Lie-Nielsen’s heavy-duty chain-drive mechanism has recently been used to create two new vises from the Warren, Maine, tool manufacturer – a dovetailing vise and a leg vise.
I got a chance to use both new vises while in Maine in July, and am both impressed and convinced. By “impressed” I mean they are worthy of the Lie-Nielsen name. And by “convinced” I mean that I think the company’s chain-drive mechanism is a winner.
I eschew complexity, especially when it comes to food, marriage and workbenches. So I’ve been a bit standoffish about the chain-drive mechanism, which I first saw about four years ago at Woodworking in America.
But after using the mechanism a lot on the company’s Improved Workbench, I can find no fault with the way it functions, grips or endures hard use.
So take a gander at these two vises. The leg vise is available now. The dovetailing vise should be ready in about a month, according to Thomas Lie-Nielsen.
The Dovetailing Vise
Based somewhat on the Moxon-style vises, this heavy-duty brute features 18” between the screws, which makes it great for drawers and most casework. Both maple jaws are lined with leather and the chain mechanism clamps the work like a gator on a chicken leg.
You can buy the hardware for $285 or buy it with the jaws for $385.
The Leg Vise
Lie-Nielsen has been using this vise on its Roubo workbench, but it will also be available on the company’s Improved Workbench for an upcharge of $250. The chain-drive mechanism negates the need for a parallel guide or pin. In other words, it stops you from stooping.
It works very well. Surprisingly well.
If you want to add one to your workbench, the price for the hardware is $285. With the wooden chop, the price is $385.
Just five years ago, the complaint among bench builders was that there was almost no good bench hardware out there to choose from. Now there is so much good hardware that I regularly hear complaints about how they can’t choose.
— Christopher Schwarz
Interested in building a bench? Try these resources:
1. Everything I’ve written about workbenches on this blog since 2005. Click here.
3. These workbench books and videos I’ve written or been involved with.