Chris Schwarz's Blog

A Different Way to Use a Doe’s Foot

During the last few years, the doe’s foot has become one of my most important workbench appliances. Paired with a holdfast, the doe’s foot can eliminate the need for a tail vise on a workbench.

I have about four of these doe’s feet at my bench, and I’ve found some surprising ways to use them. I’ve just finished an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine on the topic for a future issue. But here’s a quick sample of one technique.

Lately I’ve been using a doe’s foot as a replacement for my metal planing stop. While I really like the metal planing stop, which can be adjusted up and down, it’s not ideal for planing the faces of wide panels.

A simple doe’s foot, about 7” or 8” wide, however, is ideal for planing both narrow and wide stock.

For narrow stock, the workpiece fits in the notch and even wedges a little bit in there. This works both for planing faces and edges.

For wide boards, you place them against the two “toes” of the doe’s foot – the pointy bits. These two points of contact stabilize your wide boards and prevent them from spinning on the bench.

The downside to using a doe’s foot in this orientation is it’s not adjustable for really thin or thick stock. You have to switch to a different doe’s foot. However, it’s not that big a deal. I keep a 1/2”-thick doe’s foot at the front of my bench that handles about 90 percent of my needs.

Look for more on the doe’s foot in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss it.

— Christopher Schwarz

11 thoughts on “A Different Way to Use a Doe’s Foot

  1. comboprof

    I look forward to your forth coming article and have just read the previous doe’s foot article that has Jennie Alexander’s excellent suggestion to adhere Safety-Walk Tread to the foot. In that article you mention you made 30 doe’s feet. My question is will the forth coming article address how many doe’s feet you need and their different shapes as well as the different applications?

  2. EeyorIs21

    What about a 1/2″ thick doe’s foot with some plywood in 1/4″ and 3/8″ thicknesses. Laying the plywood under the item to be planed. I guess the awkward part would be determining the right size plywood for most pieces and where to lay it when not using it.

  3. JoshCook

    Just spitballing here, but what if the adjustable planing stop was replaced with a *really* thick doe’s foot? It does make for an interesting mortise and you would be stuck with a single doe’s footprint (heh) but you would be able to use the appliance for thick or thin stock.