Excellent operation, easy installation, only one small problem

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Review by jusfine posted 05-27-2013 12:50 AM 9686 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent operation, easy installation, only one small problem Excellent operation, easy installation, only one small problem Excellent operation, easy installation, only one small problem Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently installed Benchcrafted hardware in my new bench, and used their new Crisscross system. I had heard it was going to be available, and waited for it’s release before ordering my hardware.

The one thing I wasn’t keen on with their previous style of leg vise hardware was the constant adjustments you have to make with the pin as you vary the size of the stock being clamped.

With this system, that pin is eliminated, along with the parallel guide and roller supports.

The mechanism works great, all that is required to install it is a 1 5/16” mortise in the leg of the bench and the inside of the chop, and to carefully drill a parallel hole in the leg and chop.

The mortise is substantial, so I would recommend using nothing less than 2 1/4” to 2 1/2” thickness for the chop. That way you still have some “meat” left although in theory you should not need much.
I used a 1/2” carbide upcut spiral bit with a plunge router and an edge guide to create the mortises.

Everything in the package: the crisscross members (2), a center pin with lock washers, two pieces of flat iron with holes and screws, and two steel 3/8”dowels. These dowels are to be trimmed later to fit your bench leg and the vise. I am planning on cutting the dowel short and filling the holes with wooden plugs, as I really don’t see a need to remove it. Plugs could always be drilled out if required.

The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, they have added some information recently which explains the “toe-in” of the vise and stating that the hardware does not allow the chop to close flush to the leg at the bottom.
I recessed the steel plate and excavated the mortise slightly more than the plan to get it closer to closing flush. To me, it just looks better.

The only issue I had in installing this hardware was sourcing a long enough 3/8” brad point bit. I wanted to drill the holes before shaping the chop as I think it is more accurate.

I found a 6” brad point, even an 8” auger bit which was just short, the next auger bit length jumped to 18” and that was out of the question.

I was discussing my frustration with the search for a 3/8” long bit with a friend of mine, who stated he had purchased a set of 12” long brad points about 20+ years ago and he remembered where he had stored it (it was new and never used).

Don’t know how he did that, sometimes I can’t remember what I did this morning…

The instructions actually warn you about drilling this hole, ensuring it is accurate as that is what the mechanism rides on, if it is sloped and rides to one side, it will not close properly.

Fortunately, with the correct and long enough drill bit, mine works perfectly.

The alternate to drilling the holes is to buy the Retrofit crisscross, which is encased and requires a larger mortise at the top.

I recently posted my blog on my workbench build, where you will see more photos and description of the assembly and installation.

Let me know if there are any questions, or if there is info I should have added.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3697 days

5 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3627 days

#1 posted 05-28-2013 04:11 PM

Great review Randy,
looks like a neat system and easy to use


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View StevenAZ's profile


4 posts in 2595 days

#2 posted 05-28-2013 09:05 PM

I hope to get this in the future. Thanks for the review.

View Scott Seganti's profile

Scott Seganti

15 posts in 2831 days

#3 posted 05-29-2013 11:19 PM

I am currently putting a video together which details the crisscross installation.

My approach to drilling the holes (for the Solo version pins) was to cut the mortise first then carefully mark the layout lines for the pins on both sides of the leg (and chop). I then drilled (on the drill press) from each side of the leg (and chop) and into the mortise. If you are careful with your layout lines and your drilling, the two holes line up perfectly… alleviating the need for a long drill bit.

-- Scott Seganti :

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3697 days

#4 posted 05-29-2013 11:56 PM

Scott, I did consider it when I first struck out with my brad point bit search, but if the drill press is out at all in either plane, you will not have a good result.

Glad to hear yours worked out for you, let me know when your videos are up.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3775 days

#5 posted 06-01-2013 07:27 PM

Sounds like a great addition. Actually, I wondered how this vice was able to be so securely hold the wood, now I know

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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