Last week we began shipping Crisscrosses to customers. I'm proud to say that we were a couple days early this time!
One of the first persons to order a Crisscross was Jeff Miller. It was at Jeff's shop during a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event that we first announced the new Crisscross and Jeff was quick on the draw when we opened ordering a few weeks ago. Jeff received his two Crisscrosses on Friday and installed them over the weekend in two benches he had ready and waiting. He says they are running sweetly.
We've been receiving numerous emails lately about whether we're going to be offering a bench class somewhere next year. Right now the answer is maybe. I can't be specific, but we're trying to arrange something very unique. It definitely won't be for everyone, and it may not even happen. It's too early to say for sure. This is all the info I have at the moment.
If you are looking to build a Roubo bench in 2013, Jeff Miller is once again offering two classes to build the bench that is on the cover of the current issue of Fine Woodworking's Tools and Shops issue. We can't recommend a better place to build a bench in 2013. Jeff has perhaps installed more of our vises than anyone except us. So you can be assured of a great experience and a great bench.
As promised, we also built a leg vise last week using a wood screw and a Crisscross Retro. And it works great. We don't make wood screws, but there is a certain appeal to wood screws on a traditional bench. And now with the addition of the Crisscross, they are simply awesome. Here's why. Wood screws are fast, but like any vise (metal or wood) they also have mass, so any gravitational pull is going to slow them down, and make them feel not so nice. The Crisscross counters gravity by floating the chop and screw, so all you feel when you turn the handle is the screw in the nut-- no downward force at all. Much like a leg vise with roller brackets (like our Glide), only better since you don't have to move the pin. So you get the speed and charm of wood, without the choppy gravitationally-challenged action you typically see. We love it. Incidentally, we used an ash screw from Big Wood Vise for this apparatus (we turned our own handle.)
We didn't have a dedicated bench to put this in, so we built a high leg vise that clamps to any bench. These taller leg vises are great for detail work. You can get the work right up next to your chest and get great control. I've had a similar version in the shop for a few months now and I find myself heading for it quite regularly. If you want to build one like it, we recommend using a wood screw with the Crisscross, since the vise will be lighter and easier to store. You can of course use a Glide, but for an accessory vise its going to be heavy, and a tad pricey for occasional use. Go with a wood screw.
Follow the Crisscross installation instructions, which we'll have up on our downloads page in a day or two.