Friday, September 28, 2012

Crisscrosss Pricing

As promised, below is pricing on the forthcoming Benchcrafted Crisscross.

We'll be offering the Crisscross in two separate configurations depending on the installation method. Either version will work with any leg vise.You don't need a Benchcrafted Glide to use the Crisscross. 


Crisscross Solo  $99 (pictured above)

The upper ends of the Crisscross arms pivot on two 3/8" steel rods. In order for the Crisscross to function properly, these two rods must be parallel with each other, and perpendicular to the two arms. If you're building a new bench (or a stand-alone vise) where you can drill accurately for these pivot rods using a drill press, the Crisscross Solo will suit your needs. All necessary hardware is included to install the Crisscross Solo with a leg vise of your choice. This version will take less time to install than the Retrofit (see below). However, the Crisscross Solo is less forgiving to install. You need to be accurate about your pivot rod locations and get them straight through the leg and chop. If you make a mistake, you'll have to relocate the pivot rods. We'll cover this in detail in the forthcoming installation instructions.

Crisscross Retro $139 (pictured above)

If you'll be retrofitting a Crisscross to an existing bench, where it would be difficult to drill deep, straight holes for these pivot rods through thick wood by hand (since it will likely be impossible to drill an assembled bench leg using a drill press) the Crisscross Retro will be the better choice. The Retro includes two machined cast iron brackets that automatically provide accurately positioned pivot rod holes. All you have to do it excavate a slightly wider section of the mortise in your leg and chop, and simply screw the brackets in place. No deep drilling required. You may choose to use the Retro version even in new construction, in order to simplify the process and help achieve accurate pivot pins.

Glide Leg Vise w/ Crisscross

We're also offering a special price when you purchase a Glide Leg Vise along with a Crisscross. (These packages DO NOT include roller bracket hardware, which are not needed with the Crisscross)

Glide Crisscross Solo: $399

A Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise with a Crisscross Solo. Everything you need to build a Glide Leg Vise with a Crisscross, except for wood.

Glide Crisscross Retro: $439

A Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise with a Crisscross Retro. Everything you need to build a Glide Leg Vise with a Crisscross, except for wood. This includes the two machined brackets.

Benchmaker Packages 

Split Top Roubo and Shaker Benchmaker's packages will also be available with the Glide Crisscross.

Split Top Roubo Benchmaker's Package w/ Glide Crisscross Solo: $809

Split Top Roubo Benchmaker's Package w/ Glide Crisscross Retro: $849

Shaker Benchmaker's Package w/ Glide Crisscross Solo: $829

Shaker Benchmaker's Package w/ Glide Crisscross Retro: $869

Pre Ordering 

Crisscrosses, Glide Crisscrosses, and Benchmaker's Packages with Crisscross are available for pre-ordering now on our Store page

Special discount for past Glide customers

For customers who purchased a Glide leg vise between February 1st, 2012 and  September 1st, 2012, we will offer free domestic shipping (a $16.00 average value) on both Crisscross Solo and Crisscross Retro. This, of course, does not apply to other purchases. It's for the Crisscross Solo or Retro only. For international Glide owners, we'll give a prorated discount. Inquire for rates.

To get free shipping, simply order a Crisscross, then include a note with your order stating that you bought a Glide between those dates.

Lead times

Ship date for the first run of Crisscrosses is December 3. If we complete the run early, we'll ship before then. Depending on demand, we may sell out quickly. Order now to increase your chances of getting your Crisscross soon. 
More info

To view everything we've published about the Crisscross, follow this link. This includes installation details, dimensions, demo videos. Everything. In the coming weeks we'll update the website with a Crisscross page and installation instructions.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crisscross Installation - A Preview

For the past week we've been putting in long days packing vises. Yes, we're happy to say that we're shipping vises again. If you've ordered in the past two months (ouch!) your vises may have already gone out, or you'll be hearing from us very soon about shipping details. So keep your eyes peeled for notifications in your inbox. By this time next week, all open orders should be filled.

Now, for those of you who are looking to install a Crisscross we have some good news. We've been preparing some drawings for you. We don't normally recommend that you cut into your bench before the hardware is in hand. But in this case you can feel fairly safe in doing so. The mortise for the Crisscross is fairly straigh forward. It'd be pretty hard to goof up. If you're not 100% confident though, better wait. Study the drawings and instructions carefully and lay out everything in actual size on your bench parts before cutting anything. A couple weeks ago we prepped nine benches for Crisscrosses, so we've got virtually all the install bugs worked out. If you have any questions or concerns, post them as comments below so all can benefit.

The best way to excavate the long Crisscross mortises is on a drill press with a large Forstner bit. This will hog out tons of material in short order. Then clean up the little crescent shapes with a router and fence, or simply with a paring chisel.

You can also do your base joinery based on the drawings in the PDF.

If you have a Glide in hand (or other leg vise hardware like a simple bench screw) do not install it yet. There is an installation sequence to be followed to allow the Crisscross and Glide (or bench screw) to work best with each other. We'll cover that in more detail when the Crisscross instructions are finalized.

Now I'm sure you're wondering when the Crisscross will be available, and how much it will cost. We're very close to having pricing finalized. Should be within a week. As for production date, probably sometime in November. Definitely well before Christmas.

Here is the link to download the PDF:

Crisscross Installation Preview

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gallery of Benches

Take a look at some of the benches produced by members of Marc Spagnuolo's Wood Whisperer Guild. Click here for the gallery.

Marc has made some changes to the Guild site of late, but most notably you can now purchase projects ala carte. The Split Top Roubo is $100. Right now, this is as close as you'll get to one-on-one instruction on building our bench. We've seen all the videos. They are excellent. Marc has solid techniques, but he also offers alternatives for those versed in different schools of work.

Definitely worth the money if you're a beginning woodworker looking to build a solid bench.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Teaching At Kelly Mehler's, or How To Build A Bench In a Tropical Storm

Last week I drove through the remnants of Hurricane Isaac towards Berea, Kentucky to teach a week-long class in building our Split Top Roubo bench. After 10 hours driving through constant rain, I was hoping for clear skies the rest of the week. And that pretty-much guaranteed that it would rain during the entire class.

Building nine full-size benches in any shop is demanding work, so the plan, as it usually is at Kelly Mehler's Woodworking School, is to do the big, heavy work outside in the yard. But how does one do that when its raining at the worst possible moments?

Tarps. Shouting. Scrambling. Cursing. Tarps.

By week's end, the yard in front of Kelly's looked like a rainy day at Woodstock. And any one of the motley crew of haggard woodworkers could have doubled as walk-ins on an episode of Dukes of Hazzard. Except for Mike. Where do you get those self-renewing clothes? He looked as fresh at 9pm as 9am.

I learned a few things last week about building two tons of hard maple workbenches in wet conditions.

- Blue-colored tarps, no matter how thick, or how expensive, by default are always junk.

- Other-colored tarps are also junk.

- It always starts raining when everyone is upstairs in the middle of a glue up

- When the humidity is 99% and you drill a hole for a metal part to go through, 2 minutes later you'll need to redrill that hole because it will have shrunk. After another 2 minutes, redrill again. Repeat for every 2 minute interval thereafter.

- Vise manufacturers should forget, no REALLY forget, every metalworking tolerance when building ten benches in one week.

- When hard maple gets wet it looks really pretty. It also sticks to every cast iron machine surface like Looney Tunes Acme glue.

- Wear saftey glasses when 10 people start whacking drawbore pegs. Oak shrapnel!

- It's actually possible to install a Benchcrafted Tail Vise in the rain. But I wouldn't recommend it.

- A 4" thick, hard maple workbench top that has sat out all night in a torrential downpour will be wet (and pretty) in the morning, but it will be just fine. Like Kelly said, "that tree's been through a lot in its lifetime" (a little water isn't going to hurt it.) A 4" top is prit near indestructible.

I'm convinced that school director Kelly Mehler, who prepped the thousands of board feet of hard rock maple required for the class, is some sort of hybrid being with Olympic energy, patience, wisdom, and wit. Someday I will return to Kelly's as a student. That may be my only ticket back in the place!