The New Cheetah™ Leg Vise – Fast, Agile, Sleek and Powerful

When I developed the VX21 quick action hardware I also wanted to upgrade the parallel guide system. The X Link system is good, but I wanted something that was easier to install and did not require adjusting or toe-in like a scissors type guide. I played around with a few designs that locked a lower shaft, but they were just too complicated. I also considered a linear bearing type locking system, but I find them to be finicky and they don’t work well when you are trying to move the jaw quickly. Here is a demonstration video:

I decided to create a design that didn’t need the jaw to be parallel to the leg. The unique curved shape of the jaw easily allows clamping no matter the angle of the leg. The other end of the mechanism rides in a simple retainer block made of wood. The jaw is also customer made and just requires a roundover profile which is wrapped with cork rubber. Four machine screws mount it to the assembly. A very rigid framework with a pivoting block completed the design. This design also has the added benefit of multiplying the motion of the handle. As the handle is moved the jaw travels 1.7 times faster making this an extremely fast mechanism. The shape of the mechanism and the speed reminded me of the cheetah, so that became the name.

The rigidity and the design make this vise very efficient too. There is very little wasted motion, and the clamping force is transferred into the workpiece without a lot of excess flexing. I found that it clamps so well that cork rubber was not required on the benchtop like a typical leg vise. You may still add it if you like, but personally I like the work flat against the benchtop, it feels more rigid to me. With the cork rubber on the benchtop, you may get a little more protection for your workpiece and a little more friction, but the work will have a little bit of motion due to the give in the cork rubber.

The Cheetah™ leg vise also works very well on an angled leg. The design is very light allowing it to be moved very easily without support from a scissors type mechanism. Since it is self-supporting the angle of the leg does not affect it like a traditional leg vise. This will make an excellent vise for a Moravian style bench because you can mount it directly to the angled leg and the short length of the Cheetah™ will not interfere with stretchers or other features of the leg. This also eliminates the need for an additional vise mounting board. The angled leg mounting also has the advantage of being able to secure longer boards in the vise for dovetailing or sawing etc. You may of course mount this vise on a separate mounting board if desired. Below are some of the Cheetah™ leg vise advantages.

  1. Super-fast action – clamping jaw moves at 1.7 times the speed of the handle when sliding in and out.
  2. Super easy to install – no mortising into the leg required. no deep drilled pivot holes required. simple.
  3. Strong effective clamping – rigid design transfers more clamping power directly into the workpiece.
  4. Beautiful unique one-of-a-kind design. You will be the envy of your woodworking friends. a nice contrast of gleaming metal and wood.
  5. Works great on angled legs – excellent for Moravian/English joiners style benches. may be mounted directly to the angled leg of the Moravian bench eliminating the need for an additional vise carrier board.
  6. Short overall length – adds to rigidity and does not interfere with lower stretchers.
  7. No toe-in or any kind of adjustments needed – simple elegant design.
  8. Ruggedized patent pending design – crafted of aircraft grade aluminum using high strength steel fasteners and pivots.
  9. Fluid easy motion  – the jaw may be moved easily and swiftly in and out using under 1 pound of force!
  10. Options of hand wheels or tommy bar style handle allows customization.
  11. Good tool clearance – the small unobtrusive wooden clamping jaw allows easy access to your work.

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