How to attach a bench vise

Updated February 21, 2017

A bench vice is a common tool used by hobbyists. Adaptable to most any workbench, a bench vice in available for a variety of types and purposes including woodworking, metalworking and even a portable vice. Bench vices are generally easy to mount on your workbench. Some models have convenient features such as a quick-release jaw, toed-in jaw and pop-up dog.

Place the vice at the front edge of your workbench. If you are left-handed, position it toward the right and toward the left if you are right-handed. A vice may include wooden jaw liners that protrude beyond the edge of the vice. By placing the vice at the edge of the workbench, it accommodates these liners.

Position the tops of the wooden jaws flush with the top of the workbench or just slightly below, approximately 1/2 inch. If necessary, place a spacer block between the underside of the bench and the body of the vice.

Use washers and lag screws to fasten the vice if your bench top measures 2 inches or more in thickness. Countersink the screw heads and plug the holes to prevent work and tool damage.

Use carriage bolts to secure the vice onto a bench top less than 2 inches thick. Install the bolts and tighten with washers and nuts. As with lag screws, countersink the heads of the bolts below the surface of the bench top and plug the holes.

Position the vice on an end of the workbench. The vice is commonly positioned on the left end of the workbench for right-handed workers.

Place the vice on the workbench and mark the locations of the holes through the bench base on the top of the workbench. Drill pilot holes about half the diameter of the lag screws that will be used to fasten the vice in place of workbench tops more than 2 inches thick. Drill holes the diameter of the carriage bolts used to hold the vice to thinner benches.

Tighten the lag screws through the holes in the vice. Use a wrench to tighten the lag screws in place or pliers and wrench to tighten a washer and nut to the carriage bolt. Place the carriage bolts so the nut and extended end of the bolt is under the bench to prevent scraped knuckles.


Check the security of the vice on the work bench frequently to make sure it doesn't loosen. Also, occasionally lubricate the threads of the main screw and wax the guide rods. Bench top vices can be bolted to metal benches. However, this makes for noisy working conditions if materials are hammered while in the vice.

Things You'll Need

  • Lag screws
  • Carriage Bolts
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.