This Old Bench of Mine - New Bench Stops

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Blog entry by Tootles posted 09-16-2011 04:45 PM 9811 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Dad made this bench in about my last year of school, or perhaps shortly thereafter. It’s made of some scrap pine that he got from somewhere. He made the vice too, complete.

It is an interesting design. We didn’t have enough wood for the full width of the top. So the bench has a recessed section at the back intended to place your tools out of the way allowing you to move the project over them while working. It can be quite useful actually, even if it is a bit more difficult to clean. That said, if I were to make myself a new bench, I’m sure there are a few things that I would change, but it is a bench, I’m lucky to have it and I like its history – so it’s not going anywhere.

The one thing that I have always battled with on this bench has been holding wood flat on the top to work with. Okay, a general shortage of clamps is a significant contributing factor, but beyond that the apron at the front means that big clamps are required so mosty clamping only happens on the sides. I’ve though a few times about drilling holes for bench dogs, but the one thing that I’ve wanted to do for some time is fit a bench stop allowing some jobs to be done without clamps at all. Call me slow if you like, but after all these years I finally worked out a simple way to do it.

In the picture below, you will see that there is a piece of wood along the left edge of the top. It’s needed at the back to stop tools rolling off the bench, but it serves no real purpose towards the front.

So I cut it and removed the front section. Then I found a piece of scrap pine that is a little wider than the piece I took out, and I cut to the same length.

Cut a couple of slots in the new wood, screw some bolts into the end of the top and what do you know?

An instant bench stop!

But wait, there’s more (where have you heard that before?). I also finally worked out how to make that recess at the back work for me. All it takes is a few more bolts, some pieces of wood shaped to allow them to swivel up and down (don’t ask why two holes – I was fixated on symmetry with no real reason for it) and some wing nuts. Suddenly I can have bench stops at the back as well.

But it’s a long bench so I couldn’t just stop at two, could I now?

And finally we have the demonstration photo of how it should be used

The best thing about the photo above is the wood. It was given to me by a local cabinet maker from his scrap shelf. It’s a 90cm (36”) long and 30cm (12”) wide oak varnished shelf recycled from a local University. He gave me three of those plus another beautiful piece of wood and I should get another chance to talk to him again next week about some more!

And for those who love a good shave, I’ve included one final photo below. Yes, the plane needs some attention to make it shine, but the blade is sharp – just look at those wood shavings. Isn’t it just what it’s all about?

So there you have it, an afternoon well spent after all these years.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

6 comments so far

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4552 days

#1 posted 09-16-2011 05:21 PM

Nice solutions and better yet little or no $ involved. :-)

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#2 posted 09-16-2011 05:43 PM

great adaptation and reminds me I need to add one to mine…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3887 days

#3 posted 09-17-2011 02:02 PM

Way to go! Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 09-17-2011 06:52 PM

Now that is ingenuity at work. Great adaptions to an obviously much loved, and used, bench.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3412 days

#5 posted 09-18-2011 01:51 AM

Cool ideas, and way to go on keeping that old bench working! I have some tools from my grandfather…and you just can’t beat em even as I add new ones to the clutter…lol. Be well and enjoy the shavings.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View mafe's profile


12604 posts in 3899 days

#6 posted 09-18-2011 11:20 PM

How wonderful, to have a bench that your father made you.
And now here back in best shape.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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