The New Traditional Woodworker Project #3—Thin planing stop

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Project by Brad posted 01-11-2014 03:45 PM 5323 views 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Planing stops are an essential aid for a hand-tool shop like mine. A tip I saw in some magazine inspired me to make a couple. The first is a ¾” thick stop made with ¾” oak dowel stock spaced to fit in my bench dog holes. I also made a “thin” (5/16”) stop.

In practice, the “thin” stop gets the most use in my shop. I’ve obliterated several under the stresses of planing until the sole survivor was the ugly particle board one shown above. It doesn’t exactly make you wax nostalgic when you lay eyes on it does it?

Well, the frailty of my thin-stop along with its red-headed-step-child looks motivated me to whip to page 115 of my copy of Jim Tolpin’s The New Traditional Woodworker. His plane stop tutorial sported a design that looked both sturdy and purdy (think brass bling.) An added bonus was the fact that I could use the dividers I picked up in my East Coast Tool Hunt, to lay out the spacing of four fastening screws.

A trip to a specialty woodworking store provided the Alder S4S ¼” thick stock I wanted. One edge is affixed to a ledger which secures in a face vise. After laying the stock in the approximate position that the ledger will rest in the vise, I measured out a suitable distance to a bench dog hole. You see, the brass doggie will serve as a back stop for the far end of the stop.

Here’s what all this looks like in the vise.

I settled on dimensions of 5 ½” wide (that’s the width it came in) and 16” long.

I plucked the ledger from a piece of 1 ½” square oak stock I had left over from a bench hook project.

From here, I beveled the edges of the stop and ledger. By trial and error, I used my Lufkin dividers to find the distance to step off five equal segments.

At four of the spacings, I depressed the sharp end into the wood to act as a layout mark for a screw as well as a pilot hole for my drill.

I’ve always loved brass appointments on tools and projects, so I took Tolpin’s advice and bought brass screws to attach the stop to the ledger.

I drilled pilot holes for the screws. Unfortunately, I underestimated the softness of the brass screws and made my pilot holes too small. This was obvious when I twisted the heads right off two screws. It’s not like they didn’t warn me…they squeaked in the wood before breaking. Nonetheless, a bit of wood glue secured the heads in place and no one but you and I are the wiser.

Three coats of BLO and here’s the finished piece.

Notice the 1/16th of an inch gap between the stop and the bench when it’s secured in the vise? Well, my face vise has a slight upper-jaw canter when it closes to ensure a tight fit. And that canter causes the stop to rise up a bit off the bench. A little planing with my Stanley No 5 was all it took to true the canter.

The stop is rock solid and so far has easily stood up to the tensile stresses of planing.

And the brass screws and Alder are pleasing to the bling-loving side of me.

Mission accomplished.


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

6 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


13128 posts in 3902 days

#1 posted 01-11-2014 05:06 PM

Nice posting Brad. I use two sets of dividers to lay out my dovetails, they are all over the place in Northeast tag sales, flea markets and the like.
I made a stop similar to yours, just a bit thicker. For thin stuff i made a combination birds mouth,thin strip stop.

I made this because my bench top is no where near flat. I prefer to use your style of stop and when the new bench is done I’ll retrofit mine with dog hole posts.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Brad's profile


1148 posts in 4191 days

#2 posted 01-11-2014 05:44 PM

TOF, that’s a nice setup.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View theoldfart's profile


13128 posts in 3902 days

#3 posted 01-11-2014 05:48 PM

Brad, i’ll dig up the magazine article by Norm Pirolo. It’s from FWW or PWW.

Edit, FWW # 202, Winter, 2008 tools & Shops Annual Norm Pirollo

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 3407 days

#4 posted 01-11-2014 11:30 PM

Brad, that looks good. I need to make a couple plane stops for my bench. What kind of plane are you using in that first picture? It sure looks pretty, I’d like to see more pictures of it.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4541 days

#5 posted 01-11-2014 11:38 PM

Nice one Brad.
And fine explanations.
Best thoughts,

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

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4291 days

#6 posted 01-13-2014 12:56 PM

Wonderful demo and written.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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