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Two DIY Woodworking Vises

Let’s face it, woodworking is an expensive hobby. I’m all for doing anything that makes it easier and cheaper for someone to get into this incredible craft. When I first started on my woodworking journey, my workbench was nothing more than four sheets of plywood glued and screwed together sitting on top of a couple of cheap metal sawhorses. To hold stock in place as I handplaned I screwed a wooden hand screw directly to the top of the bench. For dovetailing I made a moxon-style vise out of some oak and some pipe clamps. Both techniques worked, but neither worked very well. I dreamed of the day I could spend money on a nice cast iron vise. Oddly, that day never came. I always found a way of doing what I needed without shelling out money on a vise. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but the first time I used vise on a consistent basis was here in the Fine Woodworking shop. Now, don’t for one minute think that when I build a bench for my new shop I’m going to leave a vise off. But not having a vise does not mean you need to put your woodworking on hold.

In issue #268–which will be coming out next week–we have a great collection of workbench tips titled “Rethinking the Workbench”. In it, there are two tips that stood out to me and my penny pinching ways. The first, was a simple box from Steve Farnow that allowed you to clamp boards vertically (and horizontally) to make dovetailing easier. The second was a moxon vise from Rex Bostrom that ingeniously used dumbbells as the screw hardware in a moxon vise. The best part is, neither vise requires a workbench to build or use. I did all of the work on our tablesaw outfeed table which was the closest analog I could find to a dining room table.

My take on Steve Farnow’s dovetailing box. Simple, but MIGHTY!

In this video, I put both to the test with a twist of my own. I was shocked at how well both worked, especially the scrap wood clamping box. Sometimes solutions are so simple, they’re easy to overlook. Granted, I used 5/8-in. acme thread, nuts, and handles for my moxon vise, but all of the hardware for it cost around $50.

Fifty bucks ain’t bad at all for a great Moxon vise

I hope this video helps other woodworkers out there who are strapped for cash. Actually, I think the upcoming article will give any woodworker–broke or not–some ideas about how they can be more efficient at the workbench.

Source list for the moxon vise:

1 – 12-in. piece of 5/8-in acme lead screw
2 – 5/8-in. acme thumb knobs
2 – 5/8-in. acme nuts

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Published at Wed, 28 Mar 2018 01:40:49 +0000