Author Archives: Steve Branam

Steve Branam

About Steve Branam

Steve Branam is a software engineer and woodworking hobbyist in Ayer, MA. He has been working with hand tools for 5 years. He enjoys working with traditional methods and teaching the skills he has acquired. He likes to show people that even if they don't have access to a well-equipped power-tool workshop, they can still do woodworking of all kinds. Steve writes the woodworking blog www.CloseGrain.com, which is read all over the world. On it he shares projects and techniques, and documents woodworking events in his area.

Beyond the Vise: Miter Shooting Board

Many shop-made workholding devices for hand tools can be fairly crude, made quickly from scraps. Shooting boards aren’t like that. They’re precision instruments, and need to be made with care. Because they act as reference guides, any errors in their alignment will result in errors in your work. Miter shooting boards...

A square planing board, bench hook style.

Beyond The Vise: Planing Boards

On several occasions I’ve taught hand tool woodworking in locations that weren’t really setup for it. The challenge I faced was hand planing workpiece faces on tables or workbenches that didn’t accommodate the operation. My solution was a planing board. I’ve seen several different styles. A sticking board is a particularly...

Beyond The Vise: Workholding For Hand Tools

Why go beyond the vise? While most workbenches include a vise, it’s not always effective for all hand tool work. Things get even more difficult if you don’t have a good vise, or are working away from your regular workbench. A variety of work holding methods have evolved over the centuries...