Chris Schwarz's Blog

An Improvised (and Excellent) Sticking Board

Sticking Board

Sticking boards are an excellent benchtop appliance when cutting mouldings by hand. A proper sticking board is an L-shaped device that holds the wood you want to “stick” (the old fashioned term for “cut mouldings.”)

The fence on the sticking board prevents the wood from bowing along its length. The adjustable stops at the end (screws in the example below) restrain your wood while you cut your mouldings. I’ve made about a dozen sticking boards in my career. They aren’t hard to make, but they do take up a lot of space when you aren’t using them. (A full-size sticking board should be about 8’ long.)

Sticking Board

One of my old sticking boards. Note the screws that act as adjustable stops.

I don’t know what happened to my last sticking board. Chances are I took it to a class I was teaching last year and left it there.

Since that moment of loss, I’ve been using an improvised sticking board that I actually prefer. What I like about this “sticking board” is that I can use any piece of 2x yellow pine stock on my lumber rack. And I usually have a large selection of scraps up to 10’ long.

To transform that scrap into a sticking board, I quickly plane one face and edge of the scrap square and true with a jointer plane. Then I push it up against my metal planing stop and leave enough of the planing stop exposed to bite into the moulding that I plan to stick.

To hold the 2x sticking board in place I simply use a holdfast and an F-style clamp to secure it to my benchtop. Then I go to work.

What I prefer about this sticking board is that it can be any height or length that I need. And my scrap pile is happy to provide what I need. Right now I think I have three pieces of 2x material in my lumber rack that I use as sticking boards. But I don’t feel bad when I have to use one of those sticks for some other project or I have to lop off one end to make some glue blocks.

And this is probably one reason why you don’t ever see vintage sticking boards in antique markets.

— Christopher Schwarz

2 thoughts on “An Improvised (and Excellent) Sticking Board

  1. Jim McConnell

    Thanks for this. This is exactly what I do, and I feel slightly absolved of the guilt of not having built a proper sticking board. I usually use a 1″x 3″ instead but that’s just because I bought a whole stack of nice ones a while back and I don’t whack my knuckles on them like I do with 2″ stock.

    Although, I have to say, those holdfasts seal the deal.

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