There is a lot of activity in the workshop at the moment, which meant that somehow I forgot to post the last part of my series on the Moxon vise build. With the woodwork completed, and the last coat of Danish oil applied to the oak, the final stage of the Moxon build was to fit a layer of suede to the inner face of the front jaw. This suede greatly increases the clamping force of the vise, and also protects the work. Benchcrafted kindly provide as part of their kit a piece of suede large enough to cover one jaw of the vise, although if you want to have both jaws lined you’ll have to find a second piece of suede large enough yourself.
As the suede was a little oversized for my jaws, I first taped round the edge of the front jaw with blue painter’s tape to protect the finished surface from any glue squeeze out. I also lined the holes for the threaded rod with blue painter’s tape to stop them becoming gummed up with glue. I then coated the inner face of the jaw with a thin and even layer of Titebond, making sure that there were no dry spots. Although you can buy upholsterer’s leather glue, I found that the Titebond held the suede in place without any bleedthrough.
To fit the suede in place I treated it very much like I would wall paper (clearly all the decorating last year paid off) – folding the suede loosely in from the edges, and placing the middle section of material on the gluing surface. I then gently unfolded the suede a little at a time, smoothing it out with palm pressure but being sure not to over stretch the material. Once I had ensured that there were no wrinkles or bubbles, I placed the rear jaw on top of the suede as a clamping caul, and pressed the whole assembly together with wooden clamps.
Once the glue had cured, I trimmed the excess back with my Bluespruce Joiner’s knife and a rule (for the long edges) or (tri-square for the ends). Several light passes with the knife was enough to cut through the suede and leave a clean edge, and I cut away small squares of material to allow the threaded rods to pass through. Then it was a case of re-assembling the vise and checking everything still worked smoothly. The heavy cast iron wheels glide along the acme rods, and work is held in a rock solid grip.
I have a couple of dovetailing projects coming up this summer, and am looking forward to pressing the vise into use.