the humble house workshop #3: Budget workbench needs all the help it can get

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Blog entry by kiwi1969 posted 05-08-2009 03:15 PM 2927 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Every shop needs a bench (please don,t laugh) Part 3 of the humble house workshop series Part 4: First workout »

So with the basic bench built it,s time to increase its ability to do some serious work. Without a vise other ways have to be found to hold stock and as Adam Cerubini pointed out it,s the ability to securely hold stock that makes hand tool work easier,safer and all the more enjoyable and it frees you up to concentrate on holding the tool with a more effective grip which in turn makes your work more accurate. All these jigs have been written about and described in books and magazines going back centuries so they aren,t any clever invention on my part, in fact the clamping device for doing dovetails was described in Popular woodworking last month. All the others I got from Bernard E jones which I reveiwed on this site last week.These were all made from 1/2 inch ply which is ok for the moment but they will be replaced as they wear out by hardwood versions in the future. There,s less than $10 US of material in these jigs so they seriously give you bang for your buck.
The first jig is to hold boards on edge for planning. The square block has a wedge shaped cut out and when any forward pressure is put on the stock it naturally tightens up into the jig. If you have dog holes you can mount it to your bench that way rather than use clamps.
The shooting board is for ensureing you shoot a square edge. Simply built from two perfectly flat boards with the bottom one wider than the top to create a ledge for a plane to ride on with a square stop at one end. It can also be used to shoot endgrain square on drawer box parts for example. Make sure your plane body is also square otherwise you shoot out of whack edges.
These bench hooks are for securing long stock for trimming.
While this bench hook is for trimming shorter pieces. These jigs can be made any size to suit your stock and are great things to use with a tenon saw or small plane.
This shooting board is for shooting mitres. I goofed a bit on this one as I have both sides at 45 degrees, when it would have been good to have one side set at 22.5. It,s made to work the same way as the straight shooting board.
The last two pictures are of a simple jig for secureing stock when cutting dovetails and I imagine you could also do some tenon cutting on these as well. It,s a simple jig to make being almost entirely from scrap and can be adjusted to any size that takes you,re fancy. The settup is self expainatory by looking at the photos.
So there you are, now I have no excuses for not making sawdust and at least I now know that any sawdust I make will be straight and square. These took no time to make and cost next to nothing and can be done cheap or fancy depending on your taste. If you haven,t tried any of these already then I can recomend giving them a go. They certainly surprised me.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

10 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 5090 days

#1 posted 05-08-2009 03:44 PM

When resources are scarce, we become more and more creative.
That is a very good bench already. Great effort, great alternatives and solutions!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5148 days

#2 posted 05-08-2009 03:56 PM

thats a good collection of fixtures! make things so much easier when you don’t have to fight the boards from running around the bench.

thanks for the post!

qeuestion – the shooting board: does the plane shave off the shooting board itself while it’s running against it?

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5172 days

#3 posted 05-08-2009 04:00 PM

Nice workbench.

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5076 days

#4 posted 05-08-2009 05:47 PM

Good resourcefulness well done


View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1052 posts in 4893 days

#5 posted 05-08-2009 06:58 PM

Simple and Smart jigs…...thanks for share!

-- "Menos es mas" Ludwing Mies Van Der Rohe

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 4939 days

#6 posted 05-08-2009 09:01 PM

looks like everything you need.
great job

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4941 days

#7 posted 05-09-2009 03:13 AM

Thanks to all who responded to this. Purplev, I keep the stock overhanging the edge a fraction to prevent that.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5148 days

#8 posted 05-09-2009 06:13 AM


I’ve always (still am) planned to make one myself, but that point always bothered me. at least I know I ain’t crazy (to some extent)

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

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4932 days

#9 posted 05-09-2009 02:21 PM

Thank you for this poat!

Just don’t let Nawm Abraam ’s know you are a prophet for this style woodworking.

Only kidding I bet Norm would love it.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4941 days

#10 posted 05-10-2009 02:27 AM

I think he would to, i,m a bit of a normite but I,m thinking Roy underhill,s the prophet.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

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