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Question: I am now re-working my workbench. I purchased and read “The Workbench Book” and have researched through four woodworking magazines for the last three years, without an answer to my question.

When installing a metal vise on the left side of a workbench, should the renewable wood rear jaw of a metal woodworking vise be flush with the bench or protruding? I see metal woodworking vises with their attached wood jaw protruding by the thickness of the rear jaw, whereas the wood vises with all wood parts have a rear jaw flush with the front vertical surface of the workbench.

My usage: I hand plane the edges of boards and hold drawers in the vise plus use the vise to hold the base of a metalworking vise mounted on another board.

– Paul Fallert

Answer: Definitely make the rear jaw flush with the front edge with your benchtop. It’s a critical feature for planing the edges of long boards because the boards are secured at one end in the face vise and at the other end by a sliding leg jack or a simple clamp.


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