I’m eager to wrap up the Moxon vise project and put it to work. Remember, this is an enabling step toward the next marquetry project. And if you followed that logic, you’re in the right place here.
Here is the high level view on this progress report. I’d done the woodworking bits already. Chopped hexagonal mortises for the front nuts, glued on the brace for the back, cut the decorative details on the ends and drilled holes for the acme rod. Check the comments on the last post for a great tip for inexpensive Acme rods and nuts.
Hardware for the vise. I’m using 1″-5 acme rod, cut 11″ long. That’s one size larger than what most folks seem to use, but I wanted the visual scale just for aesthetics.
There are two nuts for each acme rod to hold them in place. One mortised into the front of the rear jaw…
…and one the clamps against the back of the read jaw. This is a very sturdy setup. For reference, the nuts are 1″ thick and 1.625″ across the flats. That’s a 2″ diamater x .300″ washer. I love nice hardware.
So the next steps were really about final fit up, sanding (because that makes a great blog post) and doing the little bit of metalwork. My first step was to fix my TIG welder. It’s been down for probably 8 months, and I haven’t welded in probably a year or more. A far cry from when I had a small manufacturing business and welded nearly every day. That’s a lot of words to say “I’m out of practice”.
TIG torch repaired. The problem was the coolant return line was leaking. No one wants to weld while standing in a spray of antifreeze, trust me on that one.
I’ll need to do some more metalwork projects to get back in practice. I’m sure I need some welded brackets and what-not for the shop.
Once the welder was repaired I made up the wing nuts as I had them in the plans. One large nut with two 1.5″ long pieces of 1/3″ round bar tipped up 30 degrees, and two 1″ steel balls. My welding on the was a little sloppy and inconsistent, but by the last bit I was starting to get into the swing again.
While I was working on making the handles I also sanded the vise and started applying finish. I’m experimenting with Tru-Oil after reading about it on the Benchcrafted blog. I’m always suspicious of finishes, after reading Flexner testing finishes it seems a lot of finishes are snake oil. I bought a bottle of Tru-Oil, and I really like it. This is probably my new favorite wiping varnish finish. It build fast and dries really quickly.
Since this is a shop appliance, not furniture or a musical instrument like Jameel makes, I sanded to 220 just to remove tool marks. Then I wiped on two thin coats, and let that dry. I sanded with 320, then wiped on two more thin coats. I rubbed with 0000 steel wool, and wiped on one last coat. More than enough gloss, and with finer grits this would be even nicer. The thin coats seem to tack up very quickly — in 5 or 10 minutes — and dry to the touch within an hour.
Then I installed the brass escutcheon plates I’d made. I’m liking it. You’ll notice I did add a mild stopped chamfer for saw clearance whencutting half blind dovetails. I also cold-blued the wing nuts, I like the finish.
Brass plates installed, I like it!
Then I reinstalled the screws and the wing nuts I made, it seems to work pretty well. I need to glue some leather to the front jaw to help with clamping and then try this out — I wanted to give the finish overnight to fully cure.
Nearly finished with the Moxon vise, just need to add the leather to the jaws
It’s not a perfect piece, I got some small chip out where I was rasping the cyma recta detail (backer board next time Joe!), and there are a few other details that could have been better, but for a shop appliance I’m really pleased with it.
Glamor shots in use to come.