I am sure most wood carvers are familiar with this one, as the bench hook is probably one of the first shop made contraptions relief carvers would make for themselves. I do find them quite useful for any task in which I need both my hands and the piece I am trying to hold down is irregularly shaped, a piece that I don’t want marred, or one that is too small to be effectively held in place by the bench cookies. While I know many woodworkers are already familiar with the contraption, I have seen a few holding a piece with one hand while attempting to chisel or sand with the other. I thought I would post in the event other woodworkers might find this useful.
I recently completed a bowl that I parted off and I had the nib and some rough spots I wanted to remove from the bottom. Seeing as the bowl is hollow and one that I didn’t want to put in a vise, it would normally be a challenge to find a means to clamp it and still allow me access to the bottom. But, as the picture below demonstrates, the bench hook makes this job fairly simple.
My benchhook is a piece of plywood 12” x 12” with a row of 3/8 inch holes spaced out every inch in both directions. I have two slim pieces that form an L bracket on the top and left side to brace the piece and a slim piece of plywood on the front to hold the board against a bench. Pegs are used to hold the work piece in place to keep it from sliding.
Here is a view from the front so you can get a better visual of the plywood “hook” that braces the device against the bench.
Obviously a good use for those very ugly boards :) Very easy to make, only part that gets tedious is drilling all the holes.
I know most of you are familiar with the contraption but I do hope one or two, who are not previously familiar with this device, will find this useful.
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.