How to Mount Your Wood Vise: a Step-By-Step Guide

A wood vise is a heavy-duty wood clamping device attached to a workbench. Installing it requires minimal effort and other materials, but must be accurate to ensure that it will go along tight with the workbench. So, the question is, how to mount your wood vise accurately?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to mounting your wood vise in a workbench.

  • Step 1: Select which Side. Choose which side of your workbench you will mount your work vise. 
  • Step 2: Position the Wood Vice. Place the Wood Vice where you want it before bolting.
  • Step 3: Measuring. Mark out the holes where it requires bolting.
  • Step 4: Drilling. Then, drill the holes to allow the bolts to pass through your workbench. 
  • Step 5: Bolting. Position the stationary jaw of the Wood Vise to the holes, and place the bolts into the holes you just drilled. 
  • Step 6:  Installing. Once you’ve attached the stationary jaw of the Wood Vise, insert the built-in screw and guide bars attached to the sliding jaw. 

In this article, we will also discuss the various kinds of vises, and the difference between a wood vise and a wood clamp. Know why you should get one, and other useful information about wood vises.

What Is a Wood Vise?

A Wood Vise is a device attached to a workbench to clamp heavy-duty wood projects. It can hold and support both small and large pieces of wood because of its durable metal construction and wide jaws. Wood vises can withstand a large amount of pressure for most types of woodwork. 

Due to its extreme clamping ability, most professional woodworkers and other wood manufacturing industries prefer using it. They use it in completing various tasks in woodworking, which includes drilling, sawing, filing, gluing, and planing.

How to Mount Your Wood Vise: a Step-By-Step Guide

Usually, woodworkers mount the Wood Vise at a workbench to keep it secured in place. Most traditional Wood Vises are commonly attached to the front, back, near the left end for right-handed woodworkers, or near the right end.

So, it can do heavy-duty clamping without any risk of falling. However, an improper way of installing leads to possibly damaged Wood Vise or the wood itself. As mentioned, there are many kinds of Wood Vises and various positions of mounting them.

Depending on the model, you can attach it at the end of your workbench and make it look like an extension, or just over the workbench like a portable vise. 

Mounting a Wood Vise

It is the traditional wood vise attached at the end surface of the workbench. Remember, the key to a successful installation is through careful planning and accurate preparation.

  1. Select which Side. Choose which side of your workbench you will mount your work vise. Pick the bottom where you’ll be comfortable using it. Just remember that the goal here is to attach the fixed body securely.
  2. Position the Wood Vice. Place the Wood Vice where you want it before bolting. When mounting, the top edge of the jaws should be at the same level as the surface of the workbench. Also, make sure that there’s enough room for full-length screws and guides whenever you close the jaws of the wood vise.
  3. Measuring. Mark out the holes where it requires bolting. It depends on the type of your Wood Vise, so make sure to look at the guides and manual. 
  4. Drilling. Then, drill the holes to allow the bolts to pass through your workbench. Make sure to follow your marks. Find the right size for your screw that matches the width of your table. A simple hand drill can do the drilling for you.
  5. Bolting. Position the stationary jaw of the Wood Vise to the holes, and place the bolts into the holes you just drilled. Using lock washers in between the pins and mounting bracket helps in distributing the load of the fastener.
  6. Installing. Once you’ve attached the stationary jaw of the Wood Vise, insert the built-in screw and guide bars attached to the sliding jaw. Insert it on the opposite hole, and rotate the handle to adjust.

Mounting a Portable Wood Vise Over the Workbench

Some Wood Vises are portable that you don’t have to drill anymore. Some models are mobile that you can clamp it into the edge of your workbench conveniently whenever you need it. It has a built-in clamp underneath to secure the wood vise.

  1. Pick a Side. Anywhere you want, a portable wood vise can mount to any side for as long as there’s enough space and the size fits around the edge.
  2. Positioning. Place the vice and rest the mounting bracket onto the surface of the workbench, and the vice clamp underneath.
  3. Clamping. Secure the wood vise by turning the clamping lever to the right. Keep it rotating until you tightly clamp onto the workbench – and you have a portable Wood Vise.

Mounting a Wood Vise with a Base

Some Wood Vises have a base, which means you have to install it on top of the workbench. If you have that model, follow these instructions to mount it well. 

  1. Positioning. Position your wood vise on where you want it to mount. Make sure that the stationary jaw face is slightly past the edge of the table. It will allow clamping longer pieces without the interference of the workbench. 
  2. Measure and mark. Measure the holes, and place a pencil in the mounting hole where you have to drill. Take note that some wood vises may require a mounting template, so make sure to mark on the model instead.
  3. Drill. Look for the appropriate drill bit size, and start drilling the holes. Be careful not to put too much pressure when your material is plywood, to avoid splintering at the bottom once you breakthrough.
  4. Screwing. Test if the holes on the base of your wood vise match the holes that you drill. Then, align the wood vise and put the bolts tightly. You may want to use modified washers into the hole for extra toughness. Underneath the hole, place a washer, lock washer, and nut, hand tightening.
  5. Mounting. Use a socket wrench on the bolt and a standard wrench to hold the nut and lock all bolts tight.

What are the Different Kinds of Wood Vises?

Vises have different kinds based on their purpose or by the position on the bench they usually attach. There are some vises for mounting at the end-tail or on top of the workbench. Nevertheless, they are primarily for holding small to large materials.  

Different Kinds of Wood Vises Based on Purpose

  • Heavy-Duty Bench Vises or Machinists’ Vises. They are from iron designed to withstand even the most massive woodworking project with steel jaws, a precision slide bar, and an ACME-threaded primary screw – components to lock the material tightly in place. Heavy-Duty Bench Vises are either stationary or feature a 360-degree swivel. However, you have to separately purchase the additional set of fasteners to attach the jaws to the Vise. 
  • Medium Duty Bench Vises. They are also from iron, but they have replaceable steel top jaws. Medium Duty Bench Vises are suitable for various applications but may be limited to small to medium-sized materials. Most models also have a 360-degree swivel features, plus a built-in anvil. Additionally, you can change their jaw faces with either serrated or smooth sides – depending on your project.

Different Kinds of Wood VisesBased on Mounting Position

  • The Face Vise. It is primarily for holding wooden workpieces while performing actions like drilling and sawing. The Face Vise consists of a movable front jaw that is mounted to a broad, square beam that slides in and out of a matching channel. This kind is attached to the bench table from underneath.
  • Woodworker’s Face Vises. It’s another variation of wooden face vise, wherein you also have to attach it to the underside of the front of a bench table. More often, woodworkers prefer to connect it over or near the leg to avoid unnecessary force on the benchtop. Woodworker’s Vises have a fixed inner jaw, while the outer jaw is adjustable by turning the handle.
  • Hybrid Face Vises. This type features a combination of both wooden and metal elements. Usually, moving and stable jaws have the wood on their faces. The wood helps in protecting and preventing scratches on the workpiece once clipped tightly on the wood vise, while the remaining components are from steel. Most woodworkers prefer this combination because it gives them more variety.
  • The End Vise or Tail Vise. The design of most End Vises is for attaching at the end of a working bench, usually positioned at the right- hand end. It is a flexible tool for clamping workpieces for shaping and cutting. It requires cutting a rectangular hole into its top and aligning it with a series of other holes at the front of the benchtop. 

What’s the Difference Between a Wood Vise and Wood Clamps?

Choosing the Best Wood Clamp

Wood Vises are especially for holding heavy-duty material and attached to a workbench for more robust support because of its thicker metal body. Wood Clamps, on the other hand, is a portable device for securing a workpiece in place.

The purpose is to prevent movement or separation by applying inward pressure. When it comes to durability and clamping strength, Wood Vises are more tough.

The Essential Parts of Woodworker’s Vise

  1. Jaws. Woodworker’s Vise has two equal clamping jaws – the fixed jaw stays attached to the workbench, and the sliding jaw is for locking and unlocking the material in between. They are mostly from iron or steel, but you can add wooden covers to prevent forming of metal marks on your workpiece.
  2. Screw. It is a long threaded rod that assists the sliding jaw for clamping and releasing the workpiece. It is the screw that lets you open and closes the jaws at ease.
  3. Guide Bars. Wood Vises have two guide bars for supporting the screw and prevent breaking or bending from holding heavy and tighten workpiece. Additionally, they are also for keeping the sliding jaw parallel to the fixed jaw.
  4. The Handle. It is a long nail attached to the exterior of the Wood Vise that adjusts the tightness of the jaws. It uses two washers for preventing accidental slips on the user’s hands.

How to Find the Best Wood Vise for Me?

Most Wood Vises share the same features, and other adopted additional characteristics to make a woodworker’s life convenient.

Each of them merits standards of weight, size, length, width, and capacity. So, what are the hallmarks that you should look for in choosing the best Wood Vise?

  1. Jaw Size. Bigger means more power in clamping. More giant jaws will give you the opportunity for more clamping pressure on your workpiece. It also increases efficiency and decreases the chance of slipping. Another way of increasing its standard size is by using bigger jaw pads through attaching larger cheek of wood.
  2. Throat Depth. It relates to the Jaw Size, wherein it measures the distance between the upper side of the jaws and the guide bar. A deeper throat depth means more pressure for clamping vertically.
  3. Jaw Opening. It defines the thickness that the wood vise can hold. Usually, 3 to 4 inches stretch is already enough. However, if you’re producing massive workpieces, go for 6 to 10 inches.

Additional Features

  1. Quick Release. It is an additional feature, wherein you have to slide the sliding jaw with a squeeze to release the workpiece. Some wood vises have one or two quick-release levers, which is favorable for most professional woodworkers.
  2. Vise Dog. More often, it comes from a piece of wood or metal. It is helpful when it comes to polishing the surface of a flat workpiece. Vise Dog is a steady piece behind the sliding jaw as you smoothen your workpiece.
  3. Toe-in Feature. It is for preventing any raking issues of woodworking vise once installed to the workbench, wherein it occurs when the sliding jaw is tilted outwards slightly because of the loose-fitting of the guide bar. This feature avoids slippage and shaking while working.

Which Wood Vise Is Right for You?

Regardless of the type or the brand, always invest in a Wood Vise with high quality. Good value is about spending less money while getting the tool that will work best for your project and its purpose. So, also take into account what you need – your workpiece end-results, your plans about woodworking, and degree of difficulty.


What is the Ideal Weight for a Wood Vise?

Wood vise’s weight is crucial and an essential factor in choosing. Usually, heavier wood vises will give you the support that you need in clamping and holding a workpiece. However, you have to consider its weight in mounting it to your workbench.

What Is the Purpose of a Vice?

It is for holding a variety of objects and materials, which includes square and rectangular-shaped workpieces. It is useful when you are using a hand-held device, and you want more stable and robust support to hold your wood.

Who Makes the Best Wood Vise?

There’s no absolute answer for it because most manufacturers include different and unique features on their wood vises. However, some famous and trusted brands that you can include in your list are Wilton, Tekton, Yost Vises, and Irwin.

Final Words

Using and installing a wood vise is easy. You can have any clamps that you want for your projects to help you in drilling, gluing, pounding, sawing, planing, and other heavy tasks. For as low as  $30, you can have a general wood vise for all-around use. Meanwhile, particular types of wood vise for a specific purpose may cost $100. Buy one good quality for your workpieces wood vise, and you will never have to buy again.

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