BENCHCRAFTED Classic Leg Vise
In the 19th and early 20th century, many vocational schools and commercial shops in France and its colonies were outfitted with Roubo-style benches and metal leg vise hardware. French hardware is typically made entirely of metal, whereas hardware from Britain and America usually features a T-shaped iron casting fitted with a sliding wooden handle. Benchcrafted designed theirs around the French model for better function and looks. Researching extant vises and benches, Benchcrafted discovered a number of features that have all but disappeared from modern vise manufacture. They have incorporated these, plus a few of theirs own, into the design of the Classic Leg Vise.
Most modern vises use a single lead acme thread. Depending on pitch, these can function slowly, but with precision and control, or more quickly. Screw pitch and travel should be matched to the vise’s purpose. Fast isn’t necessarily better. Tapping and threading metal for double-lead screws is risky and costly, as the thread is very aggressive, and massive amounts of material must be removed.
Face vises are generally used for a relatively narrow range of thicknesses, but when used in wider positions, the convenience of opening the jaws quickly and efficiently is a plus. Ergonomics can accomplish this, as with the massive handwheel of the Glide Leg Vise, or speed, as in the case of the Classic, which uses a double-lead acme screw. The Classic moves as fast as typical wooden vise screws, 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) of travel per turn.
Radiused Hub and Flange:
The mating surfaces of the flange and hub are machined to a 5” radius. This allows the parts to nest together and distribute clamping pressure over a wider area, especially when holding slightly non-parallel work.
The sliding handle is machined with a v-groove detent centered along its length. This detent engages with a stainless steel spring plunger in the center of the hub, allowing one to quickly center the handle and thus balance it to spin rapidly for quick, gross adjustments. In most cases, one can leave the handle centered after holding your workpiece. The spring plunger tension is adjustable. A tighter setting makes it easier and quicker to center up the handle, but may inhibit the handle from sliding as freely. There is a sweet spot that allows quick engaging with the spring plunger, and free sliding simultaneously. The plunger can be completely disengaged if desired. The spring plunger also allows repositioning of the handle so it’s not interfering with your work or your body. Leather shock washers further refine the handle’s function.
The Classic is made from machined steel, but Benchcrafted wanted it to have the look of darkly patinated forged hardware. To get close to this (and not break the bank) they Parkerized the handle, hub and flange. Commonly used on high quality hunting rifles, Parkerizing (or Manganese Phosphate) is a process which darkens the raw steel, which is first sandblasted, while also providing wear resistance and lubricity. The process is more expensive than black oxide, yielding a more durable surface with an attractive dull black-gray look. A rub down with fine steel wood and a coat of light oil helps give the parts a vintage look, further lubricate, and provide excellent corrosion protection. See installation instructions for further details.
The Classic is designed to be used with the Benchcrafted Crisscross for best function. The Crisscross completely supports the weight of the Classic hardware and a wooden chop while completely eliminating the need to adjust a pin (parallel guide). With proper installation, the Classic with Crisscross operates with virtually zero friction.
Angled Leg Vises:
The Classic Crisscross, or Classic Hardware Only will both work well for angled leg vises, as found on English-style workbenches. Because of the off-vertical forces placed on the Crisscross mechanism, you'll experience a slight reduction in friction-free action. The vise still moves freely in and out, just a bit less than a vertical leg vise. Benchcrafted does not recommend building your vise any more than 15 degrees off the vertical axis if using the Classic Crisscross.
Weight 4.3 kg
Classic Leg Vise Box Contents (Picture)
- 1 Hub
- 1 Flange
- 1 Main screw
- 1 Handle assembly (1 handle, 2 mushroom nuts)
- 1 Main Nut
- 1 3/16” x 1-1/4” groove pin
- 1 Acetal bushing
- 2 #12 x 1-1/2 round head wood screw (for flange)
- 3 #9 x 1-1/2” round head wood screw (for main nut)
- 3 #9 x 1-1/2” round head wood screw (for acetal bushing)
- 1 spring plunger
- 2 leather washers
- 1 piece suede
Note: Cross parts not included! The Classic Leg Vise must be paired either with a Crisscross Solo or with a Crisscross Retro. See items below!
Original Benchcrafted Instructions for Classic Leg Vise