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I'm almost ready to mount a face vise on the workbench I built, and it didn't come with instructions, but I see it has holes to attach it into the bottom and/or the front of the workbench top. The workbench top is approximately 3.5" thick, and the faces of the vise are not that tall.

vise

Should I attach it from below, screwing into the bottom of the workbench, allowing the threaded screw and rods to be visible if you look under the bench, and also screw the rear face into the front of the bench? This would make the tops of the vise faces a couple inches below the top of the workbench. Would I then add wooden jaw liners that are taller than the vise faces to end up with a clamping area that is flush with the bench top?

Or, should I attach it by drilling into the front face of the bench top to make holes for the screw and other two rods, and ignoring the bottom mounting holes, to get the vise faces flush with the top to begin with? It seems like a drawback here would be that if I need to plane the bench top flat in the future, I would end up with a vise now mounted slightly above the top of the bench.

  • Re. attachment, fix with bolts (hide the heads inside deepish counterbores and if you want a neater appearance plug these holes later) or with coach screws driven from below. Vices are heavy and awkward to move, a neat trick to help if you're trying to attach one with the benchtop in place is to clamp a long board in the vice (long enough for one end to rest on the floor) so it can support its own weight. – Graphus Jun 28 '17 at 21:43
  • Re. jaw liners, yes you want them to extend upwards until they're flush with the benchtop. – Graphus Jun 28 '17 at 21:45
  • @Graphus Regarding vertical positioning of the vise, is it okay to attach to the bottom edge of a 3.5" thick top, or will I need to drill into the front of the bench top to get the top edges of the vise faces closer to the top edge of the bench top? – neongreensticker Jun 28 '17 at 22:10
  • It's usual for the metal to be set well below the surface. Because you normally attach the vice to the bottom edge of whatever the top is made from with a thick top like yours it'll naturally sit low, with thinner tops packing pieces are often used to deliberately lower the vice to achieve the same result. There's lots of other help on this subject online but see this PDF for a good basic intro to mounting vices, Setting a Record bench vice. – Graphus Jun 29 '17 at 7:53
  • I think the holes which you were thinking of using to screw the vise to the edge of the bench top, are actually for securing wooden jaw liners (screw through from the back into the liners). At least that's what I use mine for, but I was never 100% sure. If you're attaching jaw liners, do that before mounting the vise to your bench top, otherwise you won't be able to access the rear holes! – MarkH Jun 29 '17 at 11:52
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It's perfectly ok to have the vise mounted lower than the benchtop for exactly the reason of flattening the benchtop later. Also, it is common to drill or cut dog holes into the benchtop in-line with a vise so you can use bench dogs (pegs) to increase your clamping capacity far beyond the typical 4-8" of an inexpensive vise. The vise pictured in your question does not have a dog built in, but you could add a jaw liner with removable dog(s) or buy a vise that does have a pop-up dog.

  • Is it okay if I mount this vise to the bottom edge of the bench top, leaving the tops of the jaw faces around two inches below the surface of the bench top, use jaw liners to make up the difference to the bench top, and then add removable dogs to the top of that, or is that asking the vise to do to much work and I'll lose a lot of pressure? – neongreensticker Jun 28 '17 at 23:07
  • 2" seems like a lot, but you can cut out a recess on the underside of the benchtop and mount the vise higher. The issue isn't so much loss of pressure, but racking force on the vise and jaw liners, requiring some other adjustments to get a solid grip on your workpiece. You could also just try as-is and upgrade later if this vise doesn't hold up. – rob Jun 28 '17 at 23:43
  • Actually it's more like 1.25"... I think I'll try without a recess and with liners to bring the clamping area flush with the bench top. – neongreensticker Jun 29 '17 at 2:44

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