Workbench Part 3 – Mounting vises


Finally time came for vises.  For now just two. First – tail vise – which helps in planing long and wide surfaces. Second – leg vise – for any other work like sawing or chiseling. I wasn’t sure about mounting them. I was a bit affraid. there was no room for mistakes. Do you want to know how it went?

Tail vise


Do you read instructions? Well in this case it was worth to read it first.

First vise I mounted was smaller and easier to fit into workbench. All I had to do was remove some material out of the bench top. Recess had to fit the vise. All measures could be found in the vise manual. First I used saw to cut into the bench top. Then I cut out roughly material using chisel. The last stage was using router to make the recess flat.


Quickest way to get rid of large portions of material is to use wide chisel.


Router plane is the choice when you need to make the bottom dead flat.


Here, drilling hole for vise self-cleaning system.

Since in Poland we use metric system, one of the biggest difficulty was to use the imperial measures.


I’m thinking about making projects in imperial system as it seems to be much easier than metric one.

Together with dogs (placed in dog holes) this vise works great when it comes to planing. Clamped boards cannot be moved.


Leg vise


Second vise is mounted in traditional way – on the leg. Mounting of this one was bit more difficult. First I had to shape the vise it self. It is made out of beech. At beginning it was really heavy.  By shaping it, I believe, I reduced its weight by 30%.


Shaping the vise arm and quick way to remove material. Making few passes with handsaw and then using chisel – much faster and easier way than just using chisel.

Next I had to drill hole through leg for the screw. It turns out, bit too low. Mainly because my bench top is too thick. Well, I will have to live with it. It’s not end of the world.


Drilling with poor quality bit. Not a fun task.

After the screw, I had to mount the bottom rail to support the vise. Lot of measuring, adjusting and small fixes. Two mortises, in leg and vise, were done. Dry tests successfully completed. Clamping force was stunning, even I didn’t screw or glue anything.

To keep the leg vise vertically I decided to use traditional solution – holes in bottom rail and screw or pin to block it.


Since I have decided to build my workbench only with hand tools, all these holes were drill using just brace.

I’m considering to mount chain for the leg vise. It will keep vise in correct position without using any pins or need to manual blocking it.  Not sure if I will decide to mount it. It depends on how good current solution will turn out.


Now with both vises and all dog holes, my workbench is very useful and functional. Working on different projects is easier and it is pure pleasure.


Next add-ons will be shelf(s), “sliding deadman” and “moxon vise”.

Other form this series:

Workbench – part 1

Workbench – Part 2 – Joining all elements together

What tools are required to build a workbench?