Thursday, March 28, 2013

Narayan's Vises

No, this is not going to be a post about high-end photography equipment, Chicago-style beef, or Bollywood movies on VHS. 

This post is about Narayan Nayar's Moxon bench. 

We get a lot of emails about how to mount our Moxon vise in a permanent bench. We don't recommend it. The Moxon is best utilized when you need it, and stored out of the way in the meantime. 

That is, unless you have room for a dedicated joinery bench. 

And we can't think of a better pairing of a permanently-mounted Moxon than what Narayan has done here: mounted it on a compact slab on a Noden Adjust-A-Bench. 

Joinery Bench

The Noden allows quick, easy, and rigid height adjustment for dialing in the perfect position for sawing dovetails.

That would be an easy thing to accomplish with a fixed-height bench. But what makes the Noden quite useful in this case is its ability to double as a bench for kids.

Marking it out

I have an old benchtop in my personal shop with a Noden base, and it is just perfect for growing kids.

Another advantage of the Noden base in this application is for dovetailing long boards. If you're building the Jefferson bookcases the 48" case width will mean the end of your board is too tall even for an auxiliary Moxon on your main bench--the board will be up past the jaws too far. You'll need to raise the Moxon up even more, and with a Noden this is easy. It's not every day you're dovetailing such long boards, but it does happen. You may need to rig up some scaffolding to get your body up higher too. I lay a couple 8/4 boards on the ground in front of the bench.

To read more about Narayan's joinery bench, click here.

We try to keep Moxon vises in stock at all times. Right now, they are in stock.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Broken Fingers

Customer Matt O'Neill has recently retrofitted his gorgeous Split Top Roubo with a Crisscross. Take a look at Matt's Broken Fingers Woodworking blog to see more.

Matt has not only has good taste in workholding, but also in vintage machinery. Nice work Matt.

He's also a pretty darn good furnituremaker.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Campaign Bench in Mahogany

Is there such a thing as a campaign bench?

That's the question I found myself asking when an email dropped into our inbox a few months ago. There was no text, no greeting, nothing. Just pictures of a gorgeous piece of mahogany furniture glowing with a first-class finish.

But what was it?

I'll let customer Steven Decker do the explaining. After some light prodding, he eagerly sent us an explanation of his creation. Steven is active duty military, so maybe this is a campaign bench after all?

Fair warning: Steven's description contains colorful language.


And behold when I was done . . .when I knew I was 100% fully finished . . .I starred in awe, in wonder. And then I quaked at its beauty, I buckled at the knees, threw up and shit my pants it was so beautiful! As one needs to look at an eclipse of the sun through a pinhole in a piece of cardboard so too was I . . . OKAY YOU GET THE POINT!

1- Domino XL tenons are awesome for a build like this! Especially if you have never done tenons and do not want to pin tenons either.
2- For every action or modification there is a reaction or consequence. Making the end piece wider / thicker will have an impact upon the hardware that secures the handwheel on the tail vise. Remember this when modifying things.
3- Remember the height capacity of your planer. 10” does fit into 8.5”. Now what?
4- Best to beadblast any and all galvanized hardware (nuts, bolts, washers) before hitting with flaxseed oil. Remember only the part seen needs to be prepped.
5- Get wood to S4 then fit it up. Do not let it sit around a month or so, you will have to rejoint and replane, even just a tiny bit for it to be S4, even in a climate controlled shop.
6- Tapping screw threads is intimidating but actually very easy.
7- When drilling holes for ½” bolts for the stretchers, drill holes that are 5/8” so there is wiggle room to help you in lining up the bolt and the barrel nut.
8- Read the directions! READ THE DIRECTIONS! READ THE DIRECTIONS! (Not that I didn’t . . .a friend of mine didn’t).
9- Potassium Dichromate is incredible on wood, especially Mahogany. Be careful, it can be dangerous, but so can skydiving, firing belt fed machine guns and turkey cookers filled with boiling peanut oil. Some people write like it will kill you faster than a JFK headshot if you are careless with it. If you drink it yes it will probably kill you. Wear gloves, be aware of the dust, clean up.
10- Festool is awesome
11- Festool Dominos are great during wood glue ups for keeping wood from sliding all over the place.
12- Using extended stay glue with a longer open / set time is nice for large glue ups when you are alone and trying to match it up and glue it up all together.
13- Set up, place, open and pre-stage your clamps so the glue up goes fast and efficient.
14- 5” - 6” Foam rollers are cheap and a fast way to spread glue efficiently.
15- Best way to put a 6’ Mahogany Roubo bench in your living room?
A-    Notice the contemporary / IKEA like TV stand (clearly out of place) among all the manly wood, cast iron and steel furniture in your living room and tell wife it is out of place.
B-    Tell wife, (don’t ask) you are replacing said IKEA TV stand with something more manly and practical, like a 6’ Mahogany Roubo Bench (She won’t believe you and think it’s the whiskey talking, even if you haven’t been drinking whiskey).
C-    Install / Place manly Roubo Bench / TV stand when wife is at work.
D-    Do not be in house when wife comes home to see new “TV stand”
E-     Be in the garage starting the building of the 7’ quartersawn oak / twin wagon screws/ Twin Crisscross/ 30” wide Roubo bench with a 55 lb. patternmakers vise
16- If you have questions, call / email Benchcrafted.
17- Benchcrafted is awesome!

- This was my first major build project. Totally worth it! Be patient, take your time. Know that inevitably you will make mistakes here and there. We all do, get pissed then fix it. When you are done you will stare at it in awe. I get to fake like I am watching TV, when in reality I am watching the Bench.
V/r Steven Decker, Gustav Christos Furniture Crafters.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crisscross Update

We were having some issues with some of the Crisscross arms and brackets picking up some slight surface rust on their way from the foundry. Nobody wants to receive rusty goods, so from here on out we're finishing the Crisscross arms and brackets in a satin black. It doesn't affect installation or function, it's entirely cosmetic. Normally we like to keep everything natural, so customers can have the most options when it comes to finishing their vises, whether it be with baked flax, a bit of paste wax, linseed oil, or nothing. We also personally prefer the look of cast iron in its natural state.

But since the Crisscross parts are mostly hidden once installed, we went ahead with this satin black. It looks completely traditional.

In fact, the satin black parts look much like the natural cast iron. See both in the picture above.

We shipped out the last raw iron Crisscross some weeks ago. If you have a Crisscross currently on order, you'll automatically receive the new satin black parts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Original-Style Moxons for $129


We still have a few hardware-only Moxon vises (with our original handwheel design) in stock. If you'd like to save a few bucks, we're offering these at a discount off our normal price of $149. We have them boxed up and ready for delivery. These are the very last ones, and after these are gone, we won't have them again with this style handwheel.

You can of course purchase our Moxon vise with our current handwheels anytime for $149.

These are brand-new vises. The price is $129 plus shipping. To order one, send an email to us and we'll send you an invoice.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Come To Handworks....Buy A Bench

If you're attending the Handworks event this May, we will have a brand new Split Top Roubo bench for sale at the event.

We built this bench late last year to shoot some new pics and videos for the website, then we pushed it to a safe corner of our warehouse where it sits patiently, awaiting its future destiny.

The bench is made from select and better eastern hard rock maple.

Dimensions are straight from our plans. 24" wide, 87" long, and 35" high. Top is 4" thick. End cap is joined to the front laminate with condor tails.

The bench will be on display at Benchcrafted's booth at Handworks all weekend where you can test out the vises and workholding with a variety of hand tools.

We won't ship the bench, you must pick it up at Handworks. We will gladly help you load it.

As a bonus, we're throwing in a Complete Moxon vise, value $399.

The price for all this sweet workholding? $4000. If you would like to purchase this bench in advance, drop us a line at 

Update 3/26: The bench is sold.