Full Chisel Blog

July 17, 2008

Workbench Appliances Part I

Filed under: Uncategorized,Workbench — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:51 pm

Now that I have discussed the Best Workbench in the World, here are some accessories used in conjunction with said bench.  Because the bench does not have a permanent vise, it helps to have other equipment to perform various tasks.  These can also be referred to as sawing appliances or planing appliances but they are generally used on the workbench.  And handy they are.

The most common piece of workbench paraphernalia is the Side Rest, sometimes called a bench hook.  It is a simple device, one long wide board with a small cleat on each end.  I have gone through a couple of these handy tools and I currently have two, the shorter pine version and one larger I made of mahogany.

Side Rest

That is not blood, it is shellac.

I use it mainly to hold work while I cross cut off the end.  I also use it for chiseling as you can see the stop on the pine side rest is quite chewed up.  I also use them to hold pieces that I am chopping half blind dovetails, both sawing and chopping out the waste.  I do use an old woman’s tooth router plane to clean the waste out for the tails.

side rest damage

Here are my two side rests, the longer one is of mahogany.

Side Rests

I can also use my side rest as a shooting board in a pinch.

side rest shooting board

The next most frequently used device is the shooting board.  Most woodworkers make their shooting boards too short and will not work on larger stuff.  I made one that is longer than most so I can actually use it to square the edge of the board.  This is much easier to square a board and get a straight edge than by free hand planing the edge.  Can also be used to plane end grain.

Shooting Boards

 Another planing appliance is the Miter Shooting Board, this is used like a regular shooting board except the center stop has a 45 degree angle to each face, allowing you to shoot either direction.  With this tool you are planing end grain on fairly small miters.

miter shooting board

Well I had every intention of doing this in one post, but apparently I need more space, so more to follow.



  1. Stephen,
    When you use your regular or miter shooting board what size plane do you usually use?



    Comment by Michael Rogen — July 18, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  2. That just may be the most beat-up bench hook I’ve seen to date. 🙂 That extra-long shooting board… doesn’t that make it a bit of a pain when shooting narrow pieces? Having to reach that far, I mean?
    To shoot edges, I just use a jointer fence on my fitting-only jack plane. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

    I like the mitre hook. I’ve been meaning to make one of those (and a donkey’s ear) for a while, but I haven’t done it yet.


    Comment by Metalworker Mike — July 18, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  3. Another great post. I made my shooting board a little longer too. Not quite as long as yours. I have to agree with Mike above. Doesn’t it getting annoying when shooting smaller pieces?

    Comment by Shannon — July 18, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  4. Michael,

    I use a jack plane for most work, but I also use my coffin smoothers to work on the shooting board. I have talked about this before, with the side of the smoother on the shooting board, you can use it at a skew which can be of great help on troublesome woods. And welcome.

    M.Mike & Shannon,

    What was more annoying was when I had a short shooting board and couldn’t do longer pieces, but then I have another way to do much longer pieces, which I will discuss later. I have no problem with this as I am quite tall, so I can easily reach over to hold small narrow pieces on my Long shooting board. And the Donkey’s Ear is coming up.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 18, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

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