The lil' bench hook that could!

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Project by jjw5858 posted 03-04-2014 11:09 PM 4820 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello friends, something very simple and yet so effective…..the age old and always useful bench hook!

What would we do without one? Wether your style is handwork or power tools, at some point this simple and effective jig will be used more than you know when working at your bench.

Now of course I went a little overboard in the care for my bench hook as I sanded this 150, 220, to 400. Then 2 coats of Wanlut Danish Oil, 2 coats of Hopes Tung Oil, and finally a coat of good ole BLO.

But this hook was not intended for me to throw together in a fast huff and be on my way to something else. This hook was intended as a lesson of quality. My previous works have included good efforts and much learning, but now I wanted to have a better grasp of the gluing, sanding and finishing as well as the use of the hand tools in building it.

I took more time on this than should be legal. But the time was not the goal, the understanding of the 2 words were. Those two words that have been my theme are pride and care. This work being my enjoyed pastime can only give me my best rewards when I make sure that pride and care are the top factors and mantras of my creating anything.

The shop was cold and challenging as our polar vortex continued to make temperatures sure to chill anyones outdoor ambitions. I had my little heater aiding my hands to keep a useful feel as I used all of the essential old time goodies from the Stanley #4 to my Grandfathers Disston back saw. The lumber was humble cheap pine and a piece of old 2×4. My only intentions were to shave and relieve the tanned and dirty outskirts with my blade and unveil a bright renewed fresh timber. Each pass of the #4 was a step closer. I began to get a nice warmth going with each rhythmic sweep of the blade. What a wonderful hiss having thin ribbons of pine fall about my hands and tumble to the ground. Each piece began to shape as true as I would try with my square.

Nothing on my bench was in much order, although the tangled mess of past shavings and various tools somehow felt like they were supporting my task more than getting in my way of it’s creation. Once everything was planed I set my measures for the sawing, then 3 doses of grits for some good hand sanding.

The pieces were almost as smooth as silk once worked over, I was encouraged by my efforts and set my clamps up and rehearsed my glue up routine.

Once everything was set and dry I added screws underneath for extra strength. The final work would be some days of Danish and Tung oils.

I enjoyed the time put in on this, and yes I can attest that there was more pride and care put in on this “lil’ bench hook that could then probably were needed, but some good lessons were learned. Things I can improve upon in my future work.

Thank you all for taking a look and reading. I always feel honored to hear from all of you and look forward to being inspired by all of your great work.

Take care gang, have fun at your bench, and be well!


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

13 comments so far

View Cedar Furniture Lodge 's profile

Cedar Furniture Lodge

824 posts in 3491 days

#1 posted 03-04-2014 11:22 PM

Very nice design.

-- "The Cedar King"

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4076 days

#2 posted 03-04-2014 11:25 PM

Joe and you enjoyed the time well spent
Handy wee things, at the moment mine might qualify for
the ugliest. Typical I hash a quick one fae the scrap pile
and it has outlasted all the others and is always where i need
it when I want it so I guess it will do a bit longer.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30638 posts in 3557 days

#3 posted 03-05-2014 12:52 AM

Good job, nice design

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4795 days

#4 posted 03-05-2014 01:07 AM

Handy item for sure.
Yours looks really nice as well.

View Robsshop's profile


923 posts in 4194 days

#5 posted 03-05-2014 04:33 AM

Thanks for posting your lil’ hook, I am in the throws of building a new bench hook myself and I had never seen that notch feature. I built a hook several years ago after learning of its simple but affective purpose and I think I use every time I’m down in the shop in some capacity. I will definitely be adding the notch now that you have shared your version of a well made work bench “must have” ! Good stuff !

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3798 days

#6 posted 03-05-2014 07:48 AM

Very nice. The notch in the fence looks like a useful improvement on the common design.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4023 days

#7 posted 03-05-2014 01:12 PM

Simple and very effective. Gr8 thinking.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View DJ's profile


19 posts in 3169 days

#8 posted 03-05-2014 03:07 PM

Very nice. That was a very good read too.

View dougmk's profile


17 posts in 2820 days

#9 posted 03-05-2014 04:44 PM

Very nice, I will have to make one.

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4059 days

#10 posted 03-05-2014 04:51 PM

love it !

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

View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4309 days

#11 posted 03-09-2014 07:58 PM

Super sweet detail.
Love it.
Best thoughts,

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4554 days

#12 posted 03-14-2014 08:17 AM

Good work Joe and a very handy accessory. I like your ‘V’ notch idea, which I haven’t seen before.

I use my bench hook all the time. I have found that it can be used with a Japanese pull saw too when hooked over the back edge of the bench or the the tool tray behind my bench top. I also have a flat piece the same thickness that I can place under a workpiece at the opposite end to keep it the same height as the bench hook while cross cutting.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26669 posts in 4325 days

#13 posted 03-14-2014 06:01 PM

Nice. It is such a simple but handy tool for the shop!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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