Monday, 14 January 2013

Combo bench-hook/shooting board

I was having a look around the internet earlier and stumbled upon the excellent feed from Blair Glenn. Here he shows you how to use a combined bench-hook/shooting board in this video from his Facebook feed.
He has many videos and is an arborist by trade and some of the videos reflect upon a pretty awesome profession.


Groz SP-4 boat anchor smoothing plane
(not in my case as I was lucky!)
I'm off to the shop to make one. I can then dedicate one of the cheaper planes I have to the task. I have a very cheap Groz number SP-4 smoother (a copy of the Stanley #4 bedrock) that is actually very good, once it was tuned up, having square sides relative to the sole plate (some planes are not square) so will be great for use on the shooting board. I must have got lucky as the Groz planes don't receive many favourable reviews.
I tend to use Japanese pull saws and they don't work that well on bench hooks. I shall have to look how the Japanese woodworkers have an equivalent to a bench-hook  I doubt it as they sit down on the floor when they work wood.

Making one couldn't be simpler.
Measure the distance from the side of the plane to the blade

  • Cut a piece of 1/2" plywood about 9" x 12". 
  • Cut another piece of 2-1/2" x 1" x 6" hard wood such as rock maple (that's what Blair used on his).
  • Cut a piece of 1-1/4" square x 9" long softwood and glue/pin/screw it to the underside of the board at the end closest to you.
  • Glue the rock maple on the top piece of the board furthest away from you. You can square it up to the edge of the board if you desire (not critical).
  • Measure the distance from the edge of you plane to the edge of the blade distance X in the picture.
  • Find a piece of plywood stock that is around that thickness (normally 3/16"or less thick ) measuring around 6 x 8
  • Square the end of this board relative to the side (this is the critical bit).
  • Glue this piece to the board (or screw it down) so it butts against the rock maple and is in line with the end grain of the maple.
  • You now have a planing guide.
  • Take your favourite cross cut saw and accurately cut a kerf in the maple block that is square to the face. That is now your bench hook guide.


Follow Blair's advice in the video on how to use it.

1 comment:

  1. The Japanese that I've seen using a saw guide have a wood version of the shinwa saddle squares that you can get.

    I have seen bench hooks for people who use pull saws. They're as a western type but the cleat on the underside is at the far end (to hook over the opposite side of the bench and the cleat you hold the work against is nearest.

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