Fair Woodworking

September 22, 2012

I just want to be held

Filed under: Favorite tools,Skill development,Things I've made — fairwoodworking @ 2:02 pm

There is an item in this picture that I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned, or praised for how valuable it has become to me.

When I first got serious about learning dovetails, one of the big roadblocks was not the dovetails. It was the need for properly dimensioned, and square material. My bench never did get finished, so work holding was a problem. With no dog holes drilled, I found that I’d have to clamp a board across the bench and plane into it. It was also a problem, that a long enough piece to clamp had to be fairly thick if I didn’t want it to flex while planing, so thinner material could not be planed.

Not very handy.

While looking at a scrap piece of 2×4, I saw my answer. Yes, in my house this counts as smart guy material…

I flattened one side, and resawed it off about 3/8″ thick, flattened both sides of the thicker piece, and quickly dovetailed them together, with the tails on the thinner piece, and the rough side facing out of the joint. When the glue dried, I flattened the rough side, and there I had my new plane stop. I think in the end, the thin part was about a quarter inch.

I built it as a stop gap, just so I could keep learning some skills to finish my bench, but I’ve found that I really like it. I’d always planned on installing a wagon vise, but this little scrap, pushed it way down the priority line.

You can see that I’ve hit it several times while planing, but who really cares? I can make another one any time, and hitting it does no harm to my tools.

Speaking of making a new one, I need to.

The darned thing is a  little too short. With wider pieces you have to move the wood you are planing or things can get rather exciting rather quickly. If I was to plane aggressively on the right side with the wood placed like this, at the last third of the pass, the block of wood will suddenly pivot around the stop, and fling everything in its path off the bench. I then cry out with much vigor some rather abrasive comments, and it’s all a little embarrassing in the end.

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