I decided I couldn’t wait overnight, and assembled the vise this evening. I did take the precaution of attaching it to my bench using F-clamps rather than using holdfasts on the the rear brace – that can wait until tomorrow after the glue has had more time to do its work.
When people talk about the Moxon vise they most often talk about how it raises your work up making it easier to saw dovetails and other joints. The other big advantage over using a standard face vise, in my view, is that a long board has room to drop low through the center. Unless you use a twin screw face vise, the vise’s center screw is in the way and you’re either trying to clamp a board on the far side of the vise or you’ve got most of the board unsecured high above the vise.
That’s implied when folks talk about the 24″ clearance (or however much space you choose to leave) between the screws, but I thought I’d spell it out for other beginners like me.
The vise holds the work securely with very little pressure. You won’t be cranking the jaws tight – there’s no need. In fact I could tell immediately that this is something I’ll want to watch and be careful about. I can easily see how it would be possible to tighten things together too much and crack the face jaw.
Maybe this is why old images of the vise show very thick boards for the jaws. They look like they’re 10/4 or 12/4 boards, to my untrained eye. Thick wooden screws might also favor more gentle adjustments than the metal parts so easy to get and use today.
Another advantage I noticed was that with the vise set on the edge of your bench you have the depth of your bench top working to keep the work straight and secure.
One challenge with the Benchcrafted hardware is that the wheels are heavy, to the point that my vise wants to tip off the edge of my bench if I have them on when setting it up. I can see a definite advantage to using some the heaviest wood you can find to make this thing, for that reason alone. An easy solution would be to not leave the wheels attached to the vise and spin them on after the vise is secured. I don’t see myself following that path: I don’t want to spend time assembling my vise, I want to use it.
It’s not a difficult problem to overcome. I would though like to figure out a way to balance out the weight.
And yes, spinning the wheels in and out to adjust the vise is more fun than it ought to be.
I measured how much depth I had to work with. 3 1/2″ as is, and I could probably squeak out another 1/2″ by not running the bolts all the way to the edge of the rear nuts.
I haven’t had a chance to really use it, but can tell I’m really going to like it.
Photos below – sorry that some are a bit dark and out of focus.