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Left-handed workbench

Marvin Baker
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 01:51:19 GMT

I am in the middle of building a Rubo style bench based on the one in Chris' Workbenches book. Since I am left handed I was planning to put the leg vise and crochet on the right side. Are there any other changes I should make in the construction, such as to accommodate using some hand planes that are handed?

Kevin McDaniel
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 15:50:50 GMT

Swapping the vise to the right side is the big change. As a fellow lefty, the only time I am not working to the right is when doing stock prep. Scrubbing at a 45 degree angle and then rotating the stock to work it on the opposite 45 to the left. It's good to work the body and brain backwards sometimes.

James Russ
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 18:47:56 GMT

I am a lefty and kept the vise on the left with the tail vise on the right. I actually tend to work more or less ambidextrously, especially when planing the surface of a board. I will frequently shift the plane back and forth between both hands. Took a while to get used to, but I find it gets me out of having to shift boards as grain changes, etc. Plus, most (all?) of my wooden moulding planes and my Stanley 45 all work right handed anyway, so I find the typical right handed setup works well for me. I actually find myself to be more accurate when squaring stock right handed. I think that may be due to my dominant hand doing more to control tilt, etc. while my right is mostly just pushing.

Marvin Baker
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 02:45:40 GMT

Thanks for the replies. I am not as sure as I was, serves me right for asking. Have to think it over. I have some time, I've got bunches of mortises to do first.

Mikkel Frederiksen
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 07:14:37 GMT

I finished my Nicholson type workbench last year. I put the front vice and planeing stop on the right side... and I am glad I did. Planeing boards feel much more natural now. My plow and rabbet plane are both lefthanded models, so I have no problem using those at my new bench. I did consider putting some kind of planeing stop at the other end of the bench as well. That would make it easier to use some vintage joinery planes and molding planes. Until now I have gotten by with using clamps, battens, does feet and holdfast. [2015-03-31 20](//muut.com/u/lostartpress/s3/:lostartpress:H9NC:2015033120.55.441.jpg.jpg)

Alan Bail
Fri, 02 Sep 2016 23:12:13 GMT

My Roubo is set for a lefty, with the leg vise on the right and wagon vise on the left. It works great for me. If forced, I can use a right handed bench, but why work against your natural tendencies. Those of us in our right minds face enough discrimination from the right handed, so why lose the opportunity to make something the way God intended when you have the chance.

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 19:49:13 GMT

I've built a couple of benches over the years, and have finally settled on a great big roublo - at least until I move some day and need to build another to fit... Anyway, if you're left handed and you intend to use the leg vice lots, then best to put it on the right (for a lefty). Planing stops on either side are nice. Not convinced on the need for an end vice if you instead have planing stops, a doe's foot, and hold fasts. Good luck

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 19:59:37 GMT

I built my bench as a lefty, and am glad I did. I use molding planes a lot, and have had no issues using these planes in the direction of the wagon vice. Really, the wagon vice can be used in either direction, but the leg vise I would not want any other way than on the right leg.

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 21:32:53 GMT

I'm left handed and I built a joiners bench last summer with a tail vise on the left and a front vise on the right. I have no complaints and would do the same again.

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:10:02 GMT

Perhaps ask yourself this, 'if I were right handed would I think about building a left handed bench? ' Of course you wouldn't, I built mine left handed and it is a joy (having used right handed benches all my life). I am able to use my tools pretty much ambidextrously but having the primary setup left handed just feels so right. There are a few planes which are handed but I use those right handed in the left handed bench, generally those handed planes use the tail vise more than the face vise so they aren't greatly effected.

Robert Melby
Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:26:03 GMT

I'm left handed and new to the workbench. I have a bench that was given to me with an end vise on the right and a front vise on the left. I have only done cross cutting at the bench and very little planning work. I'm a little confused on which side the vises should be. I do know this much, I'm a carpenter and I work on trestles all day long. When I do plane, I work from right to left with my right hand on the back of the plane. How does this translate to the workbench? Sorry to hijack your thread Marvin.

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:34:57 GMT

That's a traditional right handed bench, and you plane in the typically right handed way.

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 23:50:03 GMT

> @mike_imperial > Perhaps ask yourself this, ‘if I were right handed would I think about building a left handed bench? ’ But it is more complex than that, at least for me. As a left-handed person in a right-handed world, I have a lot of mixed usage -- I write with my left hand, but default to my right for touch screens and keypads, for example. I'm planning on going the flipped route simply because planing feels natural to me going left-to-right. I may regret that if/when I start using specialty planes. Well, that's once I commit to a workbench design . . . .

Marvin Baker
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 03:58:42 GMT

Lots of great comments. I will probably go with a leg vise to the right because, as someone said, it is much more natural to me. Maybe set the bench out from the wall and put a left vise on one side and a right vise on the other. :) Bit of overkill there.

Michael Haxell
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 07:03:15 GMT

@dlawson As a fellow left hander in a right handed world I do understand what you mean but I don't think you need to worry too much. Assuming you will be using the bench to make similar items to me, furniture and some smaller items I would also assume you will use similar speciality planes to me (the handed ones I use tend to be complex moulders, ploughs and rabbet planes). I can readily use all these right handed planes in my left handed bench. There are two potential issues with this, one is that the face vise can, at times, depending on the length of your workpiece, be in an awkward place where your body wants to be - but if the vise is on the left and you plane primarily left handedly you'll have this happen FAR more often. The second is that when planing from right to left using speciality planes you'll be planing into the tail vise rather than against a dog. This can,l wear out the vise screw slightly faster, but again as a left handed planer far more of your planing will be away from the til vise and I'd hazard a guess that the heavier planing would be away from the vise screw. So really, a left handed bench is better for a left hander, there are times when you'll have to find a workaround, but fewer than if you are working on a right handed bench. I was lucky enough to be able to make my bench 8' long, at that length I have so much space that it is rarely an issue, the leg vise tends to be out if the way for all but the longest furniture parts.

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 11:04:02 GMT

I am a left handed, took woodworking classes in a regular workbench, but built my own bench with the leg vise in the rigth side. It makes sence and I work better on it. I would do so again if I was building a new bench.

Jeremy Wright
Wed, 07 Sep 2016 14:09:17 GMT

I'm drilling the holes for my leg vise (today I hope) and it will be in the right leg for lefty use. While I'm sure it flies in the face of the blue book's "rules" I think southpaws get a pass for having a vise on both ends, as like other lefties forced to do so, I'm more ambidextrous based on the situation. I also considered getting an additional ACME nut to allow the chop to be moved to either end, but in the end, I'm sure I would adapt either way and would just leave it where it was last. In the end, I decided to let my sinister flag fly.