How to Make a Moxon Vise

The Moxon Vise Is a simple Vise and can be made in a day or less. it is a hand tool that can be extremely useful for dovetails and other fine joinery. This is a quick How-to woodworking video to give an overview on this shop built Moxon Vise project. I would love to see yours when you make it!

Tools Needed

Tools Needed Panel saw:


Bit set:

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:

File Set:

Woodthreading Tap and Die:

C-Clamps (a Pile of them)


1" oak dowel:

Oak (or whatever wood you would like)

Laminate Wood

If you have 8/4" Stock you can skip this step. But I only had 4/4" stock and many people do. I start by cutting 4 boards to length, on my vice that is 24". Then, the stock needs to have one side planed flat and twist free. this is just like when you dimension a board but just the one side. This way you can glue two sides together and there will be no voices between the two boards. For more information on dimensioning lumber by hand here is a video that explains it all.  Next, glue two boards together face to face then glue the other two together. Now you can stack them all up and clamp the stack all at one time. the more clamps the better as they will spread the pressure out. I ended up using almost 20 C-Clamps. Let it sit overnight and then move on with the build.

Dimension The Chops

Now that you have two thick slabs we need to bring them down to dimension. Here is a full video on how to do that with Hand planes.  you need to end up with one piece 1 3/4" X 6" X 24" this will be the back chop. the second piece needs to be 1/4" taller so that it will hang over the front of the bench. that front chop come out to 1 3/4" X 6 1/4" X 24"

Cut Holdfast Holds

In the Back Chop start by drilling a 1" hole that is centered 2 1/2" into either end of the chop and up 1 1/2" from the bottom. then cut tangent of the bottom of the hole to the end of the chop. make a second cut 45 degrees from the end of the chop to tangent with the side of the hole. this will form a V-mouth in the end that will allow you to clamp the chop to the bench top. next, use a rasp and file to smooth out the saw marks.

Shape The Chops

The front chop needs a deep 45-degree chamfer along the top front edge. I leave 1/2" on the top that is flat. This angle will allow you to easily cut half blind dovetails. next, I put a heavy chamfer on all edges except for the faces between the chops.

Bore Holes For Screws

You will need to choose a bit the t fits your wood screw tap. Mine was 13/16". Place the two chops together with the tops perfectly aligned and clamp them in a face Vise so they do not move. mark where you want the screws placed. mine were 3" down from the top and in 4 1/2" from either end. start by drilling into the back chop but only go untell the lead screw touches into the front vice. this way you can put the new hole in the same place. Next, take the back chop out of the vice and keep the front chop in the same spot. with a 1" bit start in the mark made from the last bit and bore through the front chop. This will align the center of both holes. The front chop needs to slide over the screw, and the back chop needs to be threaded to fit the bolt you are about to make.

Shape Screw Nuts

You can shape these any way you wanted. But for me, I drew a 3" circle and then drew out 2 2" nubs off either side to make it easier to turn. start by drawing out what you want to make. Then, use the hand saw to cut off most of the material. and get it close to shape. Next, use a rasp to shape it right down to the line. the set of files can refine the shape and smooth it out. I then rounded over one side and kept the back side flat as that will be up alongside the front chop.

Tap The Nuts and Chop

In the nuts, use the same bit used on the back chop to drill a hole through the center of the nut. Mine was 13/16". next use the Tap to cut threads in both nuts and both of the holes in the back chop. this can be a bit easier if you oil the inside of the hole before tapping.

Cut The Screw

Use the thread cutting box to cut the screw end to end. as before this can be easier if you oil the smooth dowel beforehand. Also, I like to hang the dowel upside down and thread up the dowel to keep the oil running into the thread box. Once it is threaded cut the threaded rod into 2 10" lengths. One for each nut.

Glue Nut And Bolt

Apply a bit of glue to the inside of the nut and one end of the threaded rod. Then thread the rod into the nut so that it just barely sticks out the other side. Set both aside to dry overnight. Once they are dry use a finely set #4 hand plane to smooth out the end of the threaded rod flush with the nut.

Finnish And Use

Use Boiled Linseed Oil and Paste wax to finish the wood pieces. here is a video on that finish procedure. next screw the nuts through the front chop into the back Chop. place it up against the bench so that the back chop is flush with the front of the bench. the front chop should stick down 1/4" more then theBack chop making this easy as the front chop will sit up against the front of the bench. this can then be held in place with 2 hold fasts or C-Clamps. now you have a fully functioning Moxon Vise.