Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: Bench hook

Bench Hook Complete

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Using hand-cut dadoes for my first bench hook may have been a little overly ambitious. However, it was an excellent opportunity to build skills, and I am pleased with the results. It definitely makes finish quality crosscuts much easier. The biggest lesson learned was to make your crosscuts as close to final dimensions as possible. Squaring up large areas of end grain with a block plane is not fun.

Bench Hook Progress

Yesterday, I started work on my bench hook. I am borrowing from a design used by Bad Axe Tools. The fence and hook are made from 1 1/2″ square stock and mate to the work using a bullet-proof dado joint. The entire thing will be 6″ wide by 10 1/2″ long. I am using hickory because it’s dense, and I had stock on hand. I found squaring up the fence and hook to be a real challenge due to the short length. I ended up doing a lot of the work with my block plane, because I found it too difficult to balance my bench planes on the stock. I thicknessed and planed to width using an old Dunlap no. 4. This plane worked remarkably well. Does anyone have any tips for squaring up short stock?

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All squared up.

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Here’s a friendly reminder to take care when using your marking tools.

The Venerable Bench Hook

I’ve been spending the past few days working on plans for a bench hook. A bench hook is a simple, shop-made tool that aids in making accurate cross-cuts by hand. It consists of a flat board with a simple hook and fence. The hook catches on the side of your workbench and the fence holds the work piece. It’s a dead simple device. However, it has afforded me the ability to work on some of my lagging hand-tool skills as well as learn some new software. I’ve been hearing some good things about SketchUp, so I thought I would give it a try. I think I’ll be using it a lot more in the future.

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