When Chris Schwarz was working on reprinting parts of Joseph Moxon's 1678 landmark book on woodworking one question that arose about an engraving of a workbench was the utility of the strange, seemingly floating vise
jaws at the front of the bench. Other contemporary writers illustrate this feature too. What came to be known as the Moxon vise is a pair of easily removable vise jaws that sit on top of your workbench and allow you to easily clamp boards vertically at the right height for dovetailing. A regular twin vise is at the wrong height, this attachment brings everything perfectly higher.
Several vendors have offered versions of the vise, this version is used at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop, and has some very practical design elements that make it unique.
The vise is clamped to your workbench with two holdfasts or clamps using the ears at the sides of the rear jaw. Since the ears are lower than the top jaw you don't have to worry about accidentally hitting a clamp with a chisel or saw. It's also one piece and therefore mechanically very rigid.
The front movable jaw is cambered along its full length for tight work-holding. The jaw, thinner than others by design, permits one to work closer to the stock for better control. After tightening, swing the adjustable handles down and completely out of the way.
Behind the fixed jaw we have added a small shelf. The reason for the shelf is that if you are a tails-first dovetail cutter, then a critical part of the process is marking out the pin board from the tail board. Mount the pin board vertically in the vise, and lay the tail board over it. When the tail board is in the correct position, clamp it in place using the shelf and mark out carefully without fear of any slippage, which would cause misalignment.
- Hard maple construction
- Adjustable handles that can be tightened and then moved out of the way
- Over 23" between the screws.
- Over 3" maximum jaw opening
- 4" tall, with 2" ears for ease of clamping
Note: If you wish to build your own vise using our hardware, please see the hardware kit listed with our Bench-on-Bench (accessory link below). Both the bench on bench and the Moxon vise use the same hardware kit.
Made in the USA.