Three and a half years ago we made our first "etau" or what we now call our Hi Vise so we could take a prototype to the first Handworks event.
Now that the Hi Vise is officially for sale we can say with a bit of regret: we put this off for too long.
The new Hi Vise is quite the thing. Compact, portable, versatile. But if there's one indulgence we're guilty of with this one, its making something just because its cool. This little unit has a certain charm to it that says "lets make something fun." The other side of the coin is, it's a powerful vise that will give you the opportunity for control and precision that you may not have experienced before.
The Hi Vise is like a blacksmith's post vise for woodworkers. It gets stuff up at chest height where your eyes are closer to the work, you elbows are closer to your body, and your tools can be moved in a more efficient way. I'll never forget Peter Galbert's technique I learned during a class for how to move your body when turning a long spindle. And it sounds counter-intuitive. Begin in an uncomfortable position, and end your movement at a comfortable position. We can't have the perfect body position at all times for every operation. But we can make the best of it, which is why Galbert's technique is perfect. The Hi Vise puts detail work in that zone of comfort that you can't get with regular bench vises. Once you work at chest height when the task demands, you'll never monkey around with anything less. On a personal note, my Hi Vise (yes, I got the first one off the line) is either on the right end of my bench, or sitting below on the shelf, ready to mount at a moment's notice.
One application of the Hi Vise we haven't touched on much during development: as a permanent leg vise in its own right. It's 5 -1/2" capacity between jaws is more than enough for typical furniture making requirements. And it's robust construction (overbuilt, as we like it) means it can hold its own in more demanding situations. Although we don't recommend it for a full-on bench build, we can't think of a better leg vise for a small detail bench, or even a children's bench. The Crisscross Nine's diminutive size would also allow the Hi Vise to be built into short assembly benches as well, or even height-adjustable benches like the Noden Adjust-a-Bench.
Two Ways To Buy
The Hi Vise can be built in a number of ways (see our assembly and construction notes for all the details) but for purchasing purposes, we're offering it two ways: The Hi Vise and The Hi Vise with Mounting Screw. The Hi Vise can be built to mount your bench with clamps, holdfasts, in our Tail Vise, or in a traditional moving-block tail vise. If that's how you'll use the vise, simply purchase The Hi Vise for $189.
Here's what you'll get in the Hi Vise box (plus a few fasteners and Crubber):
All you need to complete your build is wood.
If you'd like to build the version that allows you to quickly mount the vise to any surface without tools, clamps, holdfasts, etc. you'll purchase the Hi Vise with Mounting Screw for $259. You'll get a box with the Hi Vise, plus another, separate box with this inside:
To read more about the Hi Vise, see our Hi Vise page.
To download the assembly and construction notes, click here.
To order your Hi Vise, see our store page.