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Quick Tip: Makeshift Moxon
By Randy Cordle

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I occasionally find myself wishing that I had a Moxon type vise for certain workholding needs, but I just haven't gotten around to making a permanent Moxon vise for my bench. Recently I found some time to put together a makeshift version from the materials I could find close at hand.

I whipped this one out with a leftover 4' length of 4 by 4, a couple pieces of 3/8" all thread rod and a couple of 3/8" wing nuts and tee nuts from my '3/8" assorted hardware' jar.

I first cut the 4 by 4 into two 20" long sections. The length isn't critical and can be based on whatever size of bench you have and the type of work you anticipate doing. The piece that becomes the rear fixed jaw was notched 1-1/2" by 1-1/2" on each end to provide an easy place to clamp the ends to my thick workbench top. I drilled a 7/16" hole 2" from each end and 2" up from the bottom edge to hold the 3/8" all thread rod. The 7/16" hole permits the all thread rod to slide through easily and allows the jaw to angle slightly to clamp uneven work. I used those holes to transfer the locations to the front movable jaw and drilled those holes through. A drill press would be ideal to keep the holes square to the jaws, but a hand drill is acceptable if you use care to drill the holes reasonably square to the jaw faces.

At this point the vise is fully functional by attaching the fixed jaw to the bench with two C clamps and assembling the movable and fixed jaws with 3/8" all thread and a few washers and nuts, but I chose to add a couple of quick spin nuts to my new makeshift Moxon.

I took an extra few minutes to make the quick spin nuts using some scrap wood and a couple of 3/8" tee nuts embedded within the sections. I use this tee nut idea often when I need to make up a jig requiring adjustment knobs. The knobs are easily fabricated by cutting four pieces of 3/4" or 1" thick board scrap to 4" length by 1-1/2" width. Drill a shallow 1/16" deep pocket in the center of two of the sections with a 1" Forstner bit to house the flanges of 3/8" tee nuts. Follow the 1" by 1/16" pocket by drilling 7/16" for the barrel of the tee nut. Drill corresponding holes in the remaining two sections so the all thread can pass through the assembled blocks. Drive the tees into the pockets created with the Forstner bit and glue and clamp the matching drilled sections over the tee nuts. After the glue has dried you can sand the handles to smooth the mating edges and even round over the edges if you like.

This "Makeshift Moxon" proved to be very useful and I decided to keep it available for future use should I need it. I've also whetted my appetite for building a more substantial version in the near future, and it's making the Moxon Vise Kit available from Highland Woodworking look pretty darn attractive!

Want to submit your own quick tip or shop hack? Email it to woodnews@highlandwoodworking.com and if we publish your tip/shop hack, we'll give you a $10 Highland Woodworking store credit.

You can email Randy at rcordle@fastmail.fm

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