The other headline I considered for this blog entry was: Fare thee well, pinheads.
As I sorted through the box of castings and metal bits in my Benchcrafted Crisscross kit tonight I wondered if this would be the box that finally banishes the pin from my leg vise.
Since 2005, I’ve been using a parallel guide on my leg vise that is adjusted with a metal pin. The pin pivots the vise’s chop into my work in the correct place, giving it a superhuman grip.
But to adjust the pin, you have to stoop. I don’t mind stooping all that much, but I also didn’t mind doing homework in high school until I was freed from it in 1986. After I tasted it, I hated homework.
There are other ways to avoid the pin – read about them here in this earlier blog entry.
But I chose the Crisscross.
As with all objects coming from the Benchcrafted family, the Crisscross is a superb piece of workmanship. The sand-cast arms of the Crisscross are beautiful, as are the brackets that hold them. I can barely wait to get the thing installed to see how it works.
Plus, I have been waiting for this particular piece of bench hardware since Benchcrafted announced in May they were going to make it. TO prepare, I have been lurking on eBay to find the perfect old iron vise screw that will match the Crisscross.
Earlier this fall, I found it. It was a screw that hadn’t ever been used. Other than a little surface rust, it was factory-fresh. I even have to gin up a garter and way to attach the nut to the inside of the leg of my vise.
And that brings us to a curious part of this blog entry. Where the heck am I going to install this new leg vise with the Crisscross?
That’s easy: On the back of my 2005 Roubo workbench. Lately, I’ve moved my workbench so it is perpendicular to the window in the shop – it used to be under the window and against the wall. I did this for two reasons: No. 1, photography. It’s easier to take photos when you can set things up on either side of the workbench. And No. 2, I have company in the shop quite a bit.
Because of my current book projects and furniture commissions, I’ve had other people working alongside me in the shop. And sometimes we both need to use the leg vise or the end vise.
So to make things easier, I’m converting my 2005 Roubo workbench to a “partners’ workbench,” with vises on both faces of the bench. This Crisscross and vintage vise screw will go onto what was once the back of the bench and was forced against the wall.
I’ll keep you posted on how the installation goes – it will be a retrofit, so it won’t be as easy as installing it on a new workbench.
— Christopher Schwarz
We have a lot of books and DVDs on workbenches in ShopWoodworking – including downloads of my first two books on the topic at a special price. Plus a DVD that follows me as a I build an 18th-century Roubo bench by hand.