Sketchup to the Rescue

by Patrick Harper - Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust


While reviewing the instructions for my Bench Crafted leg vise, I realized that the location of the tenon for my front stretcher was going to interfere with the mortise of the criss-cross. Bench Crafted provides details on how to work around this if you’re using their nuts and bolts. However, I wanted to stay as traditional as possible and drawbore the stretchers. I quickly turned to SketchUp to see what could be done.

After tinkering around a bit, I discovered that the solution wouldn’t be difficult at all. I need to move the location of the mortise for the stretcher back a bit. I want to have at least half an inch between the two mortises. The original location was 1 1/4 inch behind the front edge of the leg. Moving the mortise back to 2 inches gives me room to spare. I will also need to thicken the front stretcher in order for it to remain flush with the front of the legs.

Leg Joints

Criss-cross Mortise on the left, and stretcher on the right

Crisis averted.

The only thing I have left to do is layout the dog / holdfast holes, and design the vise chop.

If you’re not yet using SketchUp for your projects, I would highly recommend you look into it. The software is free and there’s a great instructional series on

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index