Viseless Workholding Fixtures

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Alan posted 01-09-2016 07:49 PM 992 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Really, this post is for my own use, to help me remember, but I wanted it available from anywhere not buried on one hard drive in a Word document, and I thought a few other people might find it helpful also.

I’m a big believer in viseless workholding for new hand tool and hybrid woodworkers (a category I most certainly fall into), partly because vises are expensive, and partly because their convenience can become a crutch for new woodworkers and lead to bad habits.

Okay, it’s mostly because of the financial thing. I can’t afford good quality vise hardware, and I’m trying to justify my prejudice that way.

Regardless, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to try to assemble a complete list of all the various ways one can hold a workpiece other than vises, handscrews or clamps. The focus here is on shop-made devices that can be made fairly readily by even a novice, so I’m also leaving out screws, nails, double-sided sticky tape (thank you Shannon Rogers!) and shelf liner. Oh and the Veritas Wonder Pup/Dog, even though I think they’re the bee’s knees.

Here’s a complete list as best as I can come up with so far. Additional suggestions would be most welcome.

Bench hooks/Chute board. I think both the broad, flat kind and Underhill style are valuable.
Bench dogs. I like round and wood, but whatever works for you.
Holdfasts. I forged my own from rebar, but as The Schwarz has pointed out, a forked stick from your back yard will work too.
Notched batten/Doe’s foot
Joiner’s saddles
Crochet/Frog. I see people leaving these out of their Roubo benches all the time and I don’t understand why. Even if you have a leg vise, how quick and easy is it to stick a couple of pegs/bench dogs into the holdfast holes in your bench legs and jam a board in the crochet?
Bird’s mouth
Planing stops – metal, wood, a batten with dowels on the underside to go in your holdfast/dog holes, whatever. The kind mounted to the end of the bench with a couple of anchor bolts and wing nuts are neat, but probably too fancy for my tastes.
Paired wedges can be used to lock in a workpiece between dogs.

-- I have no idea what I'm doing.

4 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


7933 posts in 1869 days

#1 posted 01-09-2016 08:03 PM

So maybe something like this?

Which can be used as a birds mouth for edge planing thin stock

or face planing thin stock

or this?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Alan's profile


27 posts in 720 days

#2 posted 01-10-2016 12:04 AM

Uh, yeah, just like those! Except for that cast-iron contraption at the bottom, which looks awesome but I have no idea what it is! Thanks for posting, the bird’s mouth with wedges is interesting.

-- I have no idea what I'm doing.

View theoldfart's profile


7933 posts in 1869 days

#3 posted 01-10-2016 02:58 AM

It behaves the same as a birds mouth.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Sylvain's profile


638 posts in 1917 days

#4 posted 01-14-2016 03:12 PM

You are probably familiar with the video shown here :

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics