American Woodworker

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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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Hold Small Stock Securely

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In Ireland, where I was taught, the first jig a woodworking apprentice makes is a bench hook—a simple, yet amazingly effective device used to hold small stock for sawing and trimming. The design itself is ancient; bench hooks have been used for centuries. But in the United States, my trusty “third hand” seems to be something of a novelty to my American woodworking friends. A bench hook allows you to hold workpieces securely on your bench without clamps. It's simply a flat board with cleats attached on opposite ends. During use, one cleat bears against the bench to act as a stop. The other supports the workpiece and provides a square shoulder for sawing and planing. A bench hook is great for cutting small hard-to-hold pieces, like dowels. As easy to set up and store as it is to use, a bench hook is one of my all-time favorite shop helpers.


Comments

patrickW wrote re: Hold Small Stock Securely
on 05-16-2009 11:53 PM

I make small jewery boxes and I have run into the problem with holding my small parts still while I am trying to cut or shape them, I think this will help me solve a lot of my problems.   Thanks

Jonathan Fry wrote re: Hold Small Stock Securely
on 01-07-2010 6:10 PM

The most effective jigs are usually the simplest. Mishaps usually occur when we are handling small pieces of wood. The bench hook minimises them. Thanls