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Thread: The Last Moxon Dovetail Vise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    The Last Moxon Dovetail Vise

    Many of my projects involve bow fronts, which result in compound angle dovetails ...





    I do enjoy building furniture with dovetailing challenges.


    Between furniture pieces, I find time to build a new tool. This time it is the Moxon dovetail vise I have been promising myself for a while. My first and only one was built in early 2011, after Chris Schwarz helped put it on the map. I immediately modified this design, and have been making modifications since. (Link: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...etailVise.html). This new Moxon incorporates the best ideas.


    Ironically, this design is not geared for compound angles. I decided to heed my own advice and keep it as simple as possible, and cater for the 90% of the dovetailing that is likely to be done.


    The width of the vise is narrower than my previous one, but capable of 450mm (17 3/4")between the screws. Most cases I built are between 350 - 450mm deep. My previous Moxon could do 560mm (22") between the screws. This is unnecessary, and just makes for a very large fixture.


    Where the old Moxon used wooden screws, which I turned, this uses steel Acme screws and iron wheels ala BenchCrafted ... except that these came via Tom Bussey (thanks Tom), which amounted to a large savings. The wheels are 5" in diameter on a 3/4" screw.


    The front chop is 5 1/2" high, and the Moxon is built in Jarrah ... what else do you expect! I went a little OTT in this build, but it was fun, and I admit I did become a little carried away





    Brass inlay ...





    The chop runs on bronze bearings ...





    Lining the inside of the vise is rubberised cork. This makes a great non-slip (not my idea - this comes from BenchCrafted, who call it "crubber". Simply search eBay for "cork rubber").





    This vise is a good height for sawing ...





    There are a few innovations. The rear of the vise ...





    This is a spacer, and it can be locked into the up position ...





    The spacer has two functions. The first is setting the pin board (10mm) above the chop to prevent scoring the chop when transferring tails to pins with a knife (this is more of a danger with through dovetails). Also, by lifting the work, there will be light behind the pin board, and this makes it easier to align the edges.





    The crubber makes a great non-slip.


    The spacer may be dropped out of the way, once the height is set ...





    The second use of the spacer is that it has a sliding dovetail at the top, and this allows for the use of MicroJig clamps. This would be especially useful for holding wide boards, or tail board which have developed a slight bow ...








    I have used this on other fixtures, such as a morticing jig.

  2. #2
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    For aligning the tail- and pin boards, I prefer a simple wide square I made from wood ...





    The spacer needs to be dropped out of the way for this ...





    Once transfer is made, reverse the board and saw the pins. This is where you will recognise that the cove is not simply decoration, but allows the saw to angle and get closer to the work piece. The lower the work piece in the vise, the less vibration when sawing ...





    And thats it ... the last moxon dovetail vise ...





    Regards from Perth


    Derek

  3. #3
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    Great work as usual, thanks for sharing.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    She Looks great Derek. Thanks for sharing.
    Buy a man a plane ticket and he’ll fly for a day.
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    and he’ll fly for the rest of his life.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I think you should mention that vises of this design can easily fall when the holdfasts are loosened because the center of gravity is somewhere in front of the bench. When removing this type of vise from the bench top, loosen just one holdfast and push that end of the vise back. Then it will be safe to loosen the other holdfast without the assembly crashing down on your feet. A safer method of mounting would be to use clamps that can be loosen with just one hand while holding the vise with the off-hand. Holdfasts generally require both hands while loosening.

  6. #6
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    Nice work Derek. My spacer keeps getting lost and I should take a page from your book on that detail. Question: You say that the chop runs through bronze bearings, did you mean bearings or bushings?
    David

  7. #7
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    David, I must have had a senior moment when writing this up ... bushing, not bearing.

    Mike, I imagine that the unwary might be surprised by the vise tipping over. And this one is certainly Heavy!

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  8. #8
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    Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
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    Very nice! Almost too nice to use, looks more like a piece of high end furntiure.

    When I had my Moxon vise (son has it now) I often used it on the kitchen bench and had the rubberized cork underneath it. Bought it at SuperCheap Autos (I believe they're also in Australia). Since I hate anything sharp sticking out the thread did not stick in front of the handles but just moved "inwards" like a normal vise. IF I was to make one again then I would have it like a combination of the Moxon and the Sjoberg tabletop bench: with two guides next to the two spindles to prevent vertical tilting while allowing limited horizontal skewing.

    Edit: I planed the clamping faces lightly with a toothing blade for better grip.
    Last edited by Marinus Loewensteijn; 09-22-2019 at 12:53 AM. Reason: addtional info

  9. #9
    Derek,

    My first thought was "Derek sure makes pretty tools" and he did it again. That was at first glance, I was busy and went on to other things but I had time to come back and read about and think about your mods this morning. Really intelligent, useful and well thought out modifications to the basic Moxon with beautiful execution. Good on you.

    I finally used some crubber on one of my vise chops. It runs rings around leather, my only questions is how long will it last before needing replacement. Whatever the answer, the holding power will be worth the possible extra work.

    ken

  10. #10
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    I saw dovetails the same way I saw box/finger joints...
    Poplar Box Project, hand sawing.JPGPoplar Box Project, sitting down on the job.JPG
    By sitting down on my shop stool, working at the end of my bench
    Poplar Box Project, gang sawing.JPG
    Nothing real fancy...chopping is also done sitting down..
    Poplar Box Project, chisel work.JPG
    I use a slab of Ash, though, to protect the "pristine" bench top...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    NW Indiana
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    Very nice. And the cove is a great idea. Definitely steal worthy.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  12. #12
    Very nicely done. l love the color and look of the Jarrah.

    I do not do enough dovetail work to even think of half of the modifications you made to your new vise. But it is easy to see the amount of cutting dovetail experience that went into the build. And I also know that if things, like your vise looke nice, one feels better about what he or she is doing and will have far better results because of it. And your's looks very nice. I will add the with all of your sharing about dovetails I have become a lot more interested in them than I have been in the past. And right a way angled dovetails on a serving tray come to mind.

    I was really impressed with your way to incorporated the clamps into the build so that the pin board can't move when marking the tail board. The worst thing that can happen to have a part is to have it move when transfering. I am now going to rethink what I was planning on doing as far as board alignment goes.

    Thanks for sharing and I have been waiting to see what you came up with, as far as the new vise goes.
    Tom

  13. #13
    Derek - do you find that you use your Moxon instead of the leg vise for most vice work?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Vice or vise, Eric?

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  15. #15
    Fantastic vice!
    I specially like the spacer, congratulation for this creative idea.

    Could you please explain your technique to round the really nice upper corners?

    Thank you

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