How To Build A Moxon Vise

How to build a moxon vise.

It’s come time that I need to build a Moxon vise for my workshop, er, garage. I’ve been experimenting with quite a bit of hand tool work lately, and had a few needs when it came to the big vise.

Oh, and here’s a free set of Moxon Vise Plans I drew up for this project.



I needed something large, strong, versatile when it comes to location, over 24″ of open jaw area, and something that raised work pieces up higher than my assembly table. Those needs just scream Moxon or twin screw vise. And his is how I made my Moxon Vise.

What you’ll need.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Moxon Vise. I did mine for well under $100 including Maple and everything else.

  • Two Barbell Sets (For the acme thread and nuts. I got mine at walmart.)
  • 1″ Black Iron Pipe Tee
  • 1″ Washer (I pulled this out a foundation hold down bolt set I had in my shop. You can find them online.)
  • 1/4″ Dowel (I used poplar I had lying around)
  • Lumber Material (I used Maple and Black Walnut. You can use whatever you’d like. Even construction lumber.)
  • Pan Head Screws (To attach the nuts to the rear jaws and bar handle.)
  • Glue (For the jaw lamination and bar handle pin.)

And here’s how I made it.

Cut all my pieces to rough length.

I used my cordless circular saw to cut all the pieces for the jaw glue up. This material is maple that I bought at the local hardwood supplier.

Cut all the jaw pieces to length.

Cut all the jaw pieces to length.

I glued up the front and rear jaw.

I used wood glue to make a 2-1/4″ thick rear jaw, and an 1-1/2″ thick front jaw via lamination of the maple boards. The jaws are just about 36 inches long. This will give me 24″ of clear space between the acme threaded rods so that I can fit work pieces up to 24″ wide into the vise. Awesome, right?

Glue up the front and back jaws.

Glue up the front and back jaws.

Laid out my round handles.

Then I used my compass to lay out some round handles for the vise. This is black walnut that I got for free. They were off cuts that the guy wasn’t going to use, but I’m a wood hoarder For good reason, this is an awesome example of that.

Layout the circle handles.

Layout the circle handles.

I cut out my round handles.

I wanted to cut out some handles that were like the Benchcrafted Moxon hardware handles, and I thought black walnut would look cool. So I used a very primitive circle cutting jig on the band saw and cut them out. I’ve never used a circle cutting jig before, and I winged it on this one. Let’s just say I need a little practice.

Cut out the round handles.

Cut out the round handles.

I drilled out a round mortise in my round handles.

It can be a little confusing by just seeing this picture, but I set up two blocks that let the round handle turn in a circle in between them. With the drill bit centered. So as I turned and drilled into the handle, it created the round mortise. If that doesn’t make sense, the video shows it good enough.

Cut the round mortise.

Cut the round mortise.

I glued up the bee-bees!

I wanted to add weight to the handle, so I glued some lead bee-bees into the round mortise I made in the handle. If I were to do it all over again, I would have put more lead, it would add to the inertia of the handle when you spin it towards the front jaw.

Glue up the bee-bees.

Glue up the bee-bees.

Clamped them up.

First off, gorilla glue is strong when it’s expanding. These clamps almost didn’t’ make it through this one. But they did, and the round handles came out like a dream.

Clamp the round handles.

Clamp the round handles.

I ripped down the bar handle.

This is just a simple shot of me ripping down the bar handle on the table saw. This is the same black walnut I used for the round handles.

Rip the bar handle.

Rip the bar handle.

I ‘kind of’ rounded it.

I was in a hurry and just wanted this handle done. So all I did was knock down the corners with my block plane so that it would slip into the black pipe tee.

Bevel the corners of the bar handle.

Bevel the corners of the bar handle.

I drilled holes for the stopper dowels.

This will make more sense in the next picture.

Drill hole for stopper dowel.

Drill hole for stopper dowel.

I glued in the stopper dowels.

I needed some way of stopping the bar handle from sliding out of the Tee. So I glued up a dowel into it, to stop it from slipping out. This is primitive, I know, but I actually ended up really liking how it looks when I was done. It’s functional, free and strong. You can’t beat that.

Glue in stopper dowel.

Glue in stopper dowel.

Drilled holes in the barbell nuts for screws.

I wanted to attach the nuts to the rear jaws and the round handle. And to do that, I had to drill holes in the fingers of the nuts that came with these bar bells. So that’s what I’m doing here.

Drill holes in fingers of acme thread nut.

Drill holes in fingers of acme thread nut.

Put everything together.

I put all the hardware together and clamped the rear jaw down to my assemble table.

Assemble the vise.

Assemble the vise.

Fastened the nuts.

I fastened the nuts to the rear jaw and the round handle. You can see more of this in the video above, or on my YouTube channel.

Attach all the moxon vise hardware.

Attach all the moxon vise hardware.

Tested it out.

After it was all put together, I gave her a test drive. And I was amazed at just how well she worked. I couldn’t believe it. When a board clamped into it, I could drag the entire work bench around the shop without it moving.

That’s close enough for the girls I know.

Test it out, and make sure it works.

Test it out, and make sure it works.

And that’s it. My Moxon vise build. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I want to thank you for checking this out, watching and reading it. I had a lot of fun making it, and if it helps one person to get inspired or make something similar, this was all worth it.

Again, thanks for reading. And I’ll see you on the next one.

— Adam