Moxon Vise, revisited

The Moxon double-screw vise we made for the “By Hammer and Hand” class worked great, but since we didn’t have a chance to apply any finish to it, the maple got a bit dingy as a result of the classwork.

So when I got it home, I decided to clean it up a little and apply a very basic finish to it, Watco Danish Oil.  A few hand plane swipes on the front and rear chop took care of most of the grubbiness, but I think my sweat got a bit soaked in (yeah, not so pleasant, I know), so I couldn’t get it all out.  With a block plane, I relieved the corners very slightly so that the edges were not as sharp.  I then applied a single coat of danish oil with a 3M gray pad, rubbing like it was Aladdin’s lamp, and let it soak in for a while. Remove the excess.  Hang up rag to dry.  Come back a few hours later and feel the silky smoothness.

The handles, as you might expect, showed the most wear.  I used a sharp card scraper and got most of the filth and muck off. Before:


And the entire assembly with a coat of danish oil.  I also put some paste wax on the screw threads.  Looking at this photo, I think I might also put some finish on the back chop from the screw threads out.  Seems kind of bare and grub-i-fied.

Now I just need to find a thin leather piece to glue (hide glue, of course) to the back chop…

BTW you can see a purple heart piece in the bottom-right background that I bought off this crazed ‘retiring luthier’ that came by the back of the woodworking school (he was maybe 30.  Early retirement I guess).  He was a bizarre fellow, and every piece of wood he had was ‘hundreds or thousands’ of years old.  Not sure what I’ll do with it, maybe rip some pieces and make some purty winding sticks.  Strictly so I don’t get banished to the Isle of Misfit Woodworkers for my milk paint and shellac winding sticks–the ones that look like I used them to scrape off my boots after tromping through a pasture.

Leave a comment


  1. Nick

     /  August 15, 2011

    I was thinking of using some purpleheart for the same purpose. I had the luxurious set made from Lowe’s aluminum angle irons.

    • Since I use mostly hand tools, I’m a little worried about dealing with the purple heart. It is some tough stuff. I do have a bandsaw though to rip it down.


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