Perhaps I should be the last person to buy a Moxon-style vise kit from Benchcrafted. After all, I’ve built six of these highly functional vises for myself and friends – not to mention all the ones I’ve built during classes during 2010.
But instead, I was one of the first to line up for the kit offered by Jameel Abraham and his partners in Benchcrafted. Why? Because Jameel, his brother (hey Father John!) and his father don’t do anything unless they are crazy in love with the idea themselves.
This tiny company in Iowa makes the best wagon/tail vise I’ve ever used and the best leg vise I’ve ever used. Now they make the best double-screw vise I’ve ever used. They make three vises, and all of them are 100 percent crazy over-the-top winners.
I’ve had the hardware for the Benchcrafted Moxon vise for several months, but I’ve been too busy with teaching, writing and other woodworking projects to build the vise – even though it is only three sticks of wood. But every now and then I’d take the vise hardware out to show a visitor and spin the beautiful cast wheels on the Acme-thread posts. That in itself is almost worth the price of the kit.
The real genius of the Benchcrafted kit is that the threaded posts are stationary. The only moving parts are the heavy handwheels. This reduces considerably the amount of effort you need to exert to close the vise chop.
In the version I built earlier this year, I used wooden screws that I threaded. Then I tapped the rear chop. (You can read all about my efforts here.) If you are really nuts, read about the original prototype I built using large-scale wooden threads and a 2-3/8”-thick rear jaw (like Roubo’s version). That’s here.
When I built my vise last week, I made one major deviation from the plans. I made a large stopped chamfer with two lamb’s tongues on the top edge of the movable chop. Why? Well if you have used this vise as much as I have this year you immediately know why. When you are cutting traditional half-blind dovetails you need to point your dovetail saw to the ceiling to overcut your baseline. The chamfer allows you to get your saw in closer and get a couple more strokes without having to adjust the drawer front or remove it from the vise.
And the stopped chamfer was fun to make.
The Moxon vise kit from Benchcrafted is $149 and the parts are made entirely in the United States. The quality is over-the-top, and the finished vise will exceed your expectations. I’m so sold that I’m giving away my wooden-handled version to a woodworking friend next week. The Benchcrafted version just earned a permanent spot under my Roubo workbench.
— Christopher Schwarz
I wish to the dickens I’d had this double-screw vise when I wrote the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” with Joel Moskowitz. This incredible little book is part forgotten history and part how-to. You can read more about the book in ShopWoodworking.com. Check it out here.