Last August I attend Nancy Hiller’s book signing party at Tools For Working Wood in Brooklyn New York. After the party ended, Joel Moskowitz showed me the most recent edition to their tool and jig offerings – The BT&C Planing Stop. The BT&C Planing Stop is a small toothed plate, intended to serve as a buffer stop when planing a board on the bench.
This idea is old and has numerous versions. The novelty with Joel’s planing stop is its versatility. While other planing stops, such as bench dogs, need to be situated into holes excavated in the bench top, the BT&C Planing Stop can be screwed to the top of your old, or new, wooden bench dogs (both round and square), mounted on a special bench stud that can be screwed to the end of the bench, or (as I discovered after playing with the little trapezoid plate for some time) be mounted over a new and handy planing stop jig which I call the Bench Arm. The Bench Arm, whose alternative names can also be: Planing Arm or Bench Rex (look at the picture and you’ll probably see the resemblance to a T-rex) is meant to be held in the vise and is made in the shape of the letter “L”.
After building the arm (building details will follow bellow) I mounted the BT&C Planing Stop on the short leg of the “L”. Then I clamped the long leg in the vise.
To plane thick stock, hold the Bench Arm high in the vise. And if your stock or workpieces are thin, vise the Bench Arm lower – to allow only the BT&C Planing Stop to protrude above the surface of the bench. The Bench Arm will allow every bench owner to hand plane with ease. So if you don’t like holes in your bench, and prefer to utilize your installed vise, just build yourself a Bench Arm.
Bench Arm Design
Structure: There are a few ways to build and join the Bench Arm. I decided to build it using a traditional mortise and tenon joint reinforced with a leg bolt. The leg bolt should be installed through the base of the tenon, closer to the inner corner of the “L” in order to negate the strong moments that the joint has to withstand at that area. But of course, you don’t have to build the Bench Arm using a mortise and tenon joint. Using strong screws, dowels and screws combined or even a dovetail construction will do the job quite nicely.
Coplanar or not? My Bench Arm’s parts are coplanar, but that is not necessary the best design for all applications. If you want to allow the planed workpiece to rest on the vise’s jaws while planing, you might want to step up the short arm of the “L”. Otherwise, whenever you’ll plane a piece of wood that is thicker than the BT&C Planing Stop you will have to contend with the long arm of the “L” flanking your workpiece. This is not such a bad idea, since that flanking affect will help contain the workpiece while planing.
One or more BT&C Planing Stop? If I had a second planing stop plate, I would have installed it closer to the corner of the “L” , a configuration that could be instrumental in planing wide boards.
Can you make the toothed plate yourself? Yes you can. You can use half of a door hinge for instance. After sawing off the hinge’s housing, proceed to form the teeth using a round or a triangular file. Any metal stock that is 1/8″ thick will do. And if you feel uncomfortable riding your plane with its keen edge and smooth sole against a toothed steel plate, try to find (or buy) a brass, aluminum or copper plate to be form as mentioned above as your homemade stop.
How I Made My Ash Bench Arm
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