WDS Moxon vice hardware

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RobNichols

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I had a nice little project to do over the weekend. To build a Moxon vice from a kit that I'd had for a little while. The kit was bought from WDS Components - Moxon vice hardware kit with ball handles (WDS 3600). They also do a more expensive kit with wheels.

The kit comprise:
  • 2 x M20 Cast Iron Double Ball Handles
  • 2 x M20 Mild Steel Threaded Bar cut to length (L)
  • 4 x M20 Mild Steel Nuts Blackodised
  • 4 x M20 Mild Steel Washers Blackodised surface hardened
All of decent quality IMO.

wds-3600-12978-2_1.png


Yesterday I cut two boards I had into the rough shapes I needed and was able to do a test fit.

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Today I've finished off the two pieces and finished the vice.

The two boards were already milled to roughly the right size. I just needed to shorten them all. The main tasks were:
  • Cut the boards to rough length. This was straightforward with a crosscut handsaw. I then reduced the width of one of the boards so that it matched the other. I did this with a scrub plane followed by a Record number 6 plane.
  • Dill out the holes. I found I had an auger bit that roughly matched the diameter of the threaded bar. I drilled through the first board just far enough for the spur on the bit to pierce a small hole on the far side. I did this for both screw holes. I then used the small holes to mark up the position for the holes in the other board. I find cutting hole like this with a brace and auger very controllable and I can stop before exiting the far side and reverse the wood to cut the last part from the other side thereby avoiding tear-out.
  • I drilled two larger holes outboard of the first two in the board that was to form the back board. I did them such that the bottom of the holes would be roughly one third of the board width. I then cut out the corner to leave a shoulder about one third the thickness of the board. I trimmed and cleaned up the shoulder and remaining quarter of the hole with a wide chisel, gouge and file.
  • Keeping on the back board, I then marked out the shape of the nut around the screw holes on what would become the inner side. I found the best was to do this was to put the screw through the hole and then affix nuts either side. The nuts could then be tightened and would stay in place as I marked around then with a marking knife. I then removed the screw and nuts. I could then deepen the marked lines with a 1/2" chisel. I then cut a hexagonal hole. I knocked out the first centimetre or so with the chisel below. I sank the hexagonal section to the depth of the width of a nut, so that the nut would sit flush in the hole. I found a small router plane I'd bought recently perfect for getting a nice flat bottom of the hexagonal section of the hole
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  • I got out my jack plane to cut a large chamfer along the upper outer edge of the outer board and tidied up with a smoothing plane.
  • I then used a couple of gouges and a rat tail file to open up the holes in the outer board. I opened them out laterally and avoiding opening the holes vertically.
  • I was then able to assemble the vice and check that the two boards came together nicely.
  • Last task was to tidy up the boards with planes and scrappers and apply a finish (couple of coats of shellac, some boiled linseed oil and wax to finish.
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I'm really pleased with the results. It was all very straight forward. The WDS Components parts were easy to use and I'd recommend them to anyone wanting to build a Moxon vice without breaking the bank.

Of course the real test will come when I start using the vice in anger. I'll post again with notes about how I get along with it.
 
A moxon is a very handy thing to have especially as you get older. My back thanks me every tine I use mine.
Is that a GTL plane I see in a couple of the pics?
Regards
John
 
Yes it is a GTL plane. I'm using it as my main smoothing plane at the moment. I love the brass body, and find the adjuster convenient to use. It's nice to keep it in use rather than leaving it on a shelf because it looks so nice (you've got to love the brass). It is also a little smaller that the other smoothing planes I have which I am appreciating for light work.
 
Rob how do you find the norris style adjuster?
I always think it would give accidental lateral adjustment when setting the blade depth but I've never used one so that's not based in any experience!
 
Rob how do you find the norris style adjuster?
I always think it would give accidental lateral adjustment when setting the blade depth but I've never used one so that's not based in any experience!
I haven't found any lateral adjustment issues. Though I must admit I haven't got it set up quite right yet. I hope to make it better at avoiding tear out so am looking to move the frog to reduce the mouth and set for the finest of cuts - so I may hit problems soon.

I find the adjuster easier to use than a normal Stanley/Bailey one. That may be because I'm generally using old planes and perhaps their action isn't as free as it would be for a newer plane.

Perhaps I'm not quite setting up my planes right - I always wonder if I've got the right tension on the lever cap. Too loose and the blade moves, too tight and adjustment is too stiff. Perhaps I'm erring too far on the too tight side.

Perhaps it is because I tend to set the blade depth before I start a stroke rather than during the stroke as I've seen some people do on the tube that is you.
 
Rob how do you find the norris style adjuster?
Actually, looking again I don't think it is a Norris style adjuster. It doesn't have the lateral adjustment facility.

It's a simpler (cruder?) system. The adjustment screw is located directly into the top of the frog.

IMG_20230522_111911672.jpg

So lateral adjustment is by hammer which is fine by me.
 
Perhaps I'm not quite setting up my planes right - I always wonder if I've got the right tension on the lever cap. Too loose and the blade moves, too tight and adjustment is too stiff. Perhaps I'm erring too far on the too tight side.

Perhaps it is because I tend to set the blade depth before I start a stroke rather than during the stroke as I've seen some people do on the tube that is you.
Thanks Rob. Beautiful GTL plane.

Yes RC seems to do the adjustment on the fly when setting the cut, I do it too if the plane hasn't been used for a while or I've stropped the iron and want to square the iron to the sole.

I'm not sure the optimal setting , sadly this isn't something that youtube / books can easily demonstrate - the feel of a setting on a tool. but saying that I have found that for light finishing planing a lightly tighened lever cap seems sufficient and allows very easy adjustment on the fly. The downside is any knots / difficult grain can throw it off so i'd tighten it further for knarly wood. For deeper cuts / flattining / shaping I have it cranked down tighter, makes everything stiff but solid. Not sure if this is the right way - receptive to advice!
 
Good to know. Thanks.
I bought a small 5" (?) 3 spoke cast hand wheel to make up a tilt adjuster for my old industrial saw. Quality was good and it was affordable. WDS is one of those useful companies who offer a huge range of mechanical fittings.
 
I have found that for light finishing planing a lightly tighened lever cap seems sufficient and allows very easy adjustment on the fly. The downside is any knots / difficult grain can throw it off so i'd tighten it further for knarly wood. For deeper cuts / flattining / shaping I have it cranked down tighter, makes everything stiff but solid. Not sure if this is the right way - receptive to advice!
Thanks Pabs. That's really helpful.
 
WDS is one of those useful companies who offer a huge range of mechanical fittings.
Yes I agree, though I think this is the only product I've bought from them. But that's more a comment on my lack of need for metal components than the service they provide. It's the first place I'd looks when looking for components.

Actually ... there's some components I would like. I wonder if they'll make cap iron screws.
 
Yes it is a GTL plane. I'm using it as my main smoothing plane at the moment. I love the brass body, and find the adjuster convenient to use. It's nice to keep it in use rather than leaving it on a shelf because it looks so nice (you've got to love the brass). It is also a little smaller that the other smoothing planes I have which I am appreciating for light work.
I have a cast iron body one the same size as a No3. Picked it up for a few dollars as it looked a bit different. I set out to find out about GTL but most of the replies reckoned they were rubbish so it sat in a dark corner for years. I eventually got to cleaning it up and found it was not all that bad. Not as good as a stanley or record but does an ok job. They were made for the handyman woodworker at an affordable price. In fact they made a whole range of woodworking hand tools.

Guaranteed Tools Limited (GTL) – The old tool collector

My one at work
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Regards
John
 
I set out to find out about GTL but most of the replies reckoned they were rubbish so it sat in a dark corner for years.
Ha ha! If I'd read the reviews before I purchased, I probably wouldn't have bought my GTL either :D

But I'm glad I did because I like it a lot.

It is smaller than my #4 planes but I don't have a #3 to compare it with (see image below for comparison by size - it's slightly shorter than a #4 and definitely narrower). I think its small size is why I like using it so much.

I wonder if the body is bronze rather than brass. I've seen references to both. It certainly cleans up nicely and looks lovely.

This is my current collection of smoothing planes
IMG_20230522_122729025.jpg


From left to right:
  • Hi-Tech - Generic Stanley #4 clone. The plane I've had the longest - probably since my late teens so 1980ish. I've no idea where I go it from. It's the plane I'd grab if I'm concern about errant nails being present as it's the plane I'd be least concerned to trash. Rarely used nowadays - it no longer lives on my main plane shelf!
  • Miller Falls - Lovely plane. Has been my go to smoother for a while.
  • GTL - I've had it for about a year or so. You can see that it's a little smaller than the two #4s to the left of it. As I've said above, I've recently started using it more as I like how small and light it is. My intention is to set it for the lightest cuts and leave the Miller Falls as a more general plane.
  • Stanley Transition plane - Only recently bought this one and only used it a little. Bought it because I wanted to try out a transition plane (scratching my collector urge). It works very nicely and I think I'll be using it more in future.
  • Coffin plane - TBH I've a few of these knocking about. This is the best one and the one I use reasonably often. However, of all my oft used wooden plans this is the one I use least. I've had a couple of instances where it's worked better than the other plane I'd grabbed at the time. So it stays handy on the shelf with the others.
I've said before - I must stop buying planes.
 
You have almost as many smoothers as I have. I blame woodwork forums for my plane collecting disorder. Think I may be over it now as its been a few years since I last bought one. Before I got on forums I had a stanley 4 and a 5 plus a cheap block plane. I actually got by with that for years. Forums have taken my woodwork up a notch or two so the later planes have all been used. My trouble was I got the restoration bug and was always on a rust hunt for old tools to save. Sanity kicks in when you run out of space.
Regards
John
 
I made my own Moxon a while back. I found that the front board needs more of a slight horizontal slot rather than a normal circular hole. I had to modify with a drill rasp.
 
You have almost as many smoothers as I have. I blame woodwork forums for my plane collecting disorder. Think I may be over it now as its been a few years since I last bought one. Before I got on forums I had a stanley 4 and a 5 plus a cheap block plane. I actually got by with that for years. Forums have taken my woodwork up a notch or two so the later planes have all been used. My trouble was I got the restoration bug and was always on a rust hunt for old tools to save. Sanity kicks in when you run out of space.
Regards
John
It is a disorder. Perhaps we should start a support network.

Part of my problem is that I have only recently really got into this hobby and I work alone. So if I want to try different tools, the easiest route is to buy them. And as I still work, I can afford to. My brother has also taken up the woodwork, but he's gone the machines route (he only has two planes - there's no hope for him). I am still working out what works best for me. It's definitely hand tools over machines. I think I am narrowing it down, but I really should get rid of some of the kit I'm not using. My table saw for example.
 
I made my own Moxon a while back. I found that the front board needs more of a slight horizontal slot rather than a normal circular hole. I had to modify with a drill rasp.
Yes definitely. I used a combination of a gouge, rat tails file and rasps to open the holes horizontally. I'm not sure I've got it quite right yet but am waiting until the vice gets used in anger for a bit. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I didn't find myself opening them up a little more.
 
Yes the more horizontal slot at the front the better. I took the simple approach to a moxon. I had seen the benchcrafted hardware but really could not justify the cost. A couple of years ago a local tool company put out a hardware set at about half the price and I was seriously thinking about it. The only thing holding me back was the large amount of iron sticking out the front. For some years I had been using a bench bull. Just the back bit of a moxon and you clamp stuff to it. Its a very versatile system that works well.
Bench Bull, what is it and how to use it... - YouTube
My bench bull at work
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Does most of what a moxon does. I then got to thinking about what if it had a front jaw so took it a step further.
IMG_1675.JPGIMG_1678.JPG
Suits me well as I do a lot of stuff that's not square. I did a thread on this a couple of years ago if anyone wants to look back. (No cost Moxon)
Cost me nothing but some scrap wood.
Regards
John
 
I wonder if the body is bronze rather than brass. I've seen references to both. It certainly cleans up nicely and looks lovely.
It's brass. Definitely brass. The two main problems, apart from the overall "cheapness" of the planes, is that the brass can mark lighter coloured woods and it wears down a bit quicker - being softer than cast iron. However, having said that, they're still worthwhile tools if tuned properly.
 
. I took the simple approach to a moxon.

Me too, used some bits of CLS left over from mending the summerhouse. Slots cut on bandsaw, not pretty but fully functional. Once assembled you can just close it up and plane the top in situ so it all looks the same height and proper-er. Must have taken all of 20 minutes to make. One advantage of clamps is the flat bar, if you put bigger stuff in it just sits on the flat metal rather than a threaded bar so less likely to mark the work.
 

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