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Project Ideas, Hmm... #10: Workbench Vise Location

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 05-07-2019 01:43 PM 627 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Coming soon... (sadness) Part 10 of Project Ideas, Hmm... series no next part

In the next few weeks I’ll be building a small workbench to use at work. I’m currently using a fold-away table saw stand (not the table saw itself) with a sort of cradle to hold up double basses and cellos to perform certain repairs because it is lower than the high work table I typically use.

I’ll be building a somewhat traditional style bench about 33 inches high. I want to put a vise on the face and one on the end to use with dog holes. The thing is, as I currently use my space, putting the end vise on the left would be most convenient, so I’d put the face vise on the right end of the bench. This feels correct to me BUT most of the traditional benches I see pictures of have vises on the opposite sides/ends from what I’m thinking.

Is there a real reason behind why other benches are opposite of what I feel I need?

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!



10 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4078 posts in 1037 days


#1 posted 05-07-2019 02:43 PM

End vise on the right is because people plane right handed so they’re pushing against the dogs on the left. And then the end vise on the right means the face vise goes on the left because otherwise they would interfere with each other.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1778 posts in 2644 days


#2 posted 05-07-2019 06:01 PM

Thank you! That makes perfect sense. And since I plan on using this to plane fingerboards among other things I’ll have to configure the vises in the ‘traditional’ manner.


End vise on the right is because people plane right handed so they’re pushing against the dogs on the left. And then the end vise on the right means the face vise goes on the left because otherwise they would interfere with each other.

- Dave Polaschek


-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

741 posts in 3728 days


#3 posted 05-07-2019 07:56 PM

While Dave is correct, it has traditionally been explained that way as THE way to plane wood. BUT . . . it doesn’t have to be so!

What difference does it make if one planes TOWARDS the bench dog or TOWARDS the vise? Think about it!

The board is held in place by dogs on either end, one typically of wood and the other “pull up dog” typically of steel. But so long as BOTH are properly set BELOW the level of the board to be planes, one does no damage to either bench dog nor to the plane being used!

As far as the board itself, it needs to be snug in the clamped configuration, regardless of the direction of the planing strokes.

Just because one has “always done it this way” does not mean one has to!

And YES . . . It would seem the this is a “Dave thread!” . . . This is my brother Dave and my other brother Dave . . . Me? . . . Why, I’m Dave! . . . Who else would I be? . . .

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1778 posts in 2644 days


#4 posted 05-07-2019 08:39 PM

Well, the good news is that it sounds like I can go with my original plan.

The bad news I feel like I’m watchuing a tennis match. ;-)

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View htl's profile

htl

4763 posts in 1614 days


#5 posted 05-07-2019 09:31 PM

We’re going to have to start numbering the Dave’s around here if this keeps up. lol

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs http://lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/116729

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

118 posts in 1759 days


#6 posted 05-07-2019 10:33 PM

For me, operating an end vise with my stronger hand is easier and more natural, so I’d recommend you put it on your ”-handed” side. Also, perhaps more compelling: if you put your end vise on the end where your strong hand is, you can brace the bench so that it’s virtually immovable by putting the other end (the end you plane toward) against a wall! You can’t do that if the vise is at the end you plane toward. Hope this is helpful.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4078 posts in 1037 days


#7 posted 05-08-2019 12:48 AM

The traditional way makes sense for bracing against the wall, but I switch off and plane left handed or right handed, and planing towards the vise isn’t a problem using a vise and bench dogs. It does get a mite complicated if you’re using a planing stop and a holdfast, but that doesn’t sound like your setup.

I find that more of my planing nowadays is done on my low bench with a stop and a holdfast, and with me sitting on the bench, planing away from myself (often with a thigh over the wood). But sometimes I put a piece in the face vise on my high bench and plane it there. I think you can set your bench up however you like. There’s a reason for the tradition, but there’s more than one tradition, too.

Good luck whichever way you decide to go, Dave.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

856 posts in 2955 days


#8 posted 05-08-2019 10:07 AM

Some don’t use an end vise, see here

A 33” height might be traditional (from a time were people were smaller an had to plane a lot of rough saw wood with a thick wooden plane) but in my view is low for delicate work.

Now, if you are repairing voluminous objects, you have specific needs.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6274 posts in 2659 days


#9 posted 05-08-2019 10:50 PM

Dave, you being a musicial wiz, and me reading the replies prompted me to think you may enjoy this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDSN1F72QU4

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1778 posts in 2644 days


#10 posted 05-09-2019 12:54 PM

Ha ha! Good one!


Dave, you being a musicial wiz, and me reading the replies prompted me to think you may enjoy this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDSN1F72QU4

- robscastle


-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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