Thursday, August 30, 2012
Crisscross Update - Video
Hard to believe it will be September in a day. It seems like we just got back from the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Jeff Miller's where we first showed the new Benchcrafted Crisscross. That was back in April.
Between our new handwheels and the Crisscross we're just about ready for a week off. But nope, we're trudging forward to get the Crisscross in production as soon as we can.
This past week showed some great progress. First off, we picked up a small batch of the first castings of the Crisscross arms and the brackets that attach the arms to your bench. And over the past weekend we machined up the first pre-production samples to test out the castings and our machining process.
We still have few small details to work out, but our pre-production unit is singing. If you've been following along, you know that the prototype was quite large. The production model is 6" shorter, and actually works better than the prototype as a result. The Crisscross can be used in benches as short as 30" (even shorter if you mount the screw a bit higher in the leg.) The jaws will open to about 9". Way more than you'll ever need. The cool part is that the chop glides in and out no matter how open the jaws. And coupled with our Glide Leg Vise, the thing is just a ton of fun to operate, and not to mention, effective. The vise holds wood like, well, like crazy. Compared to a standard leg vise with a parallel guide and pin, the Crisscross gives a little more ease when approaching the final grip. You have more feedback. With a pin its more abrupt and crisp, especially with a thick chop. Feel-wise, one isn't better, its just different. My own personal opinion is another thing. I'll be retrofitting my bench with a Crisscross as soon as I can. I never minded moving the pin, but did I enjoy it? Well.....
If you don't have a Glide, can't afford one, or just don't like handwheels (what's wrong with you?), the Crisscross works like the traditional leg vise of your dreams when paired with a plain-jane bench screw, metal or wood. Well, we haven't tried one with wood yet, but it will work fine. We'll get one mounted up with a wood screw and report back.
The vise in the pics and video was built with a rather long "leg" portion. This was done to operate the vise at a convenient height, and also so the screw would not interfere with the bench the vise is temporarily mounted to. The length of the chop here is 33", so pretty typical for a standard bench. There is over 8" between the screw and the top of the chop (in other words the top of the bench.) You will see some lateral motion in the chop as the vise is operated. This is completely intentional and built into the vise during the machining process. A vise needs a certain amount of give in specific areas, just like a fine suit.
We should have pricing by the end of the month (September, not tomorrow!) and hopefully a release date as well.
Here's a short video.