WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 56

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Holdfasts are inserted into dog holes of workbench top

Movement of the front jaw is tested for both parallel operation and when skewed as in irregular clamping. During this test, the rear jaw is temporarily clamped to the workbench top. The next step is to determine how large a stabilizer block is necessary to ensure the rear jaw is firmly attached to the workbench top. The stabilizer block is glued to the bottom back face of the rear jaw and keeps the Moxon vise square to the workbench. It also provides a clamping surface for the holdfasts. Above, the Gramercy holdfasts used to clamp the Moxon vise to the workbench.

I have been using Gramercy holdfasts for a while and am pleased with them. They are relatively inexpensive and perform well. I glued a small piece of Crubber liner to the bottom of each pad to increase friction and prevent the holdfasts from slipping while clamping the Moxon vise. I opted for holdfasts rather than the alternative of using bar clamps at either side of the Moxon vise. The holdfasts provide a cleaner aesthetic. Due to the layout of the dog holes in my workbenches, using holdfasts made more sense.

By using holdfasts at the rear, the extra length of the rear jaw is eliminated. Normally, it is recommended to have the rear jaw a few inches wider at each side to allow for an F-clamp. Instead, this design calls for the front and rear jaws to be similar in length. It should be noted that most Moxon vise configurations are preexisting and derivative of one another. I simply adapted an existing design to my own workbench and work methods. After all, the original Moxon vise illustration dates from the late 1700’s.

Shown at right, an overhead view of the almost completed Moxon vise before the addition of small table and support. Laminations forming the front and rear jaws are seen with stabilizer block also visible. The stabilizer block is glued to the rear jaw and squares the vise to the workbench top. It also provides a clamping surface for the holdfasts. Holdfast pads are aligned with the outside edges of the stabilizer block. The stabilizer block is customized to your own workbench. A series of dog holes might need to be bored in your workbench top for the holdfasts. In this design, an existing row of dog holes in the center of the workbench top is used.