Joseph Moxon’s Bench Screw
I’m starting to think that a bench crochet pierced by a screw is likely the great-grandpappy of the venerable shoulder vise , the favorite face vise of dovetailing demon Frank Klausz.
The earliest image I know of this set-up appears as a crudely sketched addition to the bench shown in Joseph Moxon’s “Mechanick Exercises.” Modern-day old-school woodworker Peter Follansbee uses this vise on his bench, and this afternoon I added it to my Roubo.
I made the vise’s screw using a 1″ oak dowel that I found behind my bench last week. A manual thread box (minus its cobwebs) made short work of this task. Then I drilled a 7/8″ hole through the ash crochet about 1-1/2″ from its tip. To finish up the work on the crochet, I tapped the 7/8″ hole.
The bench screw’s handle is 1-3/8″ x 1-3/8″ x 5″ ash. I drilled a 1″-diameter hole about 3-1/2″ deep into the end grain of the handle. Then I planed the handle to an octagonal shape and rounded the ends a bit.
To assemble the handle, I glued the dowel into the handle, then pinned the handle to the dowel using two 1/4″-diameter dowels. The dowels are at 90° to each other. You cannot overbuild a vise. Really.
The threads on the bench screw are pretty fine , six teeth per inch. As a result, the screw isn’t sprightly in the in-and-out department. However, it doesn’t have far to move. Its grip is impressive. So impressive that I think I’m going to install a cushioning pad on its tip to prevent it from denting my work. It practically bored a hole in a pine board.
Then I took my leg vise off.
Let the experiment begin.
Next week I’ll build the other bench accessory — the one that has my mamilla looking like drill bits.
– Christopher Schwarz