How to Install a Bench Vise for Woodworking


A bench vise can be every bit as valuable of a woodworking tool as nearly any other in the wood shop. This large clamping vise, mounted on the end of a woodworking table, can be used to hold stock in nearly any position to allow the woodworker to comfortably work with the board.

Step 1

Remove the rear jaw from the vise assembly. Measure the diameters of the center screw and the two guide bars of the vise, and select drill bits that are 1/8 to 3/16 inches larger.

Step 2

Position the rear jaw on the table in the desired location, and use a pencil to mark the locations for the center screw, the two guide bars and the mounting screws.

Step 3

Use the appropriate bits and drill the through holes in the edge of the bench top. Predrill the holes for the mounting screws as well.

Step 4

Attach the two spacer boards (one to the front vise jaw and the other to the rear jaw). You can use any type of stock and any size that you choose, but it is advisable to use spacers that are equally matched in size. A thickness of 1-1/2 to 2 inches is common for each spacer, and most woodworkers like to have them positioned so that the top edge of the spacer boards (when mounted in the vise) are about 1/8 inch above the surface of the bench.

Step 5

Attach the rear jaw assembly to the table. Then insert the center screw and the guide bars through the rear jaw assembly, turning the vise handle until the jaws are about halfway closed. Reach under the bench top and reassemble the rear brace to the center screw and the guide bars.

Step 6

Screw the jaws together and then all the way out to check that their travel is free. Then close the vise and make sure it clamps securely. Use a drop or two of light oil to lubricate the center screw.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses when woodworking or operating power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Bench vise kit with mounting hardware
  • Power drill with drill bits and screw bits
  • 2 boards for jaw spacers (maple, birch and oak are common choices)
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses


  • Highland Woodworking: Mounting Bench Vises
Keywords: bench vise, woodworking vise, install bench vise

About this Author

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools.

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