Named after 17th-century woodworker and author
Joseph Moxon, this vise specializes in securely holding
wide boards. Two clamps provide even clamping pressure
across the whole board with no racking. Th e main feature
my version has that the original didn’t is a quick-release
mechanism (Fig. G and photo below).
Another benefit of the Moxon vise is its height. It
clamps to your bench’s top, so your work is at about chest
height. When you need to be close to your work, such as
when cutting dovetails, this is the vise to use.
Unlike the other vises, I used 1/2" instead of 3/4" pipe
clamps. Half-inch pipe clamps provide all the holding power
I need, and I saved a few bucks. The pipes are 12" long.
A good vise must be extremely stable. I made this one
extra-beefy, since it isn’t actually attached to a bench.
Using two thicknesses of 3/4" plywood allowed me to
make deep, strong, rabbeted dado joints without having
to actually cut dadoes.
To build the vise, glue up the front jaw pieces (A)
and set the assembly aside. Meanwhile, assemble the
top and bottom (B), including the buildup (C) and filler
(D) pieces. Use a plywood off cut as a spacer to create the
dadoes. Trim the front jaw to final size and round over
the outer edges if you wish.
Glue and screw the outer and inner sides (E and F) in
place. Turn the assembly upside down and position the
front jaw, rear jaw (G), rear jaw buildup (H), and guide
Mark and drill the front jaw holes using a drill press
and then reposition the front jaw on the assembly. Slide
the drill bit into the jaw’s holes to mark the hole centers
on the rear jaw. Mark and drill the rest of the jaw/guide
block assembly in the same manner. Finally, drill the
holes in the ends of the guide blocks (Fig. F).
Next, cut out the levers (K, Fig. E) and handle (L).
Mark the levers’ radii before drilling their holes. If you
drill the holes first, you won’t have a place to position
your compass for drawing the larger radius. Drill the
holes in the levers, cut the bridle joints, chamfer the handle
and glue the dowels (M) in the levers.
After the glue dries, slide the guide blocks onto the dowels
(do not glue) and screw the whole assembly in place.
Before attaching the bottom, assemble the vise as
you did the other vises, by removing the sliding heads
and inserting the pipes through the jaw assembly. Set
the push bar (N, Fig. H) in place and make sure the
sliding heads are oriented properly before screwing them
to the guide blocks. Th ere should be about 1/16" of play
between the push bar ends and the clamps’ clutch plates.
Adjust your push bar’s ends as needed to fit behind your
clamp’s clutch plates.
Install the push bar retainers (P) and test the handle’s operation.
Lastly, attach the bottom using glue and screws.
Fig. E: Lever
Fig. F: Guide Block End Hole
Fig. G: Exploded View
Fig. H: Push Bar End Taper