A Moxon vise is a wide double screw vise typically used for clamping wide boards or panels to work on their ends. For me it's a super awesome vise that can be used for any clamping needs. You can buy some hardwood and an expensive screw set to make a traditional one or do what I did and make one out of 1/2" plywood and two 1/2" pipe clamps. This thing is seriously awesome, has more than enough clamping power, and can clamp all kinds of stuff in it. I made mine to bolt to my table and slide forward and backwards (see reasoning in video) but you can disregard these steps and just clamp it to your work table or workbench. A link to the free PDF plan with an exact materials list, plywood layout diagram, and 3d step by step instructions is included at the end of this instructable.
You will need these tools:
- A table saw or circular saw for your cuts.
- A drill or drill press for drilling the pipe holes.
- Some clamps for assembly.
- I used a pocket hole jig for some of it but you can pre-drill and use regular screws as needed.
The project can be built various ways and out of various materials but this is what I used:
- A 48" x 48" piece of 1/2" plywood.
- Wood glue.
- A few wood screws.
- A few pocket hole screws (not entirely necessary).
- Two 1/2" pipe clamps to serve as the vise screws.
- Two t-nuts and matching carriage bolts if you want to make yours sliding.
Using power tools incorrectly can be dangerous. If you are at all uncomfortable doing something don't do it. You can walk with a wooden leg and hold things with a wooden hand but you can't see with a wooden eye. Wear your safety glasses.
Step 1: Making the Jaws
This entire vise will be made from scraps I had in the shop.I used a leftover piece of 1/2” plywood. Not one dime was spent which is always nice. (pic 1)
After cutting all the jaw pieces oversized I glue them up. I glue both jaws in the same glue-up to save time. And yes, watching glue dry is just as boring as watching paint dry. So to stay productive and not waste any time I ate some chips. (pic 2)
After the glue dried and I was no longer hungry I jointed one edge of each jaw with my multi function hold down jig. Then I could rip them to their final width. (pic 3)
Next I trimmed and cut the jaws to length using my cutoff sled. (pic 4)
Step 2: Machining the Jaws
For standard 1/2” pipe clamps a 7/8” hole is needed. It's best to setup a stop block and drill all 4 holes at the same time. To make the front jaw slide better and not bind as much you can make the opening a horizontal slot instead of a hole. The back jaw needs to remain a 7/8” hole though. Don't make it any bigger. The reason a horizontal slot will work is it will allow the front jaw to skew left to right as you pull out the pipe. You don't want to simply use a larger size hole as this will give more room on the top and bottom of the pipe to allow the front jaw to rack top to bottom when you are only clamping on the top edge of the vise. (pic 1)
To attach the back jaw to the base a rabbet is cut by two passes on the table saw. (pic 2)
Step 3: The Sliding Feature
The base will be held to the bench with hold down screw handles. A slot is cut by drilling two oversized holes first and connecting them with a jigsaw. I've recently found out that a decent jigsaw and decent blades will make a fantastic cut. I've been a jigsaw hater for years probably due to the fact that I have always had a really crappy jigsaw. (pic 1)
For the hold down screw handles I cut 2” cubes, drilled an undersized hole, and threaded a 3-1/2” carriage bolt through it. To make them a little easier on the hands I chamfered all the edges on the table saw. (pic 2)
Step 4: Back Jaw and Base Assembly
Right before assembly I chamfered the back edges of the back jaw and the front edges of the front jaw. The back was chamfered out of necessity to give my hands more room to operate the hold down screw handles. (pic 1)
With everything verified by a test fit I glued and screwed the back jaw to the base with a bunch of wood screws. Pre-drilling first to prevent splitting of the plywood. (pic 2)
After locating and drilling the two holes in my work bench I threaded the handle down to pull a t-nut up from below. (pic 3)
Step 5: Final Assembly
I initially planned on having a few triangular support brackets to brace the back of the back jaw but thought this was just wasted space. So instead I made a simple box to store a block plane, pencil, or any other small hand tools that may be used often with the vise. (pic 1)
The back jaws of the pipe clamps were held on to the back jaw with double sided carpet tape. This worked well for about a day. After that I drilled two holes in the back jaw of the pipe clamps and secured them with screws. (pic 2)
Step 6: Enjoy Clamping Whatever You Need to Clamp
My final thoughts: WOW! This is downright awesome. I am absolutely blown away at how well this works. With the entire assembly slid forward you can clamp vertical panels to do end grain work and with the assembly slid backwards you can chop away at a mortise with all of the weight being directly transferred to the bench below. The four layers of 1/2” plywood offer plenty of support and barely flex. The 1/2” pipe clamps hold everything perfectly without wrenching down on them. With barely any pressure on the clamp screws you can really beat on whatever is clamped down and it won't budge. Now I made mine out of materials I already had but if someone were to go to a box store I would imagine you could get everything you need to make one of these for about $40 to $50. This would include the options to change up the design and make it even wider if you really wanted to. I see absolutely no need in purchasing an expensive hardware kit for a “professional” Moxon vise when you can make one that performs this well for so much less money.
For those interested in a free PDF plan with a complete materials list, plywood layout diagram, and step by step 3d instructions either click here to open them in a new browser window or right click and select "save as" to download them directly to your computer. I make a new videos every week so If you enjoyed the video build of this project consider subscribing to my YouTube channel so you don't miss the next one. Have a great one folks!