It Might Not Be A Moxon, But It Works For Me

As I get older and creakier I become increasingly attracted to 1) Japanese woodworking techniques — what’s not to like about a system that depends on you sitting down for most of the work, except for all that contorting and hip-snapping posturing while working, and 2) working while standing up straight so you don’t have to bend over all the time.  I think #2 is a big reason we are seeing a renaissance of interest in woodworkers building and using Moxon style vises.


I have not yet gone there, although I will, but my current project of building a writing desk in the style and technology of the early 19th century is drawing me to an old tool I bought on Craiglist some time ago but am only now using it on almost an hourly basis.


This old vise, purported to be from Amish Country in northern Maryland or southern Pennsylvania, is a miniaturized version of the leg vise that was nearly universal on woodworking benches for two centuries until the advent and popularity of German or Scandinavian style contemporary benches.


I love that this miniature leg vise fits perfectly into my upturned Emmert, yielding a work space that is perfect for fashioning curvilinear components.

I think I will some day, maybe even some day soon, replicate the ingenious design of Shannon Rogers’ workbench, of which a portion is a standing height Moxon and the other portion a standard height Roubo-type. (photos courtesy of Shannon Rogers)

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