Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Glide Pre-Order Last Chance

Today is the last chance to get our new Glide Leg Vise for $299. After tomorrow it goes up to $325, that is if we remember to reconfigure our shopping cart!

Thanks to all the customers who have purchased the Glide during the pre-order period. We're still shipping vises daily, and more are in the queue.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bench For Sale

When we built the above bench for showcasing our vises at various events, we never thought we'd get so much interest in the bench itself. In fact, at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event we participated in in Chicago last month, we had nearly as much interest in the bench as in the vises themselves!

We anticipate a similar response at the Woodworking in America event in St. Charles, IL in August.

So we are in the process of building a larger, second bench to meet some of the needs of this larger event. The bench will be for sale at the show.

The bench will be outfitted with our Benchcrafted Tail Vise and our new Glide Leg Vise. The top will be split down the middle like our travel bench (this offers numerous workholding advantages) and will feature square dog holes with wood dogs, various holdfast holes in the top and legs (two Gramercy holdfasts included) sliding deadman and shelf. The top dimensions will be approximately 24" x 84"x 4" thick. The bench will be available for pick-up at the end of the show.

The bench will be set up for right-handed woodworkers. That is, unless you are a left-hander and are particularly eager to get your hands on this bench (drop us a line, we haven't cut any wood yet).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Glide Pre-Order Pricing Ending Soon

Next Tuesday is the last day to get our new Glide Leg Vise for the pre-order price of $299. After Tuesday, the price will be $325.

We've shipped the first batch of vises this past week, and more go out every day. We're looking forward to seeing the Glide appear in benches all over the country (not to mention a few international customers as well!) in the coming weeks and months.

Once again, the next chance to see a Glide in the flesh will be at Woodworking in America in Chicago, IL August 14-16. We'll have two benches outfitted with our vises at the show, with an assortment of fine hand tools to try the vises with. We will also have an assortment of Mag-Bloks available.

Plus, we're using the WIA event to debut our next product. It's a small, inexpensive tool that we think will be a welcome addition to any fine woodworker's arsenal. We hope you'll stop by if you're in the area.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Glide Leg Vise Now Shipping!

As of yesterday, the first batches of Glide Leg Vises shipped. For those of you who took advantage of our pre-order price (and there's still a little over a week left for those who haven't) at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Cincinnati, your vise is either on it's way, or is scheduled to ship within the next few days. We're pleased that we're about a week ahead of our initial goal of shipping the first Glides by July 1!

For those who have a vise on the way, or would like a closer look at how the Glide might work in their bench, we've just uploaded the complete installation instructions for the Glide, along with a series of templates. You can download those from the Glide page, or directly here:

Glide Installation Instructions

Glide Templates

If you're still on the fence about purchasing a Glide, you still have about a week and a half before the pre-order pricing expires.

If you'd like to see the Glide in person, the next chance will be at the Woodworking In America Conference in St. Charles, IL August 14,15, and 16. If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello and give our vises a test drive. The conference marketplace, where all the vendors will be set up, will be open to the general public. This is the best place in the country to try out and purchase the finest hand-woodworking tools that we know of. Well, other than the next WIA in October, which we're also attending.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Left-hand vs. Right-hand Wagon Vises

We get a lot of questions about which Benchcrafted Tail Vise to purchase, left-hand or the right-hand model.

There is some confusion about the differences between the two. This should clear it up.

First of all, the screw in both vises is identical. They both turn the same way to adjust the vise. Clockwise to advance the dog block, counterclockwise to open the vise. Typical righty-tighty stuff. The sliding plate assembly is the part of the vise which determines the handedness. The right-hand and left-hand versions are simply mirror images.

Here you can see the difference. This is a right-hand vise.

And this is a left-hand vise.

Either vise can be used in either end of your bench.

Two factors determine which vise to choose:

1. Obviously the first is your dominant hand--in other words, which end of the bench you'll install the vise. If you're left handed, you'll install the vise at the left end of the bench, and vice versa.

2. Dog-hole placement in your bench, that is, how far back from the front edge the holes fall.

We'll focus on the second factor, since the first one is a given.

We recommend that when building a new bench you place your row of dog holes as close to the front of the bench as possible. This makes working narrow boards more convenient. But with benches with flush-to-the-front and thick legs, this usually places a dog hole right over a leg.

The solution is to drill a cross hole through the leg directly below that dog hole so you can access the dog (see above). You'll also need to continue the dog hole down through the leg so it meets the cross hole.

If you don't want to hassle with this step, or you're retrofitting a vise to a bench that already has dog holes far into the bench top (past the leg), you'll want to choose the opposite-handed vise for your installation. Using the "wrong" vise in this situation will place the handwheel closer to the front edge of the bench than if you had used the "correct" vise.

Let's look at some pictures to illustrate.

This is a right-handed vise installed in a right-handed bench. Notice that the handwheel (and screw) fall behind the dog holes.

This is a left-handed vise installed in a left-handed bench. The handwheel and screw again fall behind the dog holes.

Here's a classic example of using the "wrong" vise because of dog-hole placement. This is Christopher Schwarz's Roubo bench. He installed the vise as a retrofit. His dog holes are positioned far from the front edge of the bench, about 6" back so they clear the legs. He installed a left-handed vise in a right-handed bench. This places the handwheel and screw in front of the dog holes. This makes the vise more convenient to use since the handwheel is closer to the front of the bench.

This is what it looks like from the underside.

Using a mirror image of Chris' bench, we can see what the same arrangement looks like in a left-handed bench. This is a right-handed vise installed in a left-handed bench. Again, the handwheel is positioned closer to the front of the bench for convenience.

From the underside.

For some more info on Chris' installation and templates click here.

Hopefully this will clear up any confusion about which vise to get. If you have any questions, please leave it in the comment section.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sneak Peek....

It's been a LONG time since the last batch of custom One-of-a-Kind Mag-Bloks. Monday morning at 8am CST a large batch of 30, including Cocobolo, Zebrawood and some Morado, will be going up on the website.

Don't miss out, these usually only last a few days and you never know when we'll do more. It's been many months coming.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Glide Gets Some Screen Time

The past week has been pretty busy here at Benchcrafted. The first run of Glides is nearing completion for early July delivery (we're on schedule!), and we've been putting our noses to the grindstone preparing detailed and thorough instructions so customers can get the absolute best performance from their Glides. To guarantee a good manual we went ahead and installed a Glide on an existing Roubo-style bench, writing the instructions based on this install. (That's a shot from the installation instructions above).

The install was relatively easy, and thanks to the templates we provide. All the parts were quick and easy to make. The great thing about the Glide is how versatile it is. Your vise will work like clockwork if installed correctly, but you can personalize the wood components (because you make them) so your Glide will be completely unique. We think this is really cool.

When we finished up the install and the installation instructions, we couldn't help but celebrate a little and put the vise to work. So we grabbed some wood and some tools and started making shavings. I love making furniture, but who said playing around with tools isn't a blast too? This might be the first woodworking vise that's actually fun to use.

Oh, one more thing. The camcorder was handy, so...