all modern “Moxon” vises. Modern woodworkers have discovered the usefulness of a vise that brings work up to a more convenient height, particularly when working the ends of boards, as in dovetailing. Early modern versions feature a tapped rear jaw and screws of threaded wood. But modern threading tools for wood screws leave much to be desired, so we developed our Moxon vise using the same principles which guide the development of our other vises: smooth, effortless action.
The Benchcrafted Moxon Vise mounts to any workbench, raising your workpiece to a comfortable, ergonomic position and holding it rock solid. If you cut dovetails or other joints by hand, a Moxon vise will completely change your experience with these tasks. No longer do you need to strain your back when cutting dovetails at the lower height of your main bench. Fast and effortless, the Moxon vise makes joinery a pleasure.
The Moxon hardware uses the same precision rolled acme screws as our other vises. Like those vises, we’ve outfitted our Moxon vise with cast iron hand wheels for rapid, easy adjustment. However, we’ve changed things around a bit. Instead of the handwheel rotating the screws and being restricted by the weight of the movable jaw, we’ve fixed the screws to the vise itself (they don’t move) and tapped the handwheels, allowing them to spin in and out on the rigid screws. The mass of the wheels and the polished acme threads allows the handwheels to spin freely and do the work of drawing the jaws together effortlessly.
The vise mounts to any bench with holdfasts, between dogs, or held down by clamps. The rear stabilizer prevents the vise from vibrating under sawing forces, and provides a place to clamp the vise to your bench. The front, movable jaw hangs down a little lower than the rear, so when you set the vise onto your bench, the front jaw provides a stop for accurately positioning the vise onto the bench. The rear jaw's inside face automatically ends up flush with the front edge of your bench.
Operating the vise is easy. Setting one wheel for the workpiece thickness, the opposite wheel is massive enough to literally push the jaw to the workpiece and hold it there solidly with only a quick spin of the wheel. In most cases, that's all that’s necessary to hold the work. To remove the workpiece, simply loosen one handwheel and lift the workpiece out. Pulling back on the front jaw with the workpiece releases it.
The movable jaw is lined with Crubber for a tenacious grip, so you don't have to crank down on the handwheels to hold your work.
The jaws will open to a maximum of about 2 1/4". More than enough for this vise's purpose. You can build the vise to any width you choose. Many of our customers build two Moxon vises, using two sets of hardware. One with a smaller capacity, around 16" which is used for smaller chests and drawer sides. And one with 24" capacity between screws for full size chests and cabinet work. The smaller vise is lighter and easier to mount and store for these more frequent projects. Elongated holes in the movable chop allow the vise to hold tapered pieces with ease.
The Moxon hardware can be used to build a "bench on bench" Moxon vise. A work surface is added to the rear jaw to act as a separate bench top. It's the ideal bench accessory for cutting and marking out dovetails with its large work surface.
Another option is to permanently build a full-size Moxon into a dedicated joinery bench, which is taller than your main workbench. This eliminates the need to mount or store the vise. Generally, the height of the bench top should be about 4" below your elbow with your arm bent at 90 degrees.