Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Workbench: Planing Stop

Here's an old idea you've seen before, perfect for a lazy blog post on December 29th.  At the left end of my weirdo no-vise workbench I installed a planing stop.  It's just a half inch thick piece of Baltic birch plywood I had in the scrap bin, attached to the end of the bench with some T-Track and a couple knobs.

Planing stop works great at the left end of the bench
It was a little tricky to come up with a way to cut the groove in the end grain of the top slabs.  I considered (and even started) doing it with a handsaw and chisel, but the results were pretty horrible.  Next, I actually stood the bench slab on end and rigged up a superbly unsafe router jig.  In the picture below, you can see that (1) I am an idiot, and (2) that my wife's car is not in the shot. I am at least clever enough to behave foolishly while she is away from home.

To my wife: I swear I didn't do it this way
Thankfully, common sense took back over and I stepped away long enough to come up with a simpler solution involving some double-sided tape, a scrap of wood, and both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Routing a groove for T-Track
Once the groove was there, it was simple to cut some T-Track to fit the two bench slabs.  A few screws later, and the track holds a couple T-Bolts with handles from Highland Woodworking.  It's so convenient to have them right around the corner from me, but pretty dangerous for the wallet too.

Planing stop attaches with a couple knobs - easy to adjust.
Voila! One removable planing stop.
I like this solution because it is simple to use, and also because it fits my theme of having a bench that breaks down daily.  When it's time to quit, the planing stop board pops free, and the knobs just slide right out of the track and into a drawer.  Most of the time the parts stay in the drawer, since I don't use the planing stop every day.

Have a happy New Year!

There are other options for planing stops too.  What do you have on your bench?  Or do you just flatten boards with a planer like nature intended?


Jeff Branch said...

Too funny - I once did a similar thing that involved a ladder and a chain saw, and like you realized that it wasn't a good idea.

Nice looking bench and I even like the look of the blue t-track against the end grain.

Best wishes for a great 2011.

Aaron said...

Thanks Jeff. Chain saw? Wow, I thought the router was a bad idea! Hah.

I have been pretty happy with how the bench turned out. Now I just have to develop my hand tool skills - no more complaining that I don't have a decent bench.

All the best!

Dyami Plotke said...

Well made stop, Aaron. Looks like a handy accessory I'll have to add to mine once I finish with the legs and actually get to the top.

Bradley said...

Ha! I love the ladder method Aaron, but to truly be Johnny Dangerous you would have had to tie that lashing strap around your waist or ankle and dangle over the railing, because that would of course keep the debris out of your eyes and save you from being devoured by the whirring router that would have slipped from your grip when the dust blinded you. 1,000 ways to die ....

I do like your blog and the bench design. When I looked at the last images of stop, it came to me that you could easily get double-duty from that end of the bench by converting your Moxon vise into a double screw tail vice/planing stop with the parts you already have.

Have you started stowing your blow-molded cases and smaller tools in the Buick's trunk yet? Lotsa good mobile storage there. Just sayin' ....