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Holding Thin Stock for Planing

Video by Jeff Roos

We’ve all been there. Hand planing a thin piece of wood—a workholding nightmare—you find that your planing stop is too tall. Even if it isn’t, the second the blade engages the piece, it lifts it up.

No problem; this is why you have a tail vise on your bench, right? WRONG! When you tighten the tail vise it bows the piece. I’ve heard the solution many times: Clamp the piece to your bench at the end and plane away from the clamp. Then, flip the workpiece and plane the section that was under the clamp. Sounds like a good idea, but we all know that the gods of grain direction laugh at you the second you think about it.

What to do?

Wooden hand screws, how did we ever function in the shop without them?

In Chris Gochnour’s upcoming article “Extra Help for Holding Work,” he demonstrates an ingenious work-around for this problem. Chris clamps a wooden hand screw in his tail vise, then clamps the board in the hand screw. The hand screw holds the back of the workpiece securely from the sides, making it possible to plane away from the clamp, without the clamp interfering. Pro tip: If you plane down the thickness of one of the clamp jaws, it will make it easier to adjust it once it’s held in the tail vise.

For more awesome workholding tips like this, check out Chris’s article coming soon in issue #266 of Fine Woodworking.

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Published at Tue, 28 Nov 2017 21:31:28 +0000

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