I am putting a large front vise and a Veritas Twin Screw on my new
workbench. I'm not too sure which corner to put my front vise on. I am left
handed so I do all my hand planing with my left hand. Is there a rule of
thumb in which corner would work best for a front vise or is it whatever you
get used to? Any good recommendations? Regards. -Guy
I'm left handed and put my front vise on the right end, as suggested
above. I find this works well for me.
If I want to cut a board, I put it in the vise with the offcut end
hanging over the right end of the bench. I hold the offcut steady with
my right hand, and the saw in my left. If the vice was at the left end
of the bench, I would either have to hold the saw in my right hand, or
not be able to support the offcut piece with my free hand.
The mistake I made was designing the bench so it's impossible to put the
vise all the way at the end (there's a structural member at the very
end). This means when I put a board in the vice, it's not supported
right next to the saw kerf, so it vibrates a bit. Not good.
The other mistake I made was not having enough free space off the end of
the bench. I've only got about three feet from the end of the bench to
a wall, which obviously limits the size of a piece I can put in the
vice. Since getting a bigger basement doesn't seem to be a likely
possibility, sometime I suspect I'll end up re-arranging the shop and/or
building a new bench to correct these problems.
In the shop, where only my opinion matters, I decide where to place
something by reaching for it. Where ever my hand goes, there I mount it.
This takes care of height, orientation, and left vs. right.
Guy LaRochelle wrote:
I just went through this myself. I am also left handed. For a lefty,
you will edge plane a board from left to right. The shoulder vise on the
front of the bench should be on the right side. That way you can plane
starting from the free left end of the board all the way up to the right
end that is attached to the shoulder vise. If the shoulder vise were on
the left side of the bench, you would place your body to the right of it
in order start planing your board. You cannot easily plane the section
of the board attached to the vise and to the left side of your body.
The shoulder vise gives you two more bits of flexibility. First, it
permits you to set the height of your board being planed to something
comfortable for you. It also allows you to put a vertical board in
there so you can also work on the end grain.
The traditional end vice allows you to trap a board between bench dogs
for surface work (planing, routing etc). They usually put 1 line of dogs
near the front of the bench to do this. It's near the front because you
would not want to lean over the bench to do the planing.
If you are willing to limit the width of boards you work on, you can
place it vertically between the screws of a modern twin screw vise.
These vises can also be used with bench dogs to trap a piece on the
surface of the bench. However, I have seen benches in recent years with
dogs placed in a series of rows near the middle and back of the bench.
I can't imagine why; you would need to lean over the bench to work on
the piece. Pretty rough on the back!
With all that said, how many of us plane edges or surfaces today. Most
of us use a jointer/planer combination to get it done. I would use the
bench and dogs to hold wood for sanding, routing, and scraping. But,
the same vises are very handy for these operations. I guess the old
timers had it right - they just didn't know it.
Bill Thomas wrote:
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