The one thing I’ve been without since I switched away from my Milkman’s Workbench is a true face vise. A Moxon Vise is great for dovetailing and tenons, but it’s no good for everyday edge planing. And while I prefer the tactile feedback of edge planing against a planing stop, it’s not feasible all the time. I had planned on a simple crochet for my new workbench, but I remembered my threading kit and I figured I’d go for something a bit more elaborate. Even if it is just a glorified crochet.
My face vise consists of four main parts: (i) an 8/4 maple nut, bored with one threaded hole and one clean hole; (ii) a 14″ long wooden screw, threaded from a 1.25″ hard maple dowel with a Beall Tool Company threading kit, which grabs the threaded hole; (iii) an 12″ long, 1.25″ hard maple dowel (unthreaded), which acts as a parallel guide in the clean hole in the nut; and (iv) an 8/4 ash jaw, bored with two clean holes, at 18.25″ overall. The vise works on the same principle as a shoulder vise: the clean dowel, which is glued into the jaw, keeps the jaw from spinning freely while the screw clamps down.
Or, rather, it will work once I add the hub to the screw. I don’t have a lathe, so I’m not sure yet what the hub will look like yet. Part of me wants to make a simple octagonal hub (not unlike a Lake Erie Tool Works Moxon Vise). Another part of me wants to go whole hog and make a circular hub with a garter and a handle passing through it (like a proper twin screw face vise). You guys know me pretty well and can probably guess which way I’ll go.
Aside from the hub, the other process I haven’t worked out yet is how to attach it to the bench. My strong inclination is to hide glue the nut to the underside (flush to the edge of the benchtop) and reinforce it with some angle iron. I may one day replace this with a proper twin screw face vise, and I like the idea of being able to remove the nut without damaging it. And there is still some assembly to do (I don’t have any epoxy, right now).
All of that will have to wait, though. There is an American Football game to watch.