First Look at the Crisscross

Most parties seem to end up in the host’s kitchen. But at my house, most social occasions end up in the shop. Perhaps I should get some Bench Cookies to use as coasters.

Nah.

A little more than a week ago, Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted stopped by as he was headed to Berea, Ky., to teach a bench-building class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking.

Near the end of the evening, Jameel fetched a working prototype of his Crisscross mechanism from the back of his truck. If you aren’t familiar with the device, check out the video on the Benchcrafted blog.

Jameel walked us through the installation – it sounds easy, even as a retrofit. But the highlight was getting to actually use the the thing. I’ve never minded moving the pin in the parallel guide in my leg vise – it’s the smallest annoyance in what is my favorite style of vise.

But the Crisscross mechanism is a game-changer. It made my favorite style of vise even easier to use.

Score another one for Benchcrafted. I will order one as soon as Benchcrafted takes orders, and I will be replacing the leg vise on my 2005 Roubo with all-new Glide and Crisscross hardware.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. A note for the safety police: Yes there is a beer on the bench. No sharp tools or machines were used while drinking.

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to First Look at the Crisscross

  1. Robert Justiana says:

    It just gets more and more difficult to postpone building my Ruobo…:)

  2. Kelly says:

    Did he give any idea of cost or when they would start taking orders?

    • lostartpress says:

      I’m sure I asked that, but I didn’t write it down. Sorry.

      • Mitch Wilson says:

        Jameel told us down in Berea that they will start taking orders shortly and that the price has yet to be determined but it won’t break your budget. Oh, and think carefully about design if your bench is, say, 28″ high. It’s a tight fit on the leg for the CC and vice nut combo. Trust me.

  3. Patrick says:

    You know, if you’d played your beers correctly, your 2005 Roubo would already have the new hardware on it.

    Also, does it actually hold any better than the parallel?

  4. Jonas Jensen says:

    It looks like some really nice wood on the vise. Is it Maple?

  5. Steven Davis says:

    You may find the recent bench build and wedge-based vices by shipwright over at Lumberjocks interesting. I’ve only been woodworking for a couple of years, but his approach to toolmaking is very interesting: http://lumberjocks.com/shipwright

  6. cmhawkins says:

    All this frenzy could lead to having demand much greater than supply. Then we could end up with order backlogs and higher pricing. If he strikes it rich with the Crisscross, he might retire and then we would lose a source of great new tools. ;-)

  7. billlattpa says:

    Very nice, but I will stick with the parallel guide for now. Though it is a very minor annoyance it is still an annoyance nonetheless. One day it may drive me over the edge and I’ll have a crisscross on there.

  8. mattwilson says:

    Red’s Rye by founders…now that’s good stuff. Oh yeah, the criss cross is pretty nice too

  9. Brett says:

    Chris’s poor 2005 Roubo bench is going to start looking like Michael Jackson’s face after all the plastic surgeries.

  10. KenOfCary says:

    That thing looks rather large. I’m wondering how it will retrofit with my Erie wooden screw which I really like the asthetics of.

  11. Scribe says:

    So, in other words:
    “Jump, jump
    The Mac Dad will make you, jump, jump
    Daddy Mac will make you, jump, jump
    Kris Kross will make you jump, jump”

  12. Scott Cherry says:

    Founders Red’s Rye PA. Well chosen. The vise is nice too.

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