Hand Tools

Bill and David

Wiley Horne
The thought that what we now call the ‘Moxon vise’—a small portable double-screw that sits on top of the bench—actually dates to Chris Schwarz about 10 years ago has me really curious. Curious on 2 accounts:

1. The actual Moxon vise c. 1700 is not functional as pictured in his book, though he shows it at benchtop height. There is a mistake or misunderstanding at work. It’s been said Moxon lifted his idea from Felibien, but didn’t know how the double-screw was actually mounted.

2. The double-screw vise has a long history. I was enamored of the first double-screw I saw pictured, which was an engraving in The Workbench Book, of a large double-screw mounted at bench height, and dating from 1595 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Since I have no problem sawing tenons and dovetails on a full-size double-screw at bench height, and since the same setup appears to have been used in Nuremberg in 1595, it makes me wonder if this was a very typical arrangement in the olden tymes.

But in any event, it would be interesting to me to see what workers of the day actually did. Any references? Felibien? Roubo?


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