Face Vise, always on the left ?

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Forum topic by TMcG posted 12-30-2010 09:40 PM 1521 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 3029 days

12-30-2010 09:40 PM

So I’ve just built a more sturdy workbench, the FWW Plywood version and I left space on the left to mount a face vise but standing here looking at it, are face vises always on the left ?

Given I’m a righty, does that make sense ?

What’s the reasoning/logic/history behind that position ?


8 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3012 days

#1 posted 12-30-2010 10:13 PM

I’m a lefty so for me it works, but I see no reason why you couldn’t mount it on the right or wherever is most comfortable for your personal comfort. After all your the one who will be using it.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3144 days

#2 posted 12-30-2010 10:18 PM

what´s works best for you , even in the mittle if you feel for it :-)


View TheDane's profile


5448 posts in 3691 days

#3 posted 12-30-2010 10:23 PM

I am right-handed, and I expect a vise to be on my left side. The bench in my Dad’s basement was that way, as was the workbench in the bowling alley where I worked as a kid, and on the 3 workbenches I have built myself in the last 40 years.

I think it has to do with the way I work. I instinctively do pretty much anything to my right, which means I need as much unrestricted space as possible on that side. Thus, it makes sense to have the vise (or whatever I am using to hold the workpiece) on the left.

My Dad was ambidextrous … he could do most things equally well with his left or right hand. The exception was writing, where he could only use his right hand. When he was in the Army, he fired Expert on the M1 rifle … twice … both right and left. Any lefties who have ever fired an M1 will attest that that is no small accomplishment.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 12-30-2010 10:35 PM

When hand-planing right-handers usually grab the front knob with
the left hand. Think about this and you’ll see why the vise is
on the left side of the bench. If I wanted to use a plane left-handed
I would want the vise on the right.

View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 3029 days

#5 posted 12-31-2010 12:04 AM

I guess it depends on whether your planing from the front or the end, either way the workpiece will be on your right side

Think I will drill some dog holes and see what feels right


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2999 days

#6 posted 12-31-2010 02:06 AM

I’m right handed and put my vise on the left. The vise and the bench are holding my work, saw in my right hand and I can catch my offcut with my left hand. Then as said before, it’s natural to plane “right to left” for a right hander.

I just built my variation of that FWW plywood bench last spring and I love it. Made my top 4 layers of 3/4” AC plywood with a replaceable MDF and hardboard top layer. I banded the top with hard maple and faced the legs with red oak. I did not use the 3/4” sheet goods for the closed ends; made stretchers both directions. I embedded the legs into sockets in the top and epoxied them in. This is the most ridgid bench I have ever worked on; it’s great.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 12-31-2010 02:17 AM

depends on your strong arm, usually righties have the vise on the left, and lefties have the vise on the right so that the piece held in the vise will place the part towards the workbench and on your strong arm for work.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 3029 days

#8 posted 12-31-2010 05:33 PM

Well, as it turns out, it would be a huge pita to switch ends given how I built the bench and screwed the top layers together so it would seem that convention rules !

Even at 80% finished I also really like this bench so far, much more stable and solid than the previous worksurface


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