I'm in the process of building myself a workbench and shed space and with only a very limited amount of space, some things have to be very carefully positioned.

Having grown up with a left-handed father, I'm used to things like a soldering station being on the left instead of the right (and why). But I'm right-handed, so I've made space for things like that on the right on my new bench.

However, I believe there are a number of things that don't matter. Is a vise one of them? What other items are there whose position is related to the handedness of the user?

  • 1
    It'd probably help if you listed what items you have or plan on buying. That way, people could give their opinions on specific items.
    – Michael
    Dec 21, 2010 at 3:29
  • I'm not planning on buying much; I have a space very slightly larger than 4 foot by 4 foot to build in but I could take another foot in one direction later on. There will be a lamp and a soldering stand; a vise is on the probably list. All other power tools are hand-held. But I was interested just as much in theoretical opinions.
    – staticsan
    Dec 21, 2010 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


Lamp on the left so that your work hand doesn't block your light, which is more probable to be the case than the other way around.

As far as the vice goes, I'd say it depends on how you orient it and if there is a wall on the left or right side. If there is no wall on either side, I'd put it on the front-left so that it is near the lamp, and because if the lever arm is at the front of the desk, you could walk to the side and torque down on it with your right hand that way.

If there's a wall on the left, I'd put it on the right, but with the lever arm on the side rather than the front... again, so that you can stand to the side while torquing the lever arm. Only problem with that is that your lamp will be at the opposite corner, but if it's easily moved, that wouldn't be a problem.

  • Very useful, thank you! The left was actually where I thought the vice might fit best. Interestingly, my Dad's lamp is on the left. I'll have to experiment with mine!
    – staticsan
    Dec 21, 2010 at 22:16

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