Mini Moxxon with some extras.

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Project by Jim Rowe posted 04-26-2012 03:14 PM 4208 views 23 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my goals for 2012 is to become a competent hand cut dovetailer. I’ve read the books and watched the videos so the next stage is to assemble the basic hardware. By that I mean something to hold the wood securely and a means to achieve accurate transfer of tail markings to the pin board. I decided that a dedicated vice that sits higher than my bench vice was needed, so I did a lot of digging around and found plenty of ideas using a Moxxon type vice. As I didn’t want to go to the expense of commercial hardware I found some really useful ideas on LJ projects and in particular on David Cohen’s site in Australia. So here is what I have made:-

Using odd pieces of walnut, oak and sapele I made a mini Moxxon vice that will hold boards up to 8 inches wide. The front jaw is lined with suede to assist with grip and I have attached some 1/16th pieces of plastic to the top surface of both jaws to not only provide some protection from wayward saw cuts (I like to keep my jigs in pristine condition) but also to provide a light reflective surface to make the cutting of tails less of a strain on my eyes. The vice is fixed to my workbench through a couple of the bench stop holes. The front of the rear jaw is in line with the front of the main bench.

Using some scraps of oak that were originally intended for window sills I made an I-beam, a la David Cohen, as a resting platform for the tail boards when transferring outlines to the pin boards. I also made a positioning jig that allows fast and accurate placement of the pin board in the vice so that it lines up exactly with the underside of the tail board resting on the I-beam. The underside of the brass strip aligns with the top surface of the I-beam. The positioning jig has a rare earth magnet glued into the rain drip groove on the sill board (10mm X 5mm) and a piece of steel rod is fired in the I-beam to allow safe storage.

Here you can see how the positioning jig sits on top of the vice jaw and the pin board ready for the tail board to be inserted for marking out.

And finally, this is what it all looks like when the tail board is clamped to the I-beam ready for the mark out.

Apologies if this was a bit long winded and also if the subject has been covered elsewhere on LJs. Any comments suggestions appreciated.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

8 comments so far

View Brandon's profile


4147 posts in 2037 days

#1 posted 04-26-2012 03:24 PM

It’s like a Moxon vise had a baby! Great idea.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Enoelf's profile


192 posts in 1349 days

#2 posted 04-26-2012 03:28 PM

Bam, it’s on my favorites list!
Thanks for sharing.
Well done.

-- Central Ohio, Still got 9 and 15/16 fingers!

View BTimmons's profile


2284 posts in 1571 days

#3 posted 04-26-2012 06:57 PM

The white plastic on the vise jaws really makes sense. Well thought out.

-- Brian Timmons -

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

938 posts in 2259 days

#4 posted 04-26-2012 08:54 PM

On my favorites and to-do list!

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View NormG's profile


5086 posts in 2090 days

#5 posted 04-27-2012 12:48 AM

Great vice, great idea for the jaws

-- Norman

View bluekingfisher's profile (online now)


1197 posts in 2065 days

#6 posted 04-27-2012 08:13 AM

Great Vise, hope it works out well for you.

Have you seen the Frank klausz DVD, he cuts dovetail without any marking. I tried it myself, with a little practice it works out well.

he cut a dovetail drawer box and assembled it in under 2 minutes, not suggesting you need to be that fast but cuts out all the guddle of marking…..........unless of course that is the part you like?

Good luck

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Ken90712's profile


16034 posts in 2275 days

#7 posted 04-27-2012 01:51 PM

Great vise. Hope it serves you well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View StumpyNubs's profile


6591 posts in 1886 days

#8 posted 05-28-2012 12:46 PM

You should enter this into our jig contest! Email photos along with your LJ name to You might win!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications:

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