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How Do I Install a Vise?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The steps involved in the process to install a vise can vary depending on the type of vise you buy. Woodworking vises, for example, are usually installed on the front or side of a workbench, and the jaws of the vise will be lined up to be flush with the work surface. Other types of vises may be installed directly on the workbench top. Determine what kind of projects you will be doing most regularly and how you are likely to use the vise before you begin to install a vise on your workbench.

Regardless of the type of vise you will be working with, be sure to install a vise in such a way that it will not work loose, even when placed under intense strain or under significant torque. Purchase the largest bolts you can find that will fit in the bolt holes built into the vice's base. Be sure to purchase plenty of washers to fit the bolt, as well as nuts that will secure the bolts in place. The bolts should be long enough to fit through the vise base plate as well as through the bench, and about two inches (5 cm) of the bolt should protrude through the other end of the bench.


The next step you will need to undertake to install a vise is drilling the holes for the bolts. Line up the vise in the position you want it to be secured, and double check your placement. This is especially important when installing a woodworking vise, as the jaws of the vise will need to be lined up flush with the top of the workbench. Many woodworkers will even line up the jaws of the vise so they are placed directly on a corner of the workbench, and the jaws are flush with the two sides of the bench as well. Mark the holes by making pencil markings within the bolt holes on the vise base plate.

To install a vise properly, drill holes that match the size of the bolt holes as closely as possible. You can err a bit larger, but a bolt hole that is too small will not allow passage of the bolt through the workbench. Once the holes are drilled, place the vise in position and slide two washers onto the bolt before sliding that bolt through the hole. On the other side of the bench, where the bolt is protruding through, place two more washers and then a nut to secure each bolt in place.

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