Leg vise - why on the left end?

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Forum topic by rweitz posted 02-18-2021 04:13 AM 673 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rweitz's profile


140 posts in 4318 days

02-18-2021 04:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: leg vise

I’m thinking I’d like to have a leg vise on my new assembly table, but I see them all on the left end? Is there some reason this is so prevalent? Some hand working or planing or what that makes it a benefit in that location on the bench or is it just history and inertia?


-- You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do. - Henry Ford

12 replies so far

View Bob5103's profile


228 posts in 2074 days

#1 posted 02-18-2021 04:35 AM

I am right handed. With the leg vise on the left allows me to use my strong hand. It would be very uncomfortable for me to plane with my left side/hand towards the bench.

View SMP's profile


4819 posts in 1146 days

#2 posted 02-18-2021 05:02 AM

I am right handed. With the leg vise on the left allows me to use my strong hand. It would be very uncomfortable for me to plane with my left side/hand towards the bench.

- Bob5103

Yeah basically this here. Though if you only use a planing stop or crochet then its not as important.

View Walker's profile


465 posts in 1713 days

#3 posted 02-18-2021 05:12 AM

Also if you’re using a handsaw to cut off the end of a long board, the piece being cut off would extend past the end of the bench. Again if you’re right handed, you can saw with your right hand while holding the cut off with your left.

-- ~Walker

View Sylvain's profile


1390 posts in 3740 days

#4 posted 02-18-2021 08:37 AM

If you are right handed you will take your tools with you right hand and pose them on the right side of the bench.
Most of the work is done on the left side, either in the vise or above the left leg.

If you are left handed, reverse everything.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


6046 posts in 3592 days

#5 posted 02-18-2021 02:21 PM

Here is an example, planing the edge of a cabinet door is a common task if you make cabinets. You clamp one end of the door in the leg vise and then you support the other end on the sliding deadman or board jack. If you are right handed and the leg vise is on the left, the door is now in perfect position to plane the edge.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View rweitz's profile


140 posts in 4318 days

#6 posted 02-18-2021 03:01 PM

cool thanks guys! good info.

-- You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do. - Henry Ford

View Kudzupatch's profile


297 posts in 2449 days

#7 posted 02-18-2021 03:12 PM

Mine is on my right and never had a reason to regret that choice. Frankly, I have never thought about it till I read this.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats*

View OleGrump's profile


581 posts in 1585 days

#8 posted 02-18-2021 03:16 PM

It’s the right-handed worker planing toward and sawing on the left side of the bench. Left-handed workers build theirs in a mirror image. A right-handed person will run into all kinds of trouble (and possibly injuries) attempting to use a left-handed workbench. I had to do this… ONCE….. the firewood pile was the only one who gained from that experience….. Never again…...

-- OleGrump

View HokieKen's profile


19355 posts in 2379 days

#9 posted 02-18-2021 03:22 PM

I think I’d be fine with my leg vise on either side. The vise has enough holding power that even if I had something like a door being held for planing, that there wouldn’t be any worry with planing away from the vise. For me, I like it on the left because my end vise is on the right end and it’s more convenient to have a vise at each end rather than two vices at one end.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Tony1212's profile


594 posts in 2975 days

#10 posted 02-19-2021 02:23 PM

As a right handed person, planing on bench with the vise on the right shouldn’t be very different – pushing or pulling against the vise should not make a difference.

1- I stand with the plane tote in my right hand and my left hand on the knob
2- My right side is toward the bench
3- The longest part of the workpiece extends from the vise across front of the bench (supported by a deadman or clamp).

The vice on the right side would be in my way. I’d have to reach over the handle and chop to start the cut. With my arms extended a good 6 or so inches to my right, I’d have no way to use my body weight or legs to push the plane through the wood.

With the vise on the left, I can stand with my hip almost against the workpiece and as I get close to the vice, my arms can extend (while still using my body weight and legs to push the plane) over and past the vise, handle and all.

But that is really only an issue if you regularly plane long pieces. If you’re mainly working on table top boxes and such, it doesn’t really matter.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View bandit571's profile


29704 posts in 3924 days

#11 posted 02-19-2021 03:28 PM

Right handed..and my leg vise is on the right end…along with the end vise…..all my work is done down on that end.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Axis39's profile


546 posts in 838 days

#12 posted 02-19-2021 11:09 PM

I’m ambidextrous. Mine is on the right. (technically, I probably do more stuff right handed these days for a few hand health type reasons)

Originally, this was because of space, more than working habits. My bench is close to my storage and miter station on the left. But, there is a wide open space to the right.

But, I am rearranging the shop space and I can’t think how moving it to my left would help me in any way. I use my leg clamp for everything…. I put long boards in it, and usually work the wood from the vise, off to the left. I also have dog holes going straight forward from the leg vise, and a piece I attach to my chop that will clamp the end of a board like a wagon vise. Also, when sawing boards, the cut can be made easily off to the right of the bench, out into free space.

I guess the only advantage I can see is the one Tony1212 mentions, using my body weight to lean against the piece I’m working on. But, I would think that would make it difficult to start your process….

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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