Vise placement question

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Forum topic by John S posted 12-30-2011 03:35 PM 5048 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John S

20 posts in 2417 days

12-30-2011 03:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: vise vise location placement question vice

I am new to owning a woodworking vise. I just got one for Christmas and want to get it mounted but am confused as to why it goes on the left side for a right handed person. Currently the way my shop is laid out I can’t get it on the left side. I guess I could rearrange things. I just need to understand why it would be better on the left before I go to all that work.

This is a great site I learn something new on every visit. Thanks for the help!

10 replies so far

View jmos's profile


839 posts in 2392 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 03:46 PM

The only reason I’m aware of is for hand planing, best to plane into the vise.

-- John

View TheDane's profile


5439 posts in 3685 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 04:14 PM

If you are right-handed, your natural inclination is to work on the right side of the work-piece. This is especially true for planing, but I think you’ll also find it to be the case for other operations as well.

It is just the opposite for left-handed people. My grandson (12) is left-handed and just starting to do some woodworking. I promised to build him a workbench of his own this year with the vise on the right, which will probably make the work easier and more enjoyable for him.


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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2590 days

#3 posted 12-30-2011 04:37 PM

I’m right handed and have a vise on each side of my bench. (If you look at my workshop you’ll see the bench, and there is another vise opposite the wilton) For some reason I tend to go for the vise on the right more, even though its a craftsman, and the one on the left is a better Wilton. So much so I will probably replace the craftsman, I’m thinking with a leg vise.

I also tend to plane away from the vise, unless its the twin screw with a board as a stopper.

First, the left would work, but think about how you work. We all have different habits.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#4 posted 12-30-2011 04:59 PM

I am certainly no expert, but I always thought it was because you can hold the offcut in your left hand at the end of a cut so you don’t bind the saw and to avoid tearout in the kerf.
Often, in making smaller projects like boxes and drawers, where the tolerance is critical, the offcut IS the part and I like to see the line I’m cutting.

And, of course as said above, for planing into the vise.

I understand your concern, because I have always had a metalworking vise on the right end of my handyman workbench and that just seemed like the correct place for it.

Maybe you could try one out someplace before you mount it to see what works for you.

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2442 days

#5 posted 12-30-2011 05:42 PM

Here’s an idea. Mount it on the right. Try it out for a while. If it doesn’t work out, move it to the left and re-arrange the shop

There are two ways to learn anything:
1) Draw for the existing knowledge base.
2) Devise an experiment and try for yourself.

In this case, you will never really know until you experiment with it.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2697 days

#6 posted 12-30-2011 08:54 PM

I have a quadry, I have 3 bench vises, (2- Columbia 178’s and 1- Record V175) where am I supposed to mount these, when I don’t even have a workbench, yet?!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View andrewr79's profile


36 posts in 2374 days

#7 posted 01-02-2012 01:30 AM

Jmos got it right – if you are right handed you mount the face vice on the left side of the bench because you plane right to left. If you put it on the right side of the bench, you will find the plane tries to pull the wood out of the vice continually. You’ll want to mount it on the left then build a planning stop to mount in it, because you want the wood supported by the bench not the vice.

-- Visit my blog @ to see what I've been up to

View Mike's profile


66 posts in 2404 days

#8 posted 01-02-2012 01:41 AM

Thanks for asking this one prod, I’m getting ready to build my self a bench (in a few weeks, I hope) and was wondering the same thing. I think I’m going to follow Don’s advise (no pun intended) and try it on the right side first

-- But hon I need this tool.......

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2476 days

#9 posted 01-02-2012 01:55 AM

I’m left handed and when I built my bench I put the vise on the left because that’s what I was used to. All the benches in the cabinet shops I worked in had the vises on the left. After all these years of having to adapt to a right-handed world, once you get used to it, it’s hard to change. When you’re left-handed you have to be able to some things right-handed. I set my shop up to work best for me. Most of the time I don’t even think about whether it’s left or right-handed.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2887 days

#10 posted 01-02-2012 03:50 AM

I hear ya CJwillie, I’m a left, too and I do a lot of things with either hand because we live in a right-handed world.

I put my vise on the right side. I think it works better that way. One of the things I like about it is that you are working in front of your bench this way. If the vise was on the left side, I would probably end working while standing at the end or corner of the bench. When you are in front of the bench, you have lots of room to have various tools at hand without having to reach for them. If you are working on something that requires some planing, a mallet, a couple chisels, a pencil, marking knife, etc, you run out of room quickly if you aren’t standing in front of the bench.

Like other folks have said, try what you think works for you, and hour shop. You may adapt to having the vise in the right and not have to rearrange the shop. That sounds like the easiest place to start.

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