Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bench Hooks - various sizes and shapes

The bench hook is one of those things that you need if you are planning to do hand woodworking. The hook holds the wood and tool shapes it.

  These bench hooks are modelled on ones I saw Roy Underhill making on this YouTube video.

   I made the hooks a year or so ago and have used them regularly. They are useful for longer boards but a bit awkward for smaller stuff.

  To work on toys and craft projects I made another type of bench hook. It is small and part of my made and use mini bench top.

  I use this small saw and bench for trimming mouldings, making toys and carvings. I also clamp things to this bench/holder for sanding and filing.

  The other day I was looking at Japanese woodworking videos and had an "aha" moment.  The Japanese wood worker uses pull stoke saws and a bench hook designed for that purpose. Their saws cut on the pull stroke and so the stop block is on the front edge not the far edge of their bench hook. If you Google bench hook you will only get push saw style hooks.  I guess you would have to Google Bench Hook, in Japanese to see a photo of what I saw in the videos.

  What got me thinking about this was talking about the pull saw in a previous blog.  I put my thinking cap on my pointy head and came up with a solution for a bench hooks in a mixed shop like mine.

  I have two excellent saws for fine cross cutting and so I made the bench hook extra long and put the stop block in the middle.
This way I can use which ever saw takes my fancy and not have to have two different jigs. 

The new Bench Hook is long enough that with the cleat on the underside tight against the bench the is enough length to clamp the corner down solidly.

  I bought the pull saw 15 years ago before there was such a broad selection of good European push cut saw available to the hobbyist. Now I have more really good saws than I have hands to work them. Just because I have new tools doesn't mean that I will get rid of my old tools, not unless the quality gap is too wide, in the case of the saws, there is no gap. They are both great saws.


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