How To Make A Sliding Moxon Vise

Now that I finally have an outfeed/assembly table to work on I could start to think about vise options. Through the years I have had many different dedicated work surfaces but I have never had a vise. I’ve always just clamped whatever I was working with to whatever was solid and in the correct orientation. Sometimes that worked. Most of the time it was just annoying. Because my work table is just a sheet of 3/4” plywood for the top mounting a traditional woodworking vise to the bottom wasn’t the best option. There just isn’t much support that way. Another option is to spend over $150 for a Moxon vise hardware kit online. Then purchase the hardwood that is required to build it. I’m way too cheap for that so I decided to design my own Moxon vise after looking at a few online.

The design I came up with uses pipe clamps. You can use whatever size you have. I have 1/2” pipe clamps so I used them and they ended up having more than enough clamping power. I also used a leftover piece of 1/2” plywood. So this entire vise will be made from scraps I had in the shop. Not one dime was spent which is always nice.

sliding moxon vise (1)

After cutting all the jaw pieces over sized I glue them up. I glue both jaws in the same glue-up to save time. And yes, watching glue dry is just as boring as watching paint dry. So to stay productive and not waste any time I ate some chips.

sliding moxon vise (2)

After the glue dried and I was no longer hungry I jointed one edge of each jaw with my multi function hold down jig and then ripped them to their final width.

sliding moxon vise (3)

Next I trimmed and cut the jaws to length using my cutoff sled.

sliding moxon vise (4)

For standard 1/2” pipe clamps a 7/8” hole is needed. It’s best to setup a stop block and drill all 4 holes at the same time if possible. If you do not have a drill press you can probably get away with using a hand drill but just try to drill as straight as possible. To make the front jaw slide better and not bind as much you can make the opening a horizontal slot instead of a hole. The back jaw needs to remain a 7/8” hole though. Don’t make it any bigger. The reason a horizontal slot will work is it will allow the front jaw to skew left to right as you pull out the pipe. You don’t want to simply use a larger size hole as this will give more room on the top and bottom of the pipe to allow the front jaw to rack top to bottom when you are only clamping on the top edge of the vise.

sliding moxon vise (5)

To attach the back jaw to the base a rabbet is cut.

sliding moxon vise (6)

The base will be held to the bench with hold down screw handles. A slot is cut by drilling two over sized holes first and connecting them with a jigsaw. I’ve recently found out that a decent jigsaw and decent blades will make a fantastic cut. I’ve been a jigsaw hater for years probably due to the fact that I have always had a really crappy jigsaw.

sliding moxon vise (7)

For the hold down screw handles I cut 2” cubes, drilled an undersized hole, and threaded a 3-1/2” carriage bolt through it. To make them a little easier on the hands I chamfered all the edges on the table saw.

sliding moxon vise (8)

I also chamfered the back edges of the back jaw and the front edges of the front jaw. The back was chamfered out of necessity to give my hands more room to operate the hold down screw handles.

sliding moxon vise (9)

With everything verified by a test fit I glued and screwed the back jaw to the base.

sliding moxon vise (10)

After locating and drilling the two holes in my work bench I threaded the handle down to pull a t-nut up from below.

sliding moxon vise (11)

I initially planned on having a few triangular support brackets to brace the back of the back jaw but thought this was just wasted space. So instead I made a simple box to store a block plane, pencil, or any other small hand tools that may be used often with the vise.

sliding moxon vise (12)

The back jaws of the pipe clamps were held on to the back jaw with double sided carpet tape. This worked well for about a day. Since making this I’ve drilled two holes in the back jaw of the pipe clamps and secured them with screws.

sliding moxon vise (13)

My final thoughts: WOW! This is downright awesome. I am absolutely blown away at how well this works. With the entire assembly slid forward you can clamp vertical panels to do end grain work and with the assembly slid backwards you can chop away at a mortise with all of the weight being directly transferred to the bench below. The four layers of 1/2” plywood offer plenty of support and barely flex. The 1/2” pipe clamps hold everything perfectly without wrenching down on them. With barely any pressure on the clamp screws you can really beat on whatever is clamped down and it won’t budge. Now I made mine out of materials I already had but if someone were to go to a box store I would imagine you could get everything you need to make one of these for about $40 to $50. This would include the options to change up the design and make it even wider if you really wanted to. I see absolutely no need in purchasing an expensive hardware kit for a “professional” Moxon vise when you can make one that performs this well for so much less money.

sliding moxon vise (14)

sliding moxon vise (15)

Download

Although this plan is free to you remember that it isn’t free to produce. If you would like to show your thanks please consider using the donate button at the bottom of this page. If you liked this project and found it useful please share it so others can do so as well. Thanks for stopping by folks and have a great day!

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41 Comments

  1. Chuck Hampton

    Two thoughts: 1. You should call this the MoxonBates vise!
    2. I just bought a B&D jigsaw like you used to have. I hope mine isn’t crappy! :/

      1. Joshua Luther

        This is awesome! I’ve been thinking of ways to make a bench vise using threaded rod and this is the perfect solution for me. Although, I don’t think I will be using the threaded rod for this.

  2. Fayette Thornal

    Great idea! I’m going to make a MoxonBates vice for my table. Is the double sided tape enough to hold the tail pieces to the vice? I would have thought a screw on both sides of the tail piece would be in order.

  3. Brian

    I started watching your show a few months back and I’m impressed with the projects that you design and build… this one included!
    I do have a question, and perhaps you have discussed this in other episodes. But the shelf that is above you’re chop saw, that appears to be struggling to hold the tool box up is wicked sketchy Bro! I couldn’t take my eyes off of it because I thought it was going to implode at any second! But I’m sure we all have that sketchy shelf that is defying the laws of physics holding up something important,
    Chat soon,
    Brian
    p.s I’m from “Hockey Town”, keep rocking the hat.

    1. Jay Bates

      Hey Brian. Bummer on the Wings this year but can’t complain much with 23 straight. The shelf is a bowed piece of pine that’s holding empty boxes. It will have to sag 3 or 4 more inches to slide off the shelf supports though. It’s been like that since I started this shop. I just threw my junk up there and it hasn’t fallen so I haven’t cared :)

  4. Chuck Ford

    Hey Jay:
    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the downloadable plans and the tremendous projects that you provide. I’ve been woodworking for the past 15 months and love it. I retired from Television in 2010 and wish I had started then. You seem to know what I need just when I need it. I’ll be working on the Maxom vise next week…..the mitre sled and the toy box for my grandkids after that. With these two additions to my shop it will be pretty much rounded out. I will drop you a few photos when I’m done. Keep up the good work. Chuck.

  5. Renato Lira

    I’ve been making some research of the many types of homemade-built vises to do my own one, but your project is just the best I’ve seen! Congratulations for the idea, and thanks for sharing!

  6. Dave Hernandez

    I’ve been wanting to build something like this…I’ve seen many videos, but your’s seem to make the most sense! Love your projects.

  7. Jim Williamson

    Hi Jay. I love the 2 screw vice. I’m about to build the Finewoodworking NotSoBig bench and I’ve been thinking about adding a 2 screw vice to the bench for dove tailing.
    I bumped into this on youtube and I love it!! I love you presentation as I don’t need to watch for an hour or more.

    Thanks much.
    Jim – Atlanta

  8. Larry Wilson, retired it still tinkering.

    This looks perfect for my shop remodel! And a major bonus….. Using the Kreg pocket screw system on an actual, working application. Thank, Jay!

  9. MGeez

    I dont have a place to work – so I need a small workbench — I was thinking 2 ft by 4 ft or 3 x3 ft or 3 by 2 — What do you suggest for a simple beginning workbench — I want to use your moxon vise idea

  10. MikeC

    To cut dovetails, you need to hold a piece horizontal as you mark your pins (or tails). You should point out that the height of the support box wall should be identical to the stationary jaw.

  11. Rick Jackson

    Thank you Jay. Great job on the vice, I’ve been watching your vids for about 4 months now and you get better with each one. I would like to make one observation…NOT A COMPLAINT or CRITICISM…a little narration when you are performing a cut would be helpful.

    THANK YOU again, I wish you & your family a MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year.

  12. Brad

    Awesome job Jay, PDFs were spot on when I built my Moxen vise. I have used it almost every day since. I have been needing a vice for a long time and this fit the bill for me. I had everything but the threaded pipe, carriage bolt and tee nut. For a total of about $18 I have a working vise. Thanks for all you do, keep up the hard work. My next build is going to be the cooler you posted.
    Thanks again,
    Brad

  13. Eric

    Utterly creative and actually more versatile than many of the available moxon style vises on the market. The thing I love most about it is you can modify it. I plan to start on my own variation of it in the morning! Thanks Big Jay!!!

  14. A

    Has anyone tried this with something like 2×6’s for the jaws instead of cutting all that plywood? Would that work?

  15. Peter

    Great design! And attaching to an assembly/outfeed table is a bonus. One question … you use 5/16-18 carriage bolts a lot (you have a large supply?) would 1/4 20 be much different here and in some of your other projects? (I have a large supply)

  16. Ivan Walker

    Hey Bro!
    You didn’t say how many packs of crisps/chips you ate waiting for the glue to dry.
    Glue is a real pain in the neck when you’re waiting.
    The video was great.
    Nice one.
    Ivan.

  17. Lee Chaissan

    Great vice. I built one with a modification. I made the rear box height 3/4″ shorter so I could put a piece on top to make it flush with the top of the jaws. I doubled it up with a piece below it that fits inside the box. I hold this shelf down with 2 spring loaded toggle latches. Then I drilled (4) 3/4″ holes in each jaw – fairly evenly spaced, and four more in the rear shelf (2 rows of 2 in line with the middle 2 holes in the jaws). I bought a set of 4 Kreg bench dogs, and now I can hold pieces in either the jaws or the dogs.

  18. CHunt

    Great design! I just completed my vise with a few modifications. Due to space and materials I went with 3/4 plywood, 16 inch jaws and 16″ Wide x 12″ Deep base. This fit my work bench and allowed a 7″ sliding adjustment so I can handle 5″ stock on top of the bench. This is by far the best design I have seen on the web. You are certainly talented in the area of design. Thanks.

  19. Doug

    Hi Jay, I just discovered your site. I was searching for a Moxon vise and the search stops here. That’s the one I want. I downloaded the plan and i love the materials list – the final item being the beverages. I sure like a beer at the end of a day in the shed.

    When I am in the Kitchen, all my recipes start out “Pour a large cold beer into the cook. Repeat as necessary”. In the woodworking workshop it makes sense to make the beer the last item in the parts list.

    I like your style, Jay.

    Doug

  20. Tony M

    Hi it looks like a good vise do you have any plans or list of needed wood and sizes that would help us make one?

  21. Tarx

    You are funny and talented. LOVED the “watching” glue dry shots. Your attitude is awesome with “no money” to spend – so make it from what you have. Great stuff.

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