Until a few years ago I had never heard of nor seen a leg vise. The buzz around leg vises, in particular the Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise, has been growing over the past few years. This is likely in response to Oprah, errr Schwarz and his penchant for workbenches and accessories. I chose to go with the vise screw from Lee Valley and build the rest of the leg vise parts myself. This do-it-yourself thing is good on some levels (financial for one) but not so great when you get an idea into your head that won’t go away.
Chris Schwarz has been regaling the community with the benefits of a Croix de St Pierre, or St Peter’s Cross and its incorporation into a leg vise. I was intrigued by the mechanics of this and wanted to pursue making one myself just to see what was involved. I experimented. I used steel L bar, which wasn’t at a true right angle and still has the ability flex quite a bit. Into the scrap bin that went. I tried steel box tubing. I actually got quite a bit of success playing with this on some scraps, using the already purchased vise screw. So why does it not appear below in the pictures? I found other points of failure. I used hinges to hold the bars to the chop and leg, only to find that they were neither strong enough to not buckle under the pressure nor was pine a good substrate for the screws that held them in place. The other setback was how the pine (which is what my base is made of) allowed the bars to compress the leg enough to put the whole mechanism out of square. (more…)