Mini-Roubo from Oz #7: Fitting the Bench Crafted "Glide" Vise and "Criss Cross"

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Blog entry by siggykc posted 09-30-2019 07:50 AM 1371 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Mounting the tail vise and cutting the mortises for the workbench top Part 7 of Mini-Roubo from Oz series Part 8: Applying finish to the bench »

G’day folks,

It’s been a quiet one on my behalf as hayfever has struck me down the past few days due to the impending Spring here in Melbourne, Australia.

I noted that the readership went down on my blog, perhaps because I am a little long winded? Please let me know and I’ll try adjust my style of writing accordingly.

The Bench Crafted leg vise has now been fitted, and here’s how it went.

When I was happy with how the workbench top fitted to the base, I removed it. Those keen eyed blog followers will notice that I did not cut out the provisions for the leg vise when I built the base during the first phase of the project.
I did this on purpose, as at that point in time I hadn’t fully settled on the leg vise chop and location of the vise screw (the build is not based on the wonderful Bench Crafted Split Top Roubo dimensions).

So I cleared the floor and laid the bench on its side.
I have the Bench Crafted “Glide M” vise mechanism. This is basically the standard vise they are famous for, comprising of a “ship’s wheel” style crank and their “Criss Cross” mechanism to keep the chop parallel. The build quality is impeccable and fully justifies the price tag. It’s worth it just based on this.
Note that BC sells 2 Criss Cross designs; One is designed for new bench builds, whilst the Other is designed for retrofitting to a bench. I purchased the latter, as it can be removed at any stage and used on another bench that may already be built. When mounted, both designs perform exactly the same.

The Criss Cross mortise on both the chop and the leg were drilled out with a forstener bit (a good tungsten tipped bit is best, as hardwood does very quickly dull/blunt steel bits).
I then excavated the rest using a chisel, rounding the edges over with my trusty old router.
The 4 holes to mount the Criss-Cross mechanism were drilled under size and tapped with to 5/16ths. The machine screws that mount to this are absolutely bomb proof.

The 1” diameter vise screw dictates a hole is drilled through the vise chop. I used a the same 35mm forstener bit as what was used to excavate the mortises.
A bushing is then set into and flush with the front of the leg, for lateral location of the vise screw. I drilled this out using a holesaw and router. It’s recommended to drill this hole slightly oversized to accomodate a little movement and tweaking when setting up the vise, but if you are good with measuring, there is no need IF you factor in that the vise screw must be slightly off perpendicular to the leg in order for the necessary TOE IN of the vise to occur.

Above: My trusty Fein drill press has proven invaluable in its ability to come to the job. When drilling the hole all the way through the leg, I did ensure a block of scrap wood was clamped at the exit point of the drill bit to prevent any chance of nasty tearout- A 1/2 inch thick piece is sufficient.
Below: The hole drilled for the bushing using a holesaw, prior to me routing out to the depth of the bushing. Note 2 horizontal lines; one is the height of the exit hole at the rear of the leg, the other marks the entry hole at the front of the leg.

A tip I received was to pare a wee bit off the back of the leg where the vise screw nut is mounted, such that it is at the optimal angle for toe in. A couple of test fits as you go ensures the optimal angle is met without taking too much meat off the back of the leg.
I then rubbed some pencil on the nut and screwed it in place, clamped the vise a few times, then took the nut off to identify and eliminate any raised spots to ensure the nut was fully seated against the leg.

Above: Test fitting is free! and saves the headache later on of fixing an error in measurement.

When fitted correctly, the sheer mass of the vise wheel acts as a flywheel and will carry enough energy to allow the vise to close from fully open with a single firm throw/spin of the wheel. If it takes several spins, you have installed the vise in a way that too much friction is present in the mechanism, perhaps due to misalignment.

Again Lady Luck was on my side, and the result was that the vice chop was about 1/2 a mm proud of the bench top, thus leaving me with only a small amount to plane off for it to be level with the workbench top.

I’d say, the whole operation took me perhaps 2-3 hours, but I am pedantic and this was my first time. Skilled folks could easily do it in less time.
Below: The finished fitting of the leg vise, viewed from the front left and right sides.

Next step: The final touches/cleanup before I transport it to my place where I will varnish the bottom and oil the top.

Thus far I’m fairly happy with the result. I still have to build a shelf between the lower rails/stretchers of the bench, on which a 3 drawer unit will be mounted to store some tools. This will be done in the 2nd phase of the build perhaps a month from now or so.

The priority at the moment is to get the bench out of my father’s workshop so that he can use the space to build some kitchen cabinets.

Stay tuned!


-- Siggy,

4 comments so far

View Tom's profile


178 posts in 902 days

#1 posted 09-30-2019 02:30 PM

Looks like a really nice workbench. Nice use of hand tools and machines. Great results. It will look great in an apartment.

-- Tom

View MrWolfe's profile


1471 posts in 1134 days

#2 posted 09-30-2019 04:04 PM

Great bench and will be a pleasure to use!
I like the beefy chop on the leg vise.
Thanks for the walk through.

View siggykc's profile


23 posts in 589 days

#3 posted 09-30-2019 10:51 PM

Looks like a really nice workbench. Nice use of hand tools and machines. Great results. It will look great in an apartment.

- Tom

Thanks for the compliments Tom, yeah I live in a flat with a tiny single car garage that is used for storage as well as a very small workspace. The idea is that perhaps in 3-4 years when my partner and I make the move to a slightly larger place, I will build a full sized 7 or 8 foot long bench and retire this one to being an assembly bench or a feature in a home office.

Great bench and will be a pleasure to use!
I like the beefy chop on the leg vise.
Thanks for the walk through.

- MrWolfe

Hey thanks MrWolfe!
Aye, I didn’t want the chop to flex or bow, and I figured from a perspective point of view anything thinner would look odd on a bench with such thick legs, rails and top.

The idea was to have this blog as a resource to those who may want to build one of these for the first time. There are quite a number of subtle things that could accidentally be looked over which would cause headaches to a first timer.
Sure if you build several of these a year for clients, you can iron out the mistakes very thoroughly, but considering that most who buy the BC hardware are doing it for the first time and as an endgame final bench build….this blog is aimed at the latter crowd.


-- Siggy,

View AJ1104's profile


1243 posts in 2670 days

#4 posted 11-14-2019 02:02 AM

Siggy, thanks for sharing this amazing build. Good luck using your wonderful bench!

-- AJ

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