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Crisscross, David Barron, and Danish Oil walk into a bar... #1: The Crisscross

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Blog entry by CL810 posted 215 days ago 1223 reads 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Crisscross, David Barron, and Danish Oil walk into a bar... series Part 2: Mortise and Dovetail Tenon ala David Barron »

In case you’re stopping here without seeing the project post, here’s my bench.

Benchcrafted’s Crisscross has been covered before I’m sure but I’ve only seen one posting about it by Jusfine. So I thought I’d cover a couple of points about it. First, the reasons I went with the Crisscross was I wanted a pinless leg vise to avoid bending over. I know there are other devices that work as well, but this one just suited my eye.

For me,the most critical step in the Crisscross install are the holes that must be drilled through the leg and vise chop for the 3/8” mounting pins. The Crisscross’ arms hang on these pins. (For more detailed description and pics visit Benchcrafted’s instructions here.) Since these pins will set the vice chop’s orientation to the bench it is imperative that the holes be straight both horizontally and vertically. I have to admit that drilling a hole straight through 9” of cherry intimidated me. Ultimately it turned out not to be as much of an issue as I feared it would.

I marked where the exit point of the hole should be before I drilled and here is the result.

It’s off about 1/32 of an inch. It turns out that there is enough play between the Crisscross and the wooden screw that it is not an issue. The vise chop is off about 1/32 as well.

It may be hard to see with the suede on the chop, but there is a very small gap at one end when the chop first comes into contact with the bench. But because there is some play the issue goes away immediately as the vise is tightened just the slightest. I mention all this because while I wouldn’t want to be off much more, there is some give in the situation.

A leg vise comes into the bench at a slight angle. When the vise is closed there is a small gap between the bottom of the chop and the bench leg.

What determines this gap is a steel plate in the bottom of the mortises. The bottom part of the arms ride against this steel plate.

To increase the gap you can add sheets of paper behind the steel plate(s). To reduce the gap you can recess the plate(s) in the mortise. I recessed the plates maybe a 1/32 of an inch. After I did this I noticed that in addition to reducing the gap, it significantly increased the strength of the vise’s “grip.” I’m guessing that comes from more surface area of the chop coming into contact with the board being clamped.

If you are going to install a Crisscross I would recommend you read Jusfine’s blog post about it. Both of these issues are covered and with more pictures.

The leg vise is great and the Crisscross is working flawlessly.

Next up, David Barron.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."



9 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1052 posts in 719 days


#1 posted 215 days ago

That is one beautiful and massive sturdy bench!* Just how thick is it? Are the cutting board type ends really necessary for flatness or simply for excellent flat endgrain covers? What means did you use to flatten it so perfectly? I see no dog holes either square nor round. And, those dove tailed-mortised leg joints are superb. The deadman will serve you well. Suppose ya call it a Franken Roubo? I chose to build the 21st Centry bench and find the split top useful, but the trays do catch lots of dust and plane shavings; but can be dumped in the trash easily. Thanks for your reply.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4284 posts in 569 days


#2 posted 215 days ago

I guess I’ll have to favorite this one in case I wanna upgrade….

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

View CL810's profile

CL810

1873 posts in 1575 days


#3 posted 215 days ago

Thanks Russell. The top is 3.5” thick. I added the breadboard ends for a more finished look. I used a router sled to flatten the top. There are round dog holes 1.5” from the front. Kinda hard to see but they’re there.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1052 posts in 719 days


#4 posted 215 days ago

Thanks!

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

312 posts in 551 days


#5 posted 215 days ago

Before David enters the bar… :-)

Andy, how heavy are the chop and Crisscross hardware? How much vertical load does it give to the screw?

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View stefang's profile

stefang

12428 posts in 1921 days


#6 posted 214 days ago

A beautiful bench and the leg vise looks very good too and no fussing with the criss cross in place. Good call!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CL810's profile

CL810

1873 posts in 1575 days


#7 posted 214 days ago

Yuri, the chop and crisscross do NOT bear on the screw. The crisscross actually holds the chop “up.” The garter is then placed on the screw and then mounted to the chop. So the only stress on the screw is tightening the chop.

This is a photo I took when I was fitting everything together. On the left is the front piece of what will become the leg. On the right is what will become the chop. You can see the mounting pins that the crisscross arms “hang” on. There is no screw in place yet and the only thing holding the piece of wood in place is the tendency of the crisscross to close itself.

I don’t know if you saw this in the Workbench Smackdown thread or not. But this blog shows how to make your own St. Andrew’s Cross or Crisscross. With your skills I’m sure this would be a piece of cake. Here Benchcrafted’s Crisscross is only $99.00 so it may not make sense for us to make our own. But I doubt if Benchcrafted products are being sold in Russia so it might be of interest to you.

Hope that answers your question.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

312 posts in 551 days


#8 posted 214 days ago

Andy, it surely does, thank you. I’m pretty happy at the moment with chain-driven leg vise, but it’s good to have an option for the future.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View mafe's profile

mafe

9413 posts in 1676 days


#9 posted 212 days ago

You have really done it here!
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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