So I'm finishing my first real bench, and wondering about where to put the
vises. I have one large 10" vise and a smaller cheapee 7" one.
I'm right handed, and my understanding is that the tail mounted vise should
be on the right hand side, and the front mounted vise should be on the left
hand side. The logic being that, when planing, a right hander planes from R
to L, and you will be planing torwards the center of the bench (stopped by a
bench dog) rather than the vise itself. But this doesn't jive with the
front mounted vise being on the left - when jointing, a right hander will
joint torwards the left (front) side mounted vise - torwards the end of the
So what am I missing?
Your not missing anything. I'm also right handed, but could reverse the
vises on my bench and it really wouldn't make a difference other than
convienience. What's more important is that the vises hold the board
firmly. My bench is set up with the tail vise on the right and front vise
on the left. But, once the board is locked into place, it really doesn't
matter where the vises are. My tail vise is used to face plane, generally
from right to left. My front vice is used mainly for edge planing, again
usually from right to left. Put the vises wherever your comfortable with
them, just make sure they hold the board securely. --dave
Having the front vise on the left (for a right handed person) gets the vise
out of his way when jointing. The stroke ends at the vise. With it on the
other end, you would have the vise between you and the workpiece. Also, when
sawing pieces off the end of a board held in the vise, it allows you to keep
the good piece past the end of the bench where you can see your mark and
control the offcut with your left hand. How do I know this? I originally
mounted my vise on the right (I'm right handed). Changed it to the left
after a short time.
Normally it's a good idea to have the vise hardware (and mounting
BEFORE you build the bench. Things like having the outside/front of
jaw flush with the front of the bench apron is necessary to allow the
your planing to be up agains the apron its whole length.
Think in terms of two different planing operations.
For edge joining, the edge to be planed will be up, the back face
of the board against the outside face of the bench apron
and the left end held in the vise, the right end supported by
a "bench slave" or clamped to the apron. You join the edge
by planing right to left or towards the vise.
For face joining the board is laying flat on the bench - one end
stopped by a bench dog, the other end against a bench do in the
moveable jaw of the end vise. The end vise squeezes the board
between the dog in the bench and the dog in the moveable
vise jaw. You plane right to left.
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