Until recently, workbench hardware on the market was so pitiful that you were better off looking for vintage vises and screws for your new bench. These days, however, woodworkers have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to workbench accessories.
Earlier this year, Benchcrafted released its latest vise design, the Benchcrafted Classic. It’s an all-metal screw designed for use in a leg vise. While the Classic is based on 19th- and 20th-century European vises, it exceeds them on every point.
For starters, this vise is fast. Thanks to a double-lead, Acme-threaded screw, the vise travels 1⁄2″ per revolution of the tommy bar and still manages a death grip on your work. Like all Benchcrafted equipment, the machining on the vise screws and nut looks ready for the International Space Station.
Instead of your typical gloppy paint job, the vise’s hub, collar and tommy bar are “Parkerized” – a durable and rust-resistant surface finish typically used on firearms. The finish is matte, but if you rub it with some fine steel wool it will adopt a deep black glow.
But the sweetest thing about the vise is, surprisingly, the tommy bar itself. The bar has a detent in the center of its length. The hub has an adjustable spring-loaded plunger. This allows you to lock the tommy bar in the center of its length for rapid adjustments. A slight tug on the bar pulls it out of the detent and allows you to really crank the pressure if needed.
When paired with the Benchcrafted Crisscross parallel guide, the resulting leg vise is remarkably fast, smooth and has a tenacious grip. And when you add those features to the prime advantage of a leg vise (lots of clamping surface), you will have a vise that eclipses every quick-release vise on the market. The Benchcrafted Classic costs $195.
Web site: Benchcrafted
Blog: Learn more about the Bosch VAC140A on our Editors’ Blog. To Come.