DIY Moxon Vise

I am now finally following through with my previous plan to build a Moxon vise for my workbench that looks and works like the Benchcrafted vise, but costs about 5% as much.

The key to my design is to base it on a pair of C-Clamps as a cheap source of strong ACME threads. I picked mine up at Harbor Freight for about $7 each.

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The first step was to disassemble the clamps.

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I then cut the frame of the clamp about 1 1/2″ from the internally threaded portion.

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I had a couple hand wheels from my second table saw, that I repurposed as the handles for the vise. I had all the necessary parts ready and started with the build.

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First I drilled holes in the internally threaded segments in order to mount them to the inside of my workbench frame.

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In order to get them to sit flat against the workbench frame, I had to shim up the area with the screw-holes, to keep the screws from pulling this section too close to the frame.

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Next I drilled holes in the workbench frame about 26″ apart where I wanted to install the vice, and then attached the internally threaded C-Clamp portions directly behind these holes so that I could screw the threaded rods into them through the bench frame.

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This gave me plenty of room in between the screws to hold anything I could (practically) want to in the finished vise.

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The hand wheels needed some work before I could use them. They had unwanted (for my purposes) handles sticking out of them, and the center holes were too small to fit the threaded rods.

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I used my shop press, which I bought to replace the bearings in my table saw arbor, to press out the handles.
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I then measured the threaded rod end and found the nearest size drill bit I had.

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…Yes… the nearest size bit I had was a paddle wheel bit…but it worked (the hand wheels are cast aluminum).

Moxon Vise - Drilling out the Handwheel

I then drilled and tapped a hole to insert a set screw to hold the threaded rod in place.

Moxon Vise - Handwheel with Setscrew

I decided to use pieces of white oak that I had leftover from another project as the back and front of the vise. With the wheels attached to the end of the threaded rods, I placed the back piece on the top of the threaded rods and marked the center of each rod on the board.

Moxon Vise - Measuring

Moxon Vise - Marking for Center

Then I extended the marks to the center of the board where I wanted to drill the holes.

Moxon Vise - Marking for Drilling

I clamped the two pieces together (with the measurements on the top piece) and drilled a 5/8″ hole through both boards for each of the threaded rods.

Moxon Vise - Drilling the face and Back

I clamped the board in place during installation. The threaded rods had a nearly perfect fit in the 5/8″ holes, so I had to loosen the screws holding the internally threaded clamp sections on the back of the workbench frame, and then re-tighten the screws after threading in the rods through the attached oak board; otherwise things didn’t quite line up, and the threads would bind.

Moxon Vise - Installing the back

Moxon Vise - Assembled

That’s it! I now have a Moxon vise! Since I already had the wood and the hand wheels, it only cost me $16.

I will probably spend a little more money on a thicker piece of wood for the front piece, just to give it a bit more rigidity, or maybe I’ll just reinforce it with some scrap metal, but it works quite well for now.

Moxon Vise - Complete

I tested it with a 24″ wide piece of plywood:

Moxon Vise - Test

I took some time to summarize the project in a video for those of you (us) who are reading-averse, but I’ve buried it at the bottom of the article to make you read the whole story before you realize you could have just watched the video:

3 thoughts on “DIY Moxon Vise

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for the idea of cutting up C-clamps for the acme rod and the threaded sockets. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with something for my cast aluminum vice (to replace the one that came w/ my harbor freight 4×6 bandsaw) and this should work beautifully.

  2. Pingback: Copy/Paste DIY | GarageSandals

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