Monday, August 22, 2011

Benchcrafted Moxon Vise Kit - Build, Mod, Demos

Benchcrafted recently released a Moxon vise kit (also available fully assembled).  I've wanted a "joinery bench" for a long time, but never found hardware I liked so I jumped at this kit when it was first made available.  Nice stuff!

In this podcast, I'll show you the kit, go through the rather easy build of it, and point out a couple changes I made to the vise chops as well as a jig for helping out with drawers.  Lastly, I'll show you how it works since it can be a bit different; for example, using the portion to the outside of the rods means you set the thickness differently than if you use the middle portion.  I've set mine to use the outside for faster and easier work with drawers so it affects me.  Getting to use the vise for a stack of drawers will be the test of whether using the middle or outside is faster.

Oh, I reference "Jameel" in the video.  Jameel Abraham owns Benchcrafted and produced a launch video for this vise that completely enticed me.

I was going to show using it with a bird's mouth like you would when cutting, say, abalone for inlay.  Mounting a bird's mouth is pretty easy in any vise, but the benefit of this benchtop vise is that it gets the bird's mouth to a much better working height.

As an addendum to this entry, Chris Wong of FlairWoodworks (and a great blog) asked me if I thought of putting a horizontal vee-groove in the jaws for clamping rods horizontally.  I had thought about it at one time, but forgot the day of the build.  So consider that; but don't use the bandsaw! ha ha, use a vee-groove router bit or molding plane.  The beauty of this vise is that you can retrofit that groove by removing the threaded rods and plowing the groove on the fixed jaw.  The suede-covered jaw would be too difficult to retrofit, but you'd likely only need the groove on one side.

I did get to use the vise often this past weekend while simultaneously working on 3 other projects.  Definitely glad I got it.

As another addendum to readers from Jameel's nice blog posting about this video, I've already added another blog entry about using this for planing drawers based on my table and the extra outside space.  Might be more by the time you read this :)  If you want to find those entries quickly, look in the label list to the right and click on 'Benchcrafted'.


  • Jese said...


  • rmac said...

    Okay, I get why you wanted more room on the right hand side beyond the screw.

    What I don't get is, instead of moving the RH screw to the left and making provision to move the LH screw also, why didn't you just make the whole vise a few inches wider, with the extra width on the RH side beyond the screw? It looks like you had plenty of maple. :)

    -- Russ

  • Vic Hubbard said...

    I love that you work out all the jig attachments for me. I was planning on a Moxon. At first, I was thinking of a bi level bench. But...that'd kinda be a pita to. Great video!

  • HalfInchShy said...

    ha ha, good idea, Russ... actually those long boards were a 'score' while at the store. Rarely do they have rift-sawn 8/4 when I need it so I found those two with lots of rift-sawn legs on the outside so harvesting what I needed for the chops was tough!

    I also wanted to keep it to 36" total or less since I plan on storing it on the side of the assembly table; in fact, right below where it was in the video... there's a hanging shelf there that no longer gets used since I moved the assembly table so this would be perfect.

    I considered just simply using the screw offset on the left side, but then the outside left of the vice would be nearly useless... just 2.5" of grip.

    I likely over-thought it. :)

    Also, I forgot that I wanted to plow a vee-groove horizontally for holding round stock. I can still do that to the fixed chop. Chris Wong brought this idea up again today; beauty of this vice is that it is easily modified.

  • nateswoodworks said...

    Great video as always. I plan on building one some day when I get the time and thanks to you I think I will be making the time soon! One question though, what made you decide to make the benchtop for your moxon not go the full length? About a week ago I made a little jig like your L-shaped jig for squaring up drawer pieces and man do I wish I would have done it years ago!! Keep the great content coming!!

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Nate!

    When I made a sample box after making the vice and the jig, I thought a) it was so nice not to hunch over for the whole thing (felt funny actually) b) that squaring jig was the best 5-minute project I've done in awhile!

    I didn't make the back table full length for a couple reasons. I found that the table was long enough and wanted to cut down on the weight a little bit. Extending the table the full width would nearly double what it currently weighs and I do plan on hanging it on the side of the assembly table.

    If I later change my mind, it wouldn't be difficult to glue on another chunk of 'table'.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Glad to have been of service for ya, Vic :)

    In my previous comment, I mentioned wanting to make tables for Christmas gifts this year. I have a jig in mind that will use that 'jig mortise' and help greatly with holding legs while shaping. I'll post pictures here when I get there. Call it a poor-man's shaving horse for spokeshaving legs.

  • Shannon said...

    Excellent video! My kit is still in the box though, I did open it up and fondle the parts a bit. My dog carried one of the wheels around in his mouth for a bit too. Love the additional jigs and the idea to add clamping area outside the screws. You just complicated my day and I plan my joinery bench.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Shannon!
    I'm eager to see how your joinery bench comes out since you have infinitely more hand-tool expertise than I do (me? I can differentiate my hands from tools :)

    in your case, you haven't even built the vice yet you already had "houndstooth" in them :) Okay, that was bad... -groan-

  • rmac said...

    Man, from the looks of those wheels, I don't think I want to cross paths with Shannon's dog.

  • JimE said...


    Another great, useful vid. Where do you find the time to keep doing this kind of quality?

    The thing I really like best about your vids are you are always thinking outside the box and taking a jig, tool, etc to a new useful level.

    E TN

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Jim!

    Where do I find the time? In a word: insomnia :) It's just too hot to sleep in summer in Arizona. But that also means to hot to be out in the shop. There's a reason for the black shirts :)

  • RONWEN said...

    Absolutely excellent Paul -- as usual for you!

  • Morton said...

    Paul -- I've got my BC Moxon hardware ready to go and loved your video - definitely gave me some great ideas, or should I say "I'll take one of those too.". Awesome stuff. Thanks for working out my build for me! Can't wait to get to it.

    Love the Domino idea and the quick jig you made. Please keep those coming, especially as related to this vice/bench so I can see what you are finding most useful!

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Morton (and Ron!)

    I may plow a couple more Domino mortises as I have some other ideas I want to try out... when we aren't hitting 116ºF.

    If you didn't see it at the time, I've created a "Benchcrafted" category so you can see all the related posts in one click (find it in the labels section). Since the original post, I added a post about using the outboard side of the vice for drawers. Worked very very well for me.

  • Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the great video! Why is the front board 32" and the back 36" meaning could you make them both 36"?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    The front board is 32" mostly because the plans called for that with the back at 36". Had I changed the measurements, I would have left an open edge like that as well. For me, though, the 36" works perfectly for where I want to store it.

    If you remember the part of the video where the front board angles in because one wheel is tightened? If the front board was 36", you would hit the back chop after very little motion and need to move the other as well at that point. The difference in size keeps it that you can adjust one wheel easily without the other. Whether that's a showstopper, I dunno, but certainly it is nicer being able to manipulate the wheels independently for the most part. Also, you can clamp a tapered board horizontally a little easier for the same reasons.

  • Unknown said...

    Wow, another fantastic video, Paul. Thank you so much! I have ordered the Moxon vise hardware and will be fitting it to my wall-stabilised MFT3 table. What is the total height of the top of your Moxon vise?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hard to say, Unknown... the height depends on the bench I put it on. My assembly table has two accessible heights since there's a step in the garage floor by the table. So the assembly table surface is either 36" or 39" off the floor. The Moxon vice is 6" tall. My MFT is on a table that let me set the height level to a bench that's beside it; that height is 35".

    I used the Moxon all day yesterday doing drawer fronts for my bathroom vanity project series. I used it on the 36" side of the assembly table and it was very very comfortable for me.

  • Kristofer Bergstrom (previously Unknown) said...

    Hello Paul! That was just the info I needed. I've managed to stabilise my MFT3 sufficiently that I think it will work with the Moxon vise. Anxiously awaiting the kit. Best of luck with all your work, Paul, and thank you again for these wonderful videos! 勉強なっています!ありがとう!

  • HalfInchShy said...

    どういたしました ^_^ あなたも日本語は読み書きできますか? ぼくは長いあいだに日本語のどくがくしていました! 七年間くらいよ!

  • Lane said...

    Can someone help me with the layout? If i shift the right side holes to the left by 3 inches to give the 8 inch grab on the right side and then drill the two holes on the left side to accommodate the normal hole plus the one to allow for 24 inch for blanket chests on the 32 inch front piece the hole will almost be off the board. For some reason i cant wrap my head around what i am seeing wrong. If i remember correctly the holes on the 32 inch piece is 3 1/2 inches from the edge ..if i slide it over to allow for 2nd hole will only be 1/2 left.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Sorry for the delay, Lane... was pretty much passed out on the couch the past several days...

    The front chop of mine is 32.5" wide so I end up with a bit over 3/4" between the outside hole and the edge. Since the wheel applies pressure through the washer, it isn't the outside edge taking the load, although 3/4"x1.5" of hard maple could take a bit.

    I normally use it in the inside hole (one 3.5" from edge) and plan on moving it just when I need the capacity. Best thing about this vice, if you need to move a rod to a new place, you simply close the vice and drill a new hole.

    Actually, a friend sent me longer acme threaded rods to put in my vice. I thread the excess behind the back chop so the exposure up front isn't much more than usual, but when I want to clamp a drawer inside the vice, I can back out both acme rods and go. Super nice.

  • Todd said...

    Great Video! I really like the modifications that you did. About what size did you cut the two v-grooves? Also i dont have a domino so how could I set up a similar square jig?


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Todd,

    The V-grooves were just eyeballed on the bandsaw (I just wanted the cuts to meet :) One is about 1" wide by 1/4" deep. The other is about 1/2" wide by 1/4" deep. The wide one will be good for larger rounds while the smaller is great for brass rod that I like to use.

    As for a replacement to the Domino, for this application, you could easily place the jig on the table properly then drill through both with a 3/4" bit. You could then pin the jig there with a 3/4" dog you likely have lying around. If you use 20mm dogs, drill 20mm holes for the same reason. In the future when you want to make more jigs, just flip the "L" drawer jig upside down and use the existing hole as a guide to drill a new one.

    Or something like that :)

  • Anonymous said...

    thanks for the great video. i just got my moxon kit. Now that you have had it for almost a year is there anything you would do different before I start drilling and cutting?

    Why did you place the additional 3rd hole on the LH and not on the RH? It seems like the center of that hole is 1" from the LH edge of the movable chop, is that right?

    perhaps I am the one over-thinking it now.

    in any case great job! if you came up with any more gizmos for it - do tell


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Tim,

    About the only thing I would change, and it is awkward to retrofit, is to make the table a bit deeper (or use 4/4 stock for the back table support instead of an 8/4 offcut) and make the table thickness close to 18mm. I use and like Qwas Speed Dogs on my MFT table. If they would fit better on the table on the Moxon vise, I'd love using them for quickly pinching the drawer stock into place without true clamps for chiseling. This is a change I'd really make; Speed Dogs weren't created yet at that time.

    Otherwise, the whole thing is easily modified so don't sweat all the details as you would on some big ol' bench.

    I put the third hole on the left because I wanted to keep that extra expanse on the right for pinching drawer stock as described in the video. I wanted to avoid putting the third hole in that area since I may make more jigs, etc for the drawer side and didn't want the hole in the way. It's arbitrary.

    Have fun with it; you'll love the simplicity and versatility. You likely saw the other entry about popping it up on a French cleat by the back table. If not, give it a look. To me, that's a must have since storing it takes a lot of space unless you can pop it up like that easily.

  • Anonymous said...

    Hi Paul
    Was wondering did you use dominot as well as glue to mount your table to your vice?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    I probably used Dominos for alignment, Steve... much easier and it was out already. You wouldn't need to use them as that long-grain to long-grain joint is very strong on its own. But Dominos make assembly/alignment easier especially for stopping boards from skating while clamping.

  • S-curvy said...

    Paul, I've recently tapped into your series of videos after acquiring a Domizilla, and all of your videos are fantastic -- really amongst the best I've seen on YT! This may be because you cover the things I need covered in the right amount of detail, you film the useful stuff, and your sense of humor is enough like mine that how could I not like your vids, LOL.

    Your mods are useful and well thought out. Similar to the multiple applications for your mortised squaring jig mod, I can see adding mortises to the interior chop faces in order to locate and hold task specific chop liner faces. Another application might be to set multiple mortises in the top surfaces so that one could drop in 3 dominos that would grip the edges of round components held flat on top of the Moxon.

    ....And my mind wanders on....