Mounting a Vice to a Rack It Work Bench

Having just put together my Handy Storage Rack It Work Bench Kit, I now wanted to mount a vice on it. Prior to doing this I’d already treated the MDF surface of the work bench with Carnauba Wax to provide it with some protection and to smooth it.

Positioning the Vice

I decided to position my vice to the right hand side of the workbench. There’s a bit of information around online about where to position it, but I decided to go as far to the right hand as I could, so as to keep the flat surface of the bench clear. It gives me good space for cutting things on the right hand side of the bench which is mostly what I’ll be using it for.

bench-vice-holes
Holes drilled in MDF bench top

Drilling the Holes

The vice I have has two slots of either side for bolts and a hole underneath the centre at the rear which is hard to get to. I decided to use 75mm M12 bolts through each hole. Marking the hole positions for the side holes was easy but the rear centre hole was harder as I couldn’t just stick a marker through it.

Instead I marked the centre of the back edge of the vice, then used digital callipers to measure the distance from the back edge to the edge of the hole which was 10mm. The diameter of the hole was 14mm. This gave me a distance 17mm from the centre of the back edge of the vice to the centre of the hole.

I used a Dewalt hand held drill to drill out the holes with a 1/2″ bit which gave a slight bit of clearance for the M12 bolts. Drilling through the MDF was quite easy, but I took it slowly to prevent damage to the surrounding material.

Once the holes were drilled I put the vice on top to check that the bolts would go through into the right holes for confirmation.

Cutting two Metal Plates

Completed metal sheets

To provide some extra protection against damage to the bench top, I followed some advice I found online to put a piece of steel above and below the bench top where the vice was. I used some .75mm Galvanised Steel for this which was cut with a bimetal blade on a jigsaw to 165mm squares.

Marking out the sheet was a matter of placing the square in the right position on top of the bench then placing the vice on top and marking with a pen through the holes. Marking the rear centre hole required some calculation though.

The bottom plate was marked out(in a different position due to the bench frame) by putting it on the bottom of the bench and marking through my drill holes. I then mounted it to my other work bench and drilled through the holes progressing from small bits to large bits as I don’t really have the right tool for this. I had to round out the holes a bit with the side of my 1/2″ drill bit to reef them out a bit as they weren’t perfectly aligned.

Bolting into position

Once all the holes were drilled it was then just a matter of putting the top plate in position, dropping the vice onto it and dropping the side bolts through with a washer. The bottom plate was then positioned underneath and the nut and bolts finger tightened underneath.

The mounted lower base plate

The rear centre bolt was inserted from underneath and a washer and nut applied in the gap underneath the vice slide. Once all in position everything was tightened off with a shifting spanner and socket wrench.

I’ll also be putting some small self tapping screws in the corners of the metal plate just to keep them down perfectly flat so things don’t get caught on it as some of the corners have raised a little.

The completed mounted bench vice

  • Joel

    Hi David, great setup. I’ve been planning on building the same workbench and vice setup and very fortunately came across this post! How have you found using the bench? Is it stable to work on? Do you get enough stability even with the castors? Thanks

    • David Findlay

      I’ve found it does rock around a bit on the castors. The floor it’s on isn’t perfectly flat so you can get a fair bit of rock in it. Also because there’s less weight on the workbench usually then you’d find on the shelves, there’s a lot more flex. Sawing through materials held in the vice I find sometimes I need to support the bench to stop small movements.

      • Joel

        Thanks! I suspected that might happen. I wonder if the addition of a shelve closer to the ground might add some more rigidity.