Properly mounting a bench vise isn’t difficult, but it can have a lasting effect on the efficiency of your vise. A stationary vise can often be placed in the middle of a table, but those with a swivel base (such as the ones we recommend) are best placed on the corner to get the most benefit from this feature.
The material of your workbench has little effect on the methods used, thankfully, and you can use this method on wood, plywood, or metal surfaces.
See Also: How to Waterproof Plywood
How to Mount a Bench Vise
BEFORE YOUR BEGIN: Read the Notes section below for best results when installing your vise.
- Washers (top & underside)
- Lock Washers
- First, measure out and mark the mounting holes. Do this by positioning the vise where you want it and then place a pencil in the mounting holes to mark them. Note that some vises come with a mounting template. In the event you plan to use an included template, first be sure that the template properly matches the vise base itself, as they don‘t always line up properly.
- Using an appropriately sized bit, drill out the mounting holes. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when working on plywood, as this can cause the bottom to splinter when you break through.
- Test fit a washer over the holes on your vise base. In the event the washer is a little big, you can easily use a bench grinder or metal file to flatten out a portion of the edge for a better fit.
- Align the vise over the holes and place the bolt (with a washer) into each hole. Be sure to use the modified washers if you had a sizing issue.
- On the underside of one hole, place a washer, lock washer, and nut, hand tightening. Repeat this for all bolts.
- Using the socket wrench on the bolt and standard wrench (to hold the nut), tighten all of the bolts down. You’ll want a snug fit, but be careful not to tighten too much when working with any form of wood. Be sure to go back around and ensure the bolts are evenly tightened.
- When positioning your vise, optimally you want the stationary jaw face just past the edge of the table. This will allow you to clamp longer pieces which can hang below the table top.
- Right handed individuals usually prefer the vise to be mounted on the front right corner of the workbench or reloading bench. (Left-front corner for lefties)
- For additional stability, put a square plate of steel between the the bench and vise or underneath the bench.