How to Build a Twin-Screw Vise | DIY Woodworking Tools #10




About: -----------------------------------------------------------------17 year old, sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!-----------------------------------------------------------------Hi FTC! My I'bles con...

I recently found a HUGE M20 Turnbuckle while hiking, and thought I could built myself a Twin-Screw vise with it, since I needed another big vise.

The M20 Bolts from the Turnbuckle can apply several tons of force, so I think they're a great option for building a vise.

Not only can a big Moxon Vise like this hold your workpiece, but it can also hold tools such as Hand-Planes, Routers, Power sanders, and many more, which I will be going through in a future Instructable.

If you enjoy doing woodworking and metalworking projects, this vise is definitely for you! Both of them are involved in the build, and the vise can be used for them too!

Let's get started!

*Pssst! Don't forget to check out more info about the giveaway in the comments!

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Step 1: What You'll Need:

Hardware & Materials:

Tools (+Attachments):

  • Hacksaw
  • Several Clamps
  • Bench Vise
  • Pen
  • Speed Square
  • Measuring Tape
  • 7mm Chisel'
  • Drill-Bits: 4mm Drill-Bit, 25mm Spade Bit, 54mm Holesaw
  • Drill-Press
  • Drill
  • Hot-Glue Gun


Recommended Safety Equipment: Earmuffs, Respirator, Safety Goggles

Cost (for me): FREE!

Difficulty: Fairly Hard

Approximate Time: ~5 Hours

Step 2: Cut Wood to Size

This step includes all of the wood sawing that you'll need to use. The following pieces of wood have been salvaged from an beech baby crib, a beech chair, and some hard plywood from and old disc organizer.

Here are the dimensions:

2 Pieces of 68 X 8 X 2cm (Beech Wood)

2 Pieces of 7 X 4.5 X 2cm (Beech Wood)

2 Homemade Wooden Washers: 54mm Outer diameter, 25mm inner diameter'

After making sure that they were square with a speed square, I cut the first pieces using a hacksaw. These will serve as the vise's jaws.

The second piece was also cut to two pieces with a hacksaw.

The wooden washers were made with a big hole saw, and then the inner part was drilled out with a Spade bit.

Step 3: Cut the Threaded Part Off the Turnbuckle

Here comes the world's worst step. Also an insane amount of work step when all you have is a hacksaw.

I sawed the both nuts off the steel. It took me over an hour. Make sure to lubricate it with water or any other lubricant to avoid overheating.

One of them didn't turn very well, so I cleaned it up with a coarse grinding stone.

If you still have hands, you can move onto the next step...

Step 4: Drill Holes in the Jaws

I clamped both of the biggest pieces on top of each other, and drilled 25mm holes where I wanted the bolts to be.

You'll need a fairly powerful Drill-Press to do this.

Step 5: Drill Holes in the Thread Holders

I don't know how to call these. They will protect the nut from digging itself into the jaws.

I marked the center of both of them, and then drilled a hole with a 25mm Spade bit.

Step 6: Drill & Carve Out the Wood the Spacers That Hold the Nuts

I first placed the nut of the piece of wood and traced out the outline.

After that, I drilled out several holes, and then chiseled all of the excess material out, as shown in the pictures.

Step 7: Glue the Nuts in the Spacers, & Spacers to the Jaws

I chose Hot-Glue to glue the nuts in the spacers. I suppose silicone would be a better choice.

I put some hot glue in the place that was carved, and then clamped it really tightly. When it had cooled down, I added more on the sides.

The last gluing step was to glue the spacers to the jaws,m which was done with hot glue too, and clamped quickly really tightly.

Step 8: Screw Everything Together

Screw everything together. Don't forget to add the wooden washers!

Make sure everything works as it is supposed to, and move on to the next step!

Step 9: Secure the Vise to the Table

You can use clamps, but I prefer securing it to the table with metal brackets.

I first marked where I wanted the brackets to be, and then drilled out the holes, and screwed the small screws in. Do not over tighten!

Step 10: Use Your Homemade Twin-Screw Moxon Vise!

Congrats! You've built your own moxon vise! I'm sure this will come in really handy for all sorts of projects. I think I'll make some small modifications to it


As always, thank you so much for voting!

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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Do you want a FREE PRO Membership?

    I'm giving a FREE 3-Months PRO Membership to the first member that makes their own Twin Screw Vise from a Turnbuckle!

    Here's what you have to do to win the free membership:

    1. Follow me on Instructables

    2. Reply to this message with pictures of the end result (And any explanations, If you want)

    3. Nothing! I will PM you the free code!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh, and does anyone want me to crush something with the vise?

    I have another computer mouse, and maybe some other things...

    Anyone? :)

    That looks like an interesting vise, but aren't turnbuckles left hand threaded on one side? Also, what exactly are twin screw vises used for? The only time i have seen one was when I wandered into the wood shop at my high school. I mostly do metalworking and general construction stuff so I don't know much about fine woodworking other than the fact that it smells amazing. The woodshop at school just smells so good (like pine).

    1 reply
    John Harwood

    1 year ago

    I really like the way you've adapted the turnbuckle to make it into the screws for this vice. One misgiving I have is because the screw on one side is threaded left-handed, I would always be forgetting, and tightening that side when I meant to loosen it... Does it cause you this problem?

    1 reply
    Yonatan24John Harwood

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, that was a problem. Most of the time I remembered but I would always forget if I wasn't concentrated or held something heavy and wanted to clamp it down ASAP - quite frustrating... But I took apart because I ended up not using it a lot because these vises are used pretty much only for dovetailing...

    BTW if you're a woodworker you really need to change your last name... :)

    Jack A Lopez

    1 year ago

    I think this might be the first place I have seen the words, "Moxon vise". Also I do not think I have ever seen this kind of vise before, like, on a real life work bench.

    Regarding etymology, Wikipedia is telling me, "Moxon" is a surname, and sometimes surnames become names for tools. The "Phillips" screwdriver is another example that comes to mind. Also I think some places used to call a raincoat a "Macintosh". Usually the tool has inherited this name from the surname of the inventor.

    Perhaps the name could could be modified slightly, to describe the open, or closed, state of the jaws of the vise itself.

    Say, "Mox-off!", when the jaws are opened, and "Mox-on!" when the jaws are closed.


    I recall similar language from that movie, The Karate Kid (1984), i.e. "wax on", "wax off".

    I don't know if you saw that one or not, but it is not much of a spoiler... to reveal, the clever Mr. Miyagi was somehow teaching Daniel-San karate, while simultaneously making him do mundane chores, like painting fences and waxing his car.


    Question 1 year ago

    Im planning on building one on a larger scale, does the front jaw back out as you loosen the jaw, or you do you manually have to move it back?

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    The front jaw isn't really connected to anything, so you have to move it manually. But it takes only half a second and you get used to it/don't notice yourself actually doing it.

    (Note: I've taken it apart because I ended up not actually needing it for the projects that I do)

    And don't use a turnbuckle. The left/right-hand thread makes it not very user friendly.


    3 years ago

    Oof, I like the instructable. But... Those are pretty nice and useful on their own! Especially one in the good condition you found it. They are typically for producing tension in a cable assembly, which you probably know, but I am just mentioning. It felt painful to see it cut apart when I assume the vice is not quite as practical.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's true. In the end, it's easy to use, but isn't as good as I thought it would be :(

    I didn't find a use for the turnbuckle, but I hope I'll find a better use for the vise :)


    3 years ago

    I've been thinking of making a vise like this. Very helpful!

    1 reply