This device is basically two pieces or "arms" of metal or wood, equal in length, joined in the middle to create a pivot. The upper ends of the arms (also on pivots) are joined to the bench's leg and the chop. The resulting mechanism not only maintains a parallel opening, but also supports the weight of itself, the vise screw, and the chop.
The beauty of the mechanism is its simplicity. In modern times this mechanism has become known as the "St. Peter's Cross", taken from an early 20th c. publication describing it as such. We eventually acquired a 19th century version of the St. Peter's Cross, and used it to prototype our version, the Benchcrafted Crisscross.
The Crisscross Retro
The Crisscross Retro features two cast iron brackets which house short pivot pins that attach to the arms. You don't need to drill any holes for pivot pins with the Retro, which makes it a better choice if you're retrofitting a bench with a Crisscross. You can also use the Retro in a new bench, even if you have access to a drill press, if you'd prefer the installation method of the Retro. The arms in both the Solo and Retro are identical. The difference is simply in your installation preference.
Variations on a Theme
Although we designed the
Crisscross alongside our Glide Leg Vise, it pairs perfectly with any leg vise
hardware, be it a metal bench screw, or a wood screw. Both work excellently
with the Crisscross.
The Crisscross can also
be used to build auxilliary vises with any vise hardware, such as a high leg
vise for detail work.