Board Jack for “The Woodworker’s Mistress”

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Project by FJPetruso posted 10-10-2011 04:05 AM 9416 views 9 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is how I made the Board Jack for “The Woodworker’s Mistress”

In the November ‘09 issue of Popular Woodworking there was an article on making a woodworking bench with a board jack. The bench was being made for a woman & they chose to make it in an hour glass shape & called it a “Dead Woman” instead of a dead man. When I was planning my woodworking bench I decided to take this a step further & make the board jack a bit artsy, humorous & very politically incorrect and make it in the shape of a woman’s curvy torso.

I made a sketch &, appropriately, took the sketch to “Kinkos” to have it enlarged. I figured out the percentage that my sketch had to be enlarged to get to the proper size of my board jack & they had an enlargement in a couple of minutes.

The board jack is made of maple & after planing I cut the wood to just over the dimensions of the needed height & width. Next I marked the vertical centerline. And then set my table saw blade at 45 degrees & cut the “V” for the board jack to ride on the triangular shaped track. Next I folded the enlarged sketch down it’s vertical centerline & cut out the outline of the woman’s torso & taped the pattern to the wood & marked the outline with a sharpie. Now I marked the area for the “tongue” of the board jack that rides in a groove in the underside of the 3” maple top & used my radial saw to cut it out.

In the Popular Woodworking article they said that using a divider was “the absolute best way to mark the spacing” for the dog holes on the board jack. But unless you’ve done some extreme calculating of the curves of the board jack as you walk the divider around the curves of the board jack the next point of the dividers will be off of vertical & the vertical spacing of the dog holes will not only be off but they will shorten the vertical spacing of the holes.

The way that I did it was to use a compass to follow the curves of the pattern 1-½ inch from the edge of the pattern. Then, using a carpenter’s square, I marked the horizontal center of the “nipples” & used this as the starting point for marking the rest of the holes. Now I started at this horizontal line & marked the vertical center line every 1-1/8 inches. Using the square, I lightly marked horizontal lines on these marks & alternated sides to make the spacing of the holes on each side 2-¼ inches. Where these horizontal lines intersected the curved lines, that I marked with the compass, is where I marked the point to drill the dog holes. The holes were drilled on my drill press. The one hole is moved to the center some to avoid drilling through a vital curve. But it’s vertical spacing is still right on.

Now I worked on the curves. I cut the torso out on my band saw & sanded the edges. Then I used a ½ inch round over bit to soften the edges of the torso & used my hand carving tools to give the body dimension & shading. I didn’t want to make a “DaVinci”, I wanted a functioning board jack. So it’s basically flat with the shading to give dimension. A beeswax, linseed oil & mineral spirits finish was put on the wood & track & it slides very well.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

34 comments so far

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3538 days

#1 posted 10-10-2011 04:15 AM

Risky but neat:)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path [email protected]

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 3173 days

#2 posted 10-10-2011 05:59 AM

>> We get rid of a phallus only to have it replaced by the torso of a naked woman.

I respectfully disagree… “Anatomically correct” penis for a handle really seemed wrong, but this one I find rather playful, kinda tongue-in-cheek thing that makes me chuckle. If I draw an analogy, the penis was a porn, and this is just a playful erotic. Think of if it as R/TVMA vs. PG13 TV ratings, or a hardcore porn vs. pin-up art. I agree with the first response – “risky, but neat”. But it may be just a matter of a sense of humour… I understand that some people get offended by things others find funny. I find myself in the second category here…

View pariswoodworking's profile


389 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 10-10-2011 06:16 AM

Autumn, Are you really goung to leave because one person decided to post boarderline pornography (not you FJ)?
This is nothing like the penis. The penis was a whole lot worse. It was a actual sculpture and I would perfer not to say what it was probably meant for.
This, on the other hand is racy, but not really offensive. It is meant to be humorus. FJ, you kind of picked a bad time to post something like this, but I find it sort of humorus.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View apkitz's profile


12 posts in 3134 days

#4 posted 10-10-2011 06:50 AM

I love it…. let it slide…. have you ever looked at an art book? Heck, they have porn in a library and it’s called history…. Well done on the board!

View Blake Thornton's profile

Blake Thornton

152 posts in 3153 days

#5 posted 10-10-2011 08:09 AM

I wasn’t offended by the “backscratcher” which was probably a fake post, and im certainly not offended by this either.

Shops often have nudie pictures around, or ther risque things, this fits right in with number of garage’s / shops I’ve ever been in.

I say good for you, I like the carving, and the attention to detail getting the holes lined up etc

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 3173 days

#6 posted 10-10-2011 09:18 AM

>> My issue is this: The graphic portrayal of a man’s private sexual organs is taboo, yet if the nakedness is of a woman, well, it’s just racey or erotic or humorous or, heaven forbid, all in good fun.

If this piece was in fact a graphic portrayal of a woman’s private sexual organs, I would agree with you 100%. However, it is not. This is just a silhouette, a shape of a naked body, which places it in a completely different category. Humorous, and all in good fun – that’s exactly what it is. I am sorry, but you are taking this “issue” way too seriously. I can’t say you are wrong, as everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but you are overreacting…

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4308 days

#7 posted 10-10-2011 12:08 PM

This is hardly earth shattering. It’s not even the first time this has appeared, since the workbench itself was on here a couple of weeks ago I believe.

Like Froggy said, it’s not an explicit image of a naked woman, but follows the same lines as a woman. Hell, she could be wearing a body suit for all we can tell…and that’s the neat part about it.

If this were explicit, I’d be right there with you Autumn. The thing is, it isin’t.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View MOJOE's profile


571 posts in 3781 days

#8 posted 10-10-2011 12:11 PM

Autumn, who are we as individuals to determine what “is” and “is not” art? I didn’t see the penis post, but have seen many other posts of the nude female torso. Are we to assume that since this piece is attached to a bench and not an actual 3-D sculpture, then it is not art? I think not! Anyway, just my thoughts, and it’s too bad you feel that one piece ruins that site for ya.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3166 days

#9 posted 10-10-2011 03:13 PM

As Mojoe said I would not let any one post ruin the site for you (you would never stay anywhere very long with that mentality). While I’m not going to comment on whether this is art or not, or the dichotomous way we handle the male vs female form I will say this: I think the board jack was much more appropriate when it accompanied the bench the first time it was posted.

I really don’t see the need for a second project post. If more info about the construction was being asked for…a blog entry would have been a better avenue. That’s just my .02.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3463 days

#10 posted 10-10-2011 04:40 PM

Sorry to hear you’re leaving, Autumn. I personally wouldn’t use the Lumberjocks site as a place to direct clients. If you want to showcase your own work, I’d recommend having you’re own website where you have control over the content and site’s image. If you do direct clients to Lumberjocks for ideas or whatever, I’d just tell them that it’s a site that portrays people’s personal projects and to keep that in mind.

On the image above, I don’t necessarily find it as offensive as I find it tacky. Personally, I think the dead man along with the “leg” are not reflective of a refined taste and are not really artful, but again that’s my personal opinion. I wouldn’t do that to my own workbench, but if someone else wants to do that to theirs, that’s fine.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3473 days

#11 posted 10-10-2011 04:53 PM

Folks, if this thread offends you, don’t watch TV!

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 3159 days

#12 posted 10-10-2011 05:01 PM

^ or go outside of your house! LOL

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3193 days

#13 posted 10-10-2011 07:06 PM

Woodworking magazines , I suspect , are responsible for my dog Rusty’s B u l i m i a

View dakotawood's profile


211 posts in 3295 days

#14 posted 10-10-2011 07:07 PM

FJ: I love it!
Froggy: I agree – this is a silhouette.
Autumn: Bye.

-- Travis, South Dakota

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4197 days

#15 posted 10-10-2011 11:30 PM

As a general rule, I find the posts objecting to risque carvings or scrollwork to be a little amusing and do not get outraged about them.

However, in this case, I understand Autumn’s objection. I would be unhappy having a potential customer see this piece on a web page I directed them to.

FJ, I appreciate the cleverness of your idea. My personal opinion is that the execution is more graphic than artistic. But I recognize that this is just my opinion and no more valid than anyone elses.

If it would not make you feel like you were being censored, I offer the suggestion that you could you make the full picture of the bench with the female form installed as the profile picture. Personally, I think it highlights the humor of your idea with context of it’s application, which I think people would find less “shocking”.

If you don’t agree, I understand it is your work and you should show it as you want to.

My other observation is that we, as a community, benefit from having some very gifted professionals as part of this group. I think it is fair for us to be aware that their need to make the site “public friendly” so they can use it as part of their business. I want them posting projects, and better yet, blogs so I can learn.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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