Trick: Bench Jig for Thin Pieces

A “Trick of the Trade” from the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine:

Most
of the time, the end vise on my workbench is more than adequate to
secure workpieces between bench dogs. Occasionally, though, I need to
work with thin wood at the front edge of the bench (such as when using a
plow plane to groove small box sides). For this, I need a holding
device that won’t be in the way of the plane or its fence.

I have
found that wood dowels (matching the diameter of your dog holes) that
are inserted into through-holes in small pieces of scrap wood (that are
thinner than your workpiece) are a useful accessory. Dowels equipped
with a brass ball catch can be tapped flush with the surface of the
scrap wood.

By placing one jig in the two end-vise holes and one
jig in two bench holes, I can hold small pieces securely and be assured
that the plow plane has clearance. Neither jig should overhang the front
of the bench. That way, the plane’s fence registers off the workpiece’s
edge, not your workbench.

If you have only one hole in your end
vise, glue a strip of wood to the front edge of the scrap wood and use
just one dowel. The wood strip prevents the jig from shifting.

Jim Quinlivan
Torrance, California

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