Taking cues from early French prototypes (commonly referred to as an "etau(x)" which is simply the French word for vice) BENCHCRAFTED has gone a few steps further and made improvements and refinements over the historical versions. The body of the vice is designed to be much stronger, yet more compact with its inset arms and single clamping screw for attaching the vice to a workbench or table. The movement of the chop is smooth and light, thanks to the new Crisscross Nine (for 9 inch) that not only supports the weight of the chop, but also provides a counter force to the clamping action of the jaws, keeping the pressure equalized for excellent holding power with little effort. The rolled acme screw is highly polished (a result of the thread-rolling process) and runs in the nut smoothly. The sliding handle is outfitted with a central V-groove which, when positioned midway in the hub, engages with a spring plunger that centers the handle in the hub. This resulting balance allows rapid and fluid adjustment of the vise and in most cases, enough leverage to clamp your work firmly. The spring plunger is adjustable to allow the handle to disengage easily when more leverage is needed. Integral leather washers prevent the annoying banging and pinching of typical sliding metallic vice handles. The two-piece garter is machined to a smooth finish on its inner diameter for a free-spinning and easy action with the groove in the hub. The hub arrives with the screw installed, no assembly required. The black oxide finish helps prevent rust and will age to a nice patina with use.
Anticipating the varied needs of woodworkers Benchcrafted designed the HiVise to work in a wide variety of mounting applications. The basic HiVise can be built with a batten that attaches to the back of the leg. This batten can be held to your work surface with a pair of simple clamps, or with two holdfasts. If your bench is outfitted with the BENCHCRAFTED Tail Vise, you can build the HiVise with an integral cleat that slips down into the jaws of the tail vice and is held firmly in position. Mounting and dismounting the HiVise here is extremely quick, just a few seconds and you're there. Building the version with the mounting screw allows it to be mounted to virtually any surface as thick as a monolithic workbench top all the way down to 3/4 inch (19 mm) banquet tables. It can also be mounted to a saw bench for seated, close work, or as quick shavehorse. The swivel pad on the mounting screw features a friction pad that, along with strips of Crubber under the upper arms provides a tenacious grip with the work surface. A fourth version is so simple BENCHCRAFTED didn't bother writing about it in the instructions. Build the basic vise without the cleat or batten, and simply hold the leg in a traditional moving-block tail vise. The advantage of this method is instant height adjustability. You can also use this naked version of the vise flat on the benchtop, like an over-built handscrew clamp.
The HiVise is the sort of bench appliance you didn't know you needed until you tried one. That may sound like an exaggeration, or sales jargon. At the risk of stating the obvious once again, BENCHCRAFTED uses every product they manufacture in their own shops, on a daily basis, and have a close network of professional and accomplished amateur woodworkers who regularly test BENCHCRAFTED products during the development stage. The applications for the HiVise are numerous. Once you have a leg vice whose jaws extend above the surface or your bench (unlike a typical face vice) you can hold all manner of work that break the typical shape of a flat board. This allows you to hold curved chair parts with ease, and more importantly, gain easy access to that part for working with hand tools such as spokeshaves. Another application is tweaking through mortises or paring end grain. Getting the work raised up to chest height allows you to use your whole body for power, while maintaining excellent control. Cutting small dovetails on small drawer parts is also a great task for the Hi Vise. It also excels for sculptural work involving carving, rasp or file work. The portability of the Mounting Screw means you can take a box of tools and the vise to the park and work at a picnic table, off the back of an RV, or give woodworking demonstrations at the local club or trade show. The HiVise simply fills a niche for those times when typical bench vises aren't quite up to the task. It's no wonder that the 19th and early 20th c. French manufacturer of woodworking tools "At The Royal Forge" offered nine different versions of this vise marketed to stair builders, last makers, armchair makers, etc. There is even one version called the "gentleman's vice" alluding to its general versatility among hobbyist amateurs of the time.