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Question about installing a front vise on a bench.

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 604 days ago 3472 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


604 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am, for most things, right handed.
I do not understand why we are told to install a vise to the left end of bench if we are right handed and vise (sorry) versa for left handed.
Being right handed I use a saw, to cut a piece of wood, on the right side of my vise.
If I install the vise on the left side of the bench and I cut a piece of wood all the way trough then I cut into the bench.
If I install the vise on the right side of the bench, as I usually do, then I do not cut into my bench.
What do I miss?

-- Bert


22 replies so far

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


#1 posted 604 days ago

No answer?

-- Bert

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Don W

14637 posts in 1166 days


#2 posted 604 days ago

I added this to my watch list Bert. I really don’t have an answer other than to say I have a leg vise and a bench vice across from each other on my bench. That puts the bench vice on the left (I’m right handed) and the leg vice on the right. I don’t see any difference from a left right perspective.

I think I once read it has to do with jointing with hand planes. You joint toward the vice for better control and less board movement. Again I typically joint with my bench vice only because I haven’t got my dead man set up on the leg vise side yet. I’ve tried it the other way and don’t see much difference, but trying is not doing, so iI may find it different once I’m actually using it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


#3 posted 604 days ago

Thank you Don.

-- Bert

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Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1684 days


#4 posted 604 days ago

Never thought about this before, but remembering back to high school shop, 1950’s era, our woodworking
benchs, and there were quite a few of them, had the vise on the right hand end of the bench. As it is the
work bench I am using now sets against the wall on the right end. I put the wife’s car in the half of the
garage closest to the house to make it easier for her, so that is the way the bench ended up with the vise
on the left end, and I just live with it.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

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bondogaposis

2443 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 604 days ago

I don’t use my bench for sawing wood to length much. Generally only small pieces on a bench hook. For most sawing I use machinery, table saw, RAS, band saw. I use the bench for planing, chiseling, drilling, dovetailing, sanding, etc. A lot of hand tool guys use a saw bench for rough sawing then bring it to the bench for final fitting. Like you say a standard bench vise layout does not lend it self well to hand sawing to length. You could of course use holdfasts to hold a board lengthise on the bench and saw it off the right side of the bench.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JADobson

280 posts in 710 days


#6 posted 604 days ago

Don has it right. A left mounted face vice makes edge planning much easier for a right handed person.

-- James

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woodtools

20 posts in 888 days


#7 posted 603 days ago

I am no expert and my response is merely my understanding from 20+ years of working wood and research on traditional/historical practices. The face vise was designed for holding a board on edge while you planed a finished edge, typically to be at 90 degrees to the face of the board. As a right handed woodworker your right side would be parallel to the bench and face of the board as you worked the edge with the plane. The bench hook was designed for holding a piece of wood while you cut it to length, traditionaly used on the right side of a right handed work bench. Many woodworkers today have jointers for edge dressing a board and the traditional practice of using a hand plane is not required. In my way of thinking, where you mount your vice and the type of vice(s) you use, is dependent on your style of woodworking and your tools of choice. Hope this helps your thoughts.

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paratrooper34

760 posts in 1551 days


#8 posted 603 days ago

It does have to do with planing. Right handed people hold a plane’s tote with their right hand and guide it with their left on the knob. Thus, wood holding for planing edges and faces is oriented to the left of the bench. So the vise is there and lots of the other appliances for holding wood are on that side. For left handed people, everything is reversed due to the mechanics of how they use planes.

After doing this for quite awhile now, I see there is no way I could be proficient at any level if the things on my bench were reversed.

-- Mike

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Kreegan

1452 posts in 746 days


#9 posted 603 days ago

In addition to what’s already been said about planing, if you have the vise on the left side of the bench, and saw with your kerf to the left of the vise, then you can hold and catch the waste with your free hand without awkwardly reaching across your body.

Rich;)

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


#10 posted 603 days ago

“Don has it right. A left mounted face vice makes edge planning much easier for a right handed person.”
Why? I accept your answer but it does not satisfy me.
I personally have no problem planning a piece of wood set in my right end vice.
I do not understand the difference it would make.

-- Bert

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crank49

3338 posts in 1570 days


#11 posted 603 days ago

I had the same question when I built my bench three years ago.
My thinking was the same as yours, mount to the right, cut to the right. (I’m right handed)

It was explained to me that in wood working you usually want to keep the off-cut that you remove from a long piece of stock.
Since you hold the saw in your right hand, and you want to see your mark so you can cut beside it, your mark needs to be to the left of the blade, and you don’t want the off-cut to drop to the floor and get dented so you hold it with your left hand.

I put my vise on the left end for those reasons. Now that I have used it this way a couple of years, I can’t imagine why I would have ever considered putting it anywhere else.

In cases where I need to keep the long board and let the off-cut drop I have a bench hook I put on the empty right hand end of the bench. Or, I really prefer to do my sawing on a saw bench which is about 10” lower than my workbench. Much easier to get a good square cut at that level.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


#12 posted 603 days ago

‘Diapers and politicians both need to be changed often; and for the same reason”
I like that

-- Bert

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JADobson

280 posts in 710 days


#13 posted 603 days ago

If you are holding your plane the way Paratrooper says then when you plane from the right hand side of your bench towards the left you are pushing your stock into the vice rather than pulling it out.

-- James

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1647 days


#14 posted 603 days ago

Thank you all for your answers.

-- Bert

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jap

1224 posts in 653 days


#15 posted 603 days ago

it might allow you to put the tools your using on the right side of the vise, where your right hand can reach them without crossing over the vise to the left side.

Just a thought, Why right or left side, Why not put the vise in the middle of the workbench?

-- Joel

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