I have a nice Incra Lite on my router table purchased and used specifically for joinery. It does a nice job and I use it for small dovetails and box joints. However I always wanted to learn how to do hand cut dovetails for larger projects and drawers in the furniture I am building.
After a couple attempts on my bench using the leg vise, my patience was wearing thin and back was starting to complain. I work on networks and servers all day and don’t use my back much.
I follow the epic threads on workbenches, hand planes, chisels and like the hand tool work (still use my machines as well) and started researching the Moxon Vises. I particularly liked the one sold by “Tools for Working Wood” and the one by BenchCrafted. There are a number of videos on these just search YouTube.
I did not want to spend a lot of cash and “Tools For Working Wood” was back ordered on the handles. So here is what I came up with using some leftover Oak, some bolts, washers, and a few pieces of copper tube. I have to say this works great and I incorporated a number of features from the many others posted.
This rear view of the vise shows the shelf that I just glued onto the clamped portion of the vice to hold the tail board while marking the pins. For a beginner like me, this seemed like a must have feature.
Materials used were three 3/4×4” x 41.5” oak boards glued up for the base, two 3/4×36” oak boards glued up for the jaws, two 10×1/2” bolts (threaded only 6”) two nuts and two washers. For the handles, I used some smaller bolts, nuts, washers and custom cut some old copper water line filling the gap inside with some duct tape to take out the wobble.
I used my brace and 1/2” auger because I did not feel like setting up the roller stand on the drill press to drill the holes. If you do this, be careful to drill straight. One of my bores was off a few degrees but was not that big a deal.
Once the holes are bored, run the bolt through and twist on the nut, then pull it tight against the back and trace the outline of the nut with a knife. Remove the bolt and nut then using a sharp chisel, carefully chisel out the recess for the nut. This has to be done to tight tolerances so take your time.
To aid in screwing in the bolt, I tapered the edge on the belt sander, this provides a nice taper to make inserting the bolt easy.
At first, I thought I had a brainstorm. Using the notches cut from the base, I drilled a 1/2” hole and cut a square recess to fit the underside of the bolt. These would be little knobs for turning the vice in and out. NOT!!!
My wrists were numb by the time I turned both of those knobs in on the first try. I knew at that point that I needed some cranks and let elementary physics do the work.
Now this is more like it. I scoured the scrap drawers for some parts and came up with two smaller bolts, recessed the nuts in the back, placed a washer at both ends threaded the bolt just just till it started in the recessed nut on the back of the handle and measured between the washers. Then cut a piece of copper pipe to that length and flared the end. Then I wrapped some duct tape around the threads of the bolt enough that the pipe just slid over the tape. Because there was a small space between the washer and the head of the bolt, I was able to fit a wrench just under the mushroom head and tightened the bolt, squeezing the copper pipe and the whole handle together. Then I assembled the handles on to the long 10” bolts and cranked the whole vice tight.
After that I baked off the handles, applied some epoxy under the mushroom head of the large bolt to effectively epoxy the handle onto the bolt, then cranked the vice tight again and let the epoxy set overnight.
The next day I applied a coat of BLO and that was it.
Hope you found this helpful.
-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle