A popular mechanism for maintaining parallelism in vise jaws began to surface in the American patent record in the mid 19th century. There are also examples of this mechanism published in the La Forge Royale catalog, Paris, late 19th to early 20th c.
This mechanism features two castings, equal in length and joined in the middle to create a pivot. The upper ends of the arms are fastened to the bench's leg and the chop and are free to rotate on their mounts.The resulting mechanism completely eliminates the need for a traditional parallel-guide and pin arrangement.
Although the mechanism was never given a specific name, in modern times it has become known as the "St. Peter's Cross", a name taken from an early 20th c. publication describing it as such. During the development stages, we found several extant examples of the St. Peter's Cross, and used them to prototype our version, the Benchcrafted Crisscross.
The Crisscross completely transforms any leg vise into an effortless experience. Fully supporting the weight of the chop, the vise hardware, and its own weight, the Crisscross floats in and out on steel pins and bearing plates, giving a virtually weightless, friction-free action to the vise. The mechanism automatically adjusts through the range of your vise's capacity to any workpiece thickness.
Both our Glide and Classic Leg Vise come equipped with a Crisscross, but you can purchase a Crisscross separately to pair with any leg vise hardware you wish, including inexpensive imported bench screws, to finely crafted all-wood leg vise hardware. Both work perfectly with the Crisscross. Wood screws have the distinct advantage of speed with their fast pitch, and when matched with the action of a Crisscross the result is fantastic. Quick, easy adjustments and the classic look of wood.
The Crisscross can be installed into new benches, or retro-fit to benches with existing, parallel-guide equipped leg vises. It can also be used to build accessory vises with any vise hardware, such as a full-size high leg vise for detail work.