We Were Wrong

When we designed and developed the VX20 leg vise hardware we thought this is it. It doesn’t get any better. This is one instance where it is good to be wrong! Our R&D department, working in conjunction with the engineering and manufacturing departments has been busy with a new concept that began about 4 years ago. The engineering department created an initial design while working with the manufacturing department to make sure the design could be made efficiently. The first prototypes were built in January of 2021 so we decided to call the new vise mechanism the VX21. We did a lot of testing and consequently there were a few different iterations of the design to get it zeroed in and working the way we liked. Now began the task of setting up for manufacturing. We had to make fixtures and purchase gages to allow us to inspect these vises to ensure that they will perform properly.

So here we are. It has been a long journey but it is very gratifying to work long and hard and finally achieve what was initially just a thought. There were many setbacks along the way and some moments where we weren’t too sure if this is going to work out. Thanks to many hours of laborious testing of the vise we have confidence that we have a great product. By laborious testing I mean actually clamping and unclamping a workpiece thousands of times in the vise and periodically clamping to maximum load with a force gauge and then tearing the vise apart for inspection. We then re-assemble the vise and repeat until we have confidence that the thing is going to last.

As Mr. T used to say, enough jibber jabber. Let’s get to the improvements of this vise. Below is the new VX21.

The New VX21 Leg Vise Mechanism Without Shaft Installed

We were tired of the same old black anodized finish of the VX20 vise hardware. We wanted the new vise to stand out so we decided to go with a bold orange anodized finish combined with an electroless nickel finish on the base. We hope that you agree this is a fantastic looking piece of hardware. You might notice from the picture that there is no clamp shaft installed. That is one of the improvements, a removable clamp shaft. We handled this issue with the old VX20 by giving our customers with a need to remove the clamp shaft dis-assembly directions so the clamp shaft could be removed. With the VX21 this is no longer needed. In some cases, it will also make installation a lot easier.

VX21 With Shaft Installed

The biggest changes are not visible in pictures. The VX21 clamp shaft travel has been increased by a whopping 88%. Clamp shaft travel is the clamping distance you have after the clutch engages and you begin tightening on your workpiece. You will never have to worry about running out of clamp travel. The other big change is an increase in clamping power or mechanical advantage. The VX21 has 3 times more mechanical advantage than the typical 6 tooth per inch (TPI) screw on other woodworking vises. There are numerous other improvements described below:

VX21 Leg Vise Features

Increased mechanical advantage:

Three times more mechanical advantage vs. 2 tooth per inch screw typical of most other vises. This equates to much greater clamping force with less applied force to the clamp handle. This is great for use with a metal handwheel because it affords less leverage than a long clamp handle. Additional design changes have decreased friction in the mechanism – also increasing mechanical advantage.

Increased clamping force:

The new VX21 vise mechanism has been tested with a force gauge and can easily apply over 1100 pounds of force!

Increased clamp travel:

A quick action vise gives you the best of both worlds by allowing you to quickly position the jaw against the workpiece and then easily apply a high clamping force. Typically, only a small amount of clamp travel is needed but the VX21 has an 88% increase in clamp travel over the previous VX20 leg vise mechanism. Total clamp travel of the VX21 is 3/8”. You’ll never run out of clamp travel.

Decreased package size:

43% decrease in package size with symmetrical design. Allows the mechanism to easily fit into tighter areas. Mounting base footprint of the VX21 is 2-5/8” X 2-5/8”.

Easier assembly:

Clamp shaft is easily removed without dis-assembly of the mechanism yet is retained when the vise is mounted. This makes assembly a breeze if you have issues with clearance to workbench members.

Ruggedized design:

The VX21 has a 66% increase in weight versus the old VX20 while decreasing package size 43%. The increase in weight is due to the increased use of steel and the massive one-piece aircraft grade aluminum anodized housing.

Steel base is electroless nickel plated (ENP) to prevent corrosion and creates a low friction, hard, wear-resistant surface. It also has a stunning appearance.

The mating internal part of the steel base utilizes a steel alloy with low friction properties and natural lubricity.

The aluminum housing is secured to the mounting base with 8 high strength steel socket head cap screws making an incredibly stiff and durable assembly.

New robust clutch system has been painstakingly tested through thousands of clamping cycles and is designed to last a lifetime.

Precision tolerances throughout:

Tight internal tolerances and accurate alignment through the use of precision steel dowel pins create a mechanism with silky smooth lockup and clamping. The accurate alignment creates low clamp shaft drag and very consistent performance.

No lube on clamp shaft:

Just like the old VX20, there is no need to grease or oil the clamp shaft. This keeps your work clean and does not attract dust and dirt.

Patent pending:

All of the various design improvements listed above have necessitated the need for a new patent filing. We believe this is the absolute finest and most robust vise mechanism on the market today!


  • Footprint: 2-5/8” square mounting base.  The housing protrudes 3” from the mounting surface.
  • Maximum jaw opening: 11-3/16” when used with a 1-3/4” thick jaw and a 3” thick leg.
  • Minimum vise jaw thickness required:  1- 3/4″.
  • Mounting: Simply attach to the rear of the bench leg with four #10 screws. Clamp shaft is supported on the front of the leg with a Delrin bearing.
  • Clamping action: Slide jaw against workpiece and clockwise rotation automatically engages quick action with 0.17” movement per rotation of handle.  Maximum clamp shaft travel is 3/8”.
  • Maximum force output: 1100 pounds force. Limited by handle strength. Mechanism is capable of higher force output.
  • Clamp shaft dimensions: 1” diameter X 20 – 1/4″ long.  Clamp shaft is removable but is fully retained in housing when installed.
  • Clamp shaft material: Steel, carbonitrided for a hard corrosion resistant finish. Precision press straightened.
  • Clamp shaft handle mounting method: All handles or handwheels mounted with stainless steel quick release pin through cross hole in the end of clamp shaft.
  • Lubrication: None required. Keep the clamp shaft clean with alcohol.
  • Finish: Corrosion proof anodized aircraft aluminum housing combined with steel electroless nickel plated (ENP) mounting base. Stunningly beautiful, and will stay that way.
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