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Recently one of the leg vises in my shop cracked. The vise chop snapped and the garter on the wooden screw gave way. While I could repair the damage, I decided to replace the entire mechanism with a Benchcrafted Classic vise and a Crisscross Retro.

I have this setup on one of my other benches and it is, without question, my favorite woodworking vise. The Classic moves swiftly. I never pine for a quick-release vise. And the Crisscross provides constant and steady pressure no matter how thick my work is.

I like the setup so much that I’m also going to install it on one of the other benches in our shop, even though the existing leg vise is in fine shape.

You might be wondering about the other alternatives and why I prefer the Benchcrafted equipment. Here are my thoughts.

A Metal Screw
For years, I made leg vises with a metal screw designed for a shoulder vise, such as this one. These screws are robust and easy to install – I’ve installed dozens on benches through the years. Their only downside is they turn rather slowly compared to the Benchcrafted Classic and a wooden screw.

Wooden Screws
For a traditional bench or a traditional woodworker, a wooden screw is a beautiful thing. I use one from Lake Erie Toolworks on my French oak workbench. It looks beautiful and functions extremely well. So why not put wooden screws on all my benches? In a word: students. We have students and guests use these benches and they get abused.

Wooden screws can take a lot of abuse, but it is possible to snap their components. We’ve seen it happen.

So in the end, the Benchcrafted is the clear choice because it is vast and crazy durable. I don’t review new tools anymore because I make and sell tools. But I can offer an unreserved (and unsolicited and unpaid-for) endorsement of the Benchcrafted equipment.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, Benchcrafted carries one of our tools (a holdfast). The only reason we have this business relationship is because I love their products so much.

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