Joinery Bench on a Bench / Moxon with history

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Project by JayT posted 09-04-2013 02:41 AM 3783 views 13 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When planning my workbench build, I realized that having something to raise the work to do joinery and other small tasks would be useful. Lysdexic built a beautiful bench on a bench that served as inspiration. While thinking it over, I happened upon this antique vise-like object on ebay.

The seller reported that it came out of a mill in Rhode Island that was built in the 1850’s. I thought it looked just perfect as a start to my joinery bench with built in character. It also cost less than I would have spent purchasing parts and pieces for the Moxon style vise.

With some LJ help, it was determined that the antique appears to be well oiled birch with oak screws. I used some 8/4 ash to build the remainder. The top gives about 10×28 inches of work surface and sits 7 inches off the workbench. The feet were built so that they can either be clamped to the bench top or held down with holdfasts. They are also coplanar with the face of the rear vise jaw to help support and align clamped workpieces.

The front vise chop will likely be lined with leather to help protect clamped surfaces, but for now is just the wood. There are 18 inches between the screws and it clamps very tightly—anything in there doesn’t move a bit. The three dog holes were added to allow use of bench dogs as stops. Additionally, the bench on a bench can be turned around and used as a raised work surface without worrying about the vise screws getting in the way. The last pic shows one way it could be utilized—a piece of scrap in the vise as a stop in order to chamfer corners on a small piece with a block plane.

Thanks for looking and hope you enjoy.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

16 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7027 posts in 1019 days

#1 posted 09-04-2013 02:44 AM

Nice job with that man. Shops lookin spiffy too.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View ShaneA's profile


5779 posts in 1636 days

#2 posted 09-04-2013 02:51 AM

Damn, that is nice. The screws are over the top.

View Mosquito's profile


6532 posts in 1329 days

#3 posted 09-04-2013 02:57 AM

Sweet work. Can’t wait to make me one of these

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View Airframer's profile


2997 posts in 990 days

#4 posted 09-04-2013 04:04 AM

Every time I see one of these I am tempted to modify my Moxon vise. Very cool and great to see that vise put back into service :D Great job!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View shampeon's profile


1378 posts in 1221 days

#5 posted 09-04-2013 04:35 AM

Nailed it, Jay. Bravo.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Tugboater78's profile


1892 posts in 1229 days

#6 posted 09-04-2013 04:50 AM

Very nice

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

View Don W's profile

Don W

16657 posts in 1605 days

#7 posted 09-04-2013 10:33 AM

Excellent salvage idea.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View CL810's profile


2976 posts in 2025 days

#8 posted 09-04-2013 12:41 PM

Very cool Jay!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View terryR's profile


4551 posts in 1346 days

#9 posted 09-04-2013 01:19 PM

Nice, JayT. What an excellent combination of salvaged wood and new! I love the color on those oak hubs!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View JayT's profile (online now)


3772 posts in 1248 days

#10 posted 09-04-2013 01:40 PM

Thanks guys. The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to keep as much of the old patina and finish as possible, while still making it functional for what I needed. In the end the only modifications to the original were slightly enlarging the holes in the screws to accept a 1/2in dowel, ripping and planing the jaws flat and square, and cutting out a small section in the back of the rear jaw to have a good glue surface.

The second challenge was trying to build something that was useful and attractive without detracting from the antique piece. In the end, I just decided simpler was better. Using the light colored ash, which blends in to my workbench, really makes the dark colors jump out—especially the reddish tones of the oak hubs. No cleaning was done to the antique pieces, you can still see all the stains, paint drips, scratches and gouges. All I did was wipe them down with a light coat of Danish Oil for a bit of protection.

There is just no way to replicate what 150+ years of age does to good wood, so why not show it off.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View Ken90712's profile


15838 posts in 2226 days

#11 posted 09-04-2013 02:02 PM

Well done, a real performer….

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

View mafe's profile


10515 posts in 2126 days

#12 posted 09-04-2013 09:11 PM

Really sweet.
Love that you gave it a new life.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View TechRedneck's profile


755 posts in 1894 days

#13 posted 09-06-2013 12:10 AM

Great idea! love it

I built a moxon and enjoy using it. Having some history in yours makes it all the better. Now make those dovetails.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View QuarterHoarder's profile


5 posts in 960 days

#14 posted 09-20-2013 09:09 PM

Awesome use of that old vise! My dad actually stumbled upon one of these at a flee market and bought it for me for like 7 or 10 bucks! Haven’t committed it to a table yet so for now it’s just a free agent but your entry has motivated me to hammer down a design and go for it. Kudos

-- Recess. is over. GET BACK TO WORK!

View Mauricio's profile


7061 posts in 2189 days

#15 posted 09-23-2013 12:35 PM

This came out really nice man!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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