Randy’s Moxon Vise on the Cheap

I finished a poor man’s version of a Moxon twin screw vise, and thought others might want to see it/ make one. It measures 28 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ X 1 1/2″ (each face) I used some reclaimed Mahogany, and some scrap black maple too. I have 25″ between the screws, and the max. opening is 3 1/2″. I have two more screws that will allow for a max opening of 15″.

I drilled the washers so I could plug weld the faces, and also tack welded three points on the inside of the washers, The mounting screws are drilled on the flats of the nuts to give me max. room for the 6 X 3/4″ screws. After I chopped out the receiving hole for the hex nut and washer, I used the acme threaded rod to pull everything home.

The face board was drilled 1/8″ above center so the face would not sit below the back jaw. And I used a 3/4″ PVC (200 p.s.i.) pipe, so I could get the angle to the jaw, and as a sleeve to protect the screw from damage. I made the washer from a piece of UHMW (I know it’s very pink).

The bottom line:
12′ Acme rod, 10 nuts, 10 washers, (4) 4″ cast iron hand wheels threaded 3/4″-6 was $236.52 (including UPS to Hawaii $90.00). So I figure my unit cost for one Moxon Vise is about $55.00. I hope you enjoy making your own jig’s, and fixtures too.


  1. Lone Wolf January 30, 2012

    Awesome. Thanks for letting us see your project. We are always looking for ways to save a few bucks.

  2. Monclair January 30, 2012

    Gostei da ideia!!!!

  3. Awesome!

    The ingenuity on this site is absolutely awesome and you can’t beat the price on a lot of these.

    Wish I had thought of/seen this route before ordering my moxon pieces from Benchcrafted.

  4. Garrett January 30, 2012

    Cool! Where did you order the hardware from?

    • Randy K February 3, 2012

      Hi Garrett,

      I ordered the acme threaded rod from TSA manufacturing, and the hand wheel came from Reid supply. I had Reid ship the hand wheels to TSA so the could tap it (3/4-6) for 16.00 a hand wheel. Then I ordered washers, and the acme nuts from TSA as well. so I could consolidate my shipping.


      I spoke to Derek, super nice guy. You can even tell him I referred you, I don’t know if it’ll help.

  5. Very well done. I have been thinking about a setup like this for my small bench until I can build a bigger bench. Great work!

  6. Maurice Ungaro January 30, 2012

    Nice job! Where did you find your hardware?

  7. arnold January 30, 2012

    This is my kinda woodworking. Build what you need, build it yourself.

  8. Hi Ladies & Gents (There are femail woodworkers too)

    Just wanted to say thx for another great post, and that I really enjoy the community spirit on this site. Love it actually. I’m working on more stuff. Let you know when it comes together.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Granata

  9. Looks great, I too wonder what hardware he used for this.

    And Chris, there are lots of Female woodworkers out there, seems like more and more all the time which is great!

  10. Andrew Fowler January 31, 2012

    Hi. I would like to know where you can buy the hand wheels please? I have been looking at building a moxom vise for sometime now but can’t seem to be able to source the hand wheels anywhere. I am in Nova Scotia Canada…… thanks …. Andrew

  11. Guillaume Dery February 3, 2012

    Very nice.

    As I have been thinking of doing the same thing, add my voice to those who want to know the source for the handwheels. I can source ACME rod locally but never saw the handwheels yet!


  12. Randy K February 3, 2012

    Hi Guy’s/ Gals,

    Sorry for the delay, been pretty busy at work lately.

    I bought the hand wheel from Reid supply.


    I had Reid ship directly to TSA, c/o Derek and he got them tapped for me for 16.00 a hand wheel.
    He’s a really good guy.

    The Acme rod came from TSA manufacturing, as well as the acme nuts, and 3/4″ washers.



  13. Jim Reed February 3, 2012

    Maybe it would make sense for us to see if TSA would be interested in getting a quantity of these wheels and threading them for us– maybe as part of a Guild purchase. I bet many of the Guild members would love to build a Moxon vise to either go on their Roubo bench or as a stand-alone joinery bench. Hmmmmmm, Marc are you listening and is this something you could put together for the Guild? :-)


  14. Danny H. February 6, 2012

    So Randy. I did something similar. I bought the hand-wheels,Acme threaded nuts ,rods and washers from Enco . I drilled my own clearance hole through the center of the hand wheels for clearance and had a friend weld the nuts to the back of the wheels to receive the threaded rod. This saves on the cost for labor to thread the hand- wheels. Total cost $ 60.00 for everything including shipping. The threaded rods and nuts are on sale right now at Enco and the hand-wheels are less than $10.00 each.

    • Randy K February 8, 2012

      Hey Danny,
      Good job, I didn’t want to chance welding mild steel to cast iron. I haven’t welded cast iron in over 20 yrs. and that was with a stick welder, I just wanted it done.

      I knew I was facing a shipping bill anyway, so I had them do it. Mine too is small, if you notice the bench it’s sitting on is a Werner work platform with a plywood top.


  15. Jeff Yates February 9, 2012

    I am curious…is there a reason not to weld the wheels to the rod and let the nut in the back handle the threading in and out? I ask because with the extra rod sticking out seems like it would get in the way, less so if the extra rod were sticking out of the back of the vise.

    Does that make sense?

    • Randy K February 9, 2012

      Aloha Jeff,

      I have two other threaded rod’s to reach a maximum of 15″, and it won’t spin so easily with the weight of the rod attached to the hand wheel. I also use acme nuts on the back side of the threaded rods so it doesn’t turn as I spin the hand wheel. Having it secure makes the wheel spin freely as well. So if you plan the work thickness first you could use longer rods, (sticking the extra away from you) and end up with just enough rod to work with.

      If you or anybody else is planning on doing one, I’d suggest putting the back jaw into a stopped rabbet. That way you could get the clamp right up close to the (back) jaw.

      I have sufficient blocking around the apron of my job site work benches, so it’s not a big problem. But if I do another one I’d want to bring the support cleat flush with the back jaw, as nothing will be in the way (the threaded rod prevents that). Being that the support cleat is narrow, I used glue, and 3/8″ hardwood dowels to secure it to the back.


  16. Jim Reed February 9, 2012

    Wow, that sounds like a great idea and a great improvement but I’m no engineer so I hope there isn’t some “gotcha” to this plan……. Hmmmm, what do you smart guys have to say? Would this work?

  17. Jeff Yates February 9, 2012

    Thank you Jim

    I’ve decided I need one of these…I intend to learn how to hand cut dovetails, and this seems an easy project that will have some good returns.

    Thankfully the company I work for has a large machine shop, stocks acme thread in 1/2, 3/4 and 1″, has taps and is willing to do some custom work for me.

    Probably won’t be until mid March…but when I finish up my current list of projects and honey do’s…this is next up. I’ll let you know how it goes…unless someone has a reason it won’t work.

  18. Todd February 12, 2012

    I built one using 3/4″ threaded rod from HD. I embedded a nut between two pieces of 3/4″ bb plywood and made flywheels out of them. It works great and was probably only $25 fro the rod and nuts. It work great even though the handwheels don’t have the weight of cast iron ones.

  19. Jim March 13, 2012

    Thanks for sharing. Always great to get good ideas!

  20. James Groover September 18, 2013

    Have a huge question, I was wanting to make one of these and can’t find any parts. Where do you guys get the hand wheels, rod and nuts etc. so I can make one cheap?

    • Don R. November 29, 2013

      Grizzly tools has a huge catalog and online site and has 4 inch cast iron hand wheels that should be perfect for a moxon or dovetail vise. Cost is less than $10 per handwheel.

      The hand wheel might need to be tapped to accomodate a 1/2 or 5/8 inch rod or bolt from yor local hardware store.

  21. Jim February 6, 2014

    Those links to TSA don’t work.

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