Crisscross – installed and in use
I’ve got a Crisscross from Benchcrafted mounted on my newest bench and I must say, I never really liked adjusting the parallel guide pin, and now I don’t have to any more. The vise is still smooth as silk (if I spin the hand-wheel hard, it will rotate up to 15 times – I counted), and the grip is still as tenacious as ever. And no setting of the parallel guide pin!
Did I mention that I didn’t like setting the pin?
There’s another benefit as well; installation was easier than dealing with the parallel guide as well, and there’s less to go out of adjustment with seasonal changes to the wood (or clamping with the pin set incorrectly).
What’s different? Other than not having to set the pin (!), the vise has a slightly more nuanced grip. With the parallel guide, the vise would grab with a great deal of force right away. Now, there’s about a quarter-turn between first contact with the workpiece and fully tightened. That actually makes it easier to grip something lightly, not much harder to grab all the way. There’s a little bit of toe-in built into the mechanism, and that quarter turn seems to take the chop from toed-in to parallel with the leg. I haven’t had any issue with the bottom of the chop pulling in too far (I tried).
It did take a few days of use to get as smooth as it is now. That may have something to do with a little bit of breaking in on the threads, or perhaps it was a slight misalignment in how I set the acetyl bushing. In any event, the vise has gotten better as I’ve used it.
I’m going to retro-fit the Crisscross onto two other benches, but that may have to wait until over (or after) the holidays.