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Poutine. Ice hockey. The outstanding parking ticket I owe in Montreal.

I know I’m going to get spanked for this by our neighbors to the north, but those are the three things that come immediately to mind when I think of Canada. Yes, I know there are many wonderful things about Canada, and I would dearly love to retire to Vancouver or Prince Edward Island. Heck – if I could telecommute and work out the legalities, I’d move to either of those two places now.

The fourth Canadian thing that comes to my mind is Lee Valley – and it goes with number two, ice hockey, for purposes of this post. You see, Lee Valley has now thrown its hat in the non-slip friction pad ring – and the company is using hockey pucks to do it.

Credit where it’s due: Rockler was the first to bring to mass market pads with non-slip/high-friction surfaces that are used to lift your work off the bench and hold it in place for such jobs as routing, sanding and finishing. You know them as Bench Cookies.

We also have in our shop Wolf Bench Paws from Platte River Engineering (they’re the paw-shaped pads in the picture above, in case you couldn’t guess), which have a hole in the middle of each that accepts a 3/8″ dowel pin to raise your work higher (and on points) for finishing, and the paw has built-in storage for the dowels (and screws that come with it for securing the paw to your bench, should you wish to do that).

Lee Valley decided to supply high-friction sheet material with a sticky backing that you can cut into whatever shape you like to stick on any surface you deem suitable. And then, I can only surmise, someone looked in his or her kids’ gym bag and had a D’oh! moment. So now, Lee Valley has discs cut to fit standard hockey pucks for all those old pucks you have kicking around. And they sell hockey pucks, too, for those of us who have lots of old soccer balls kicking around instead. What do they call the product? Bench Pucks, natch.

I’ve tried all three of these products to keep a flat piece of wood in place while running a random-orbit sander over it, while using a trim router to round an edge and while taking a light shaving with a smooth plane – just to see if they really keep the workpiece in place. The Bench Cookies, the Wolf Bench Paws and the Bench Pucks all work as advertised.

So why choose one over another? Well, the Bench Cookies were first, so points there, plus Rockler has a whole series of Cookies and Cookie accessories for difference applications. The Wolf Bench Paws aren’t round so they don’t roll off the bench if you set them on their sides, and the bright yellow makes them easy to find in a cluttered shop. The Bench Pucks are heavy enough (6 ounces) to hold down a Roubo poster that has been rolled up too long and too tightly because someone hasn’t yet gotten around to making a suitable frame (who, me?!), and they may (if you live in Canada or maybe Boston) re-use a readily available product that you might otherwise have thrown out. And really, the hockey thing just makes me laugh. And makes me want poutine.

– Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. If you’re in Cincinnati for Woodworking in America (or any reason) and have a hankerin’ for poutine (or high-end hot dogs), make plans to eat at Senate in the “Gateway Corridor” district of Over-the-Rhine. Awesome. And get the fried egg on top – trust me.

p.p.s. Fifth on my list of Canadian things is “I’m crushing your head.” I miss that show.

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Showing 13 comments
  • dave451

    You are right Megan….. The only thing the Rockler Bench Cookies are good for is a hockey puck. The way they slide around Jonathan Toews would be ecstatic

  • tsstahl

    Dam pall cheque.
    Difference, deference, deferment, different…

  • NoelNNY

    Miss Megan –

    Two thoughts- one is the pucks make great “feet” on the legs of workbenches and shop made items; like those metal 4 leg type you find on contractor saws and band saws – just drill a hole dead center slightly less than the bolt diameter, drive home an appropriate length carriage bolt, and lock the down. Keeps the bench from sliding around

    and #2 (and I may be misinterpreting your writing, but ” have a hankerin’ for poutine (or high-end hot dogs), confused me – I have known poutine to be a potato and gravy “delicacy” not a high end hot dog.

    Or did I miss the high end hot dogs during the 6 years I drove my kids up into Canada for youth hockey tournaments? ;>)

  • kct3937

    Things about Canada mentioned herein…
    It’s not Vancouver Island; it’s Fantasy Island and we keep our politicians there to limit their destructive tendencies;
    500K may be the average for houses in BC, but the lowest price in West Vancouver is about 1.3 Million ( the recent sale of my neighbour’s house);
    I have twp (2) Lee valley stores within driving distance and am given a hard time for showing up at other than Saturday morning at 9 AM…they know me well;
    Barf…the name of another great Canadian…this time John Candy’s character in Spaceballs; he was a MOG…Part man and part dog, but his own best friend;
    Spaceballs, Standoffs…small difference.
    And the significant line from Spaceballs was…May the Schwartz be with you!

    Several of us know what eschew means.

  • Grung56

    I think the
    p.p.s. Fifth on my list of Canadian things is “I’m crushing your head.” I miss that show.
    That might have been the sketch comedy show “Kids In the Hall” from the eighties. (Before that it was “Bob and Doug McKenzie on SCTV” but that is another story).
    Also Canadian is Tim Hortons, naive politeness and spalted maple.
    Perhaps not totally unique to Canada, but distinct and FYI.

  • jverreault

    So Megan, there are a couple of houses for sale just down the road and we have a Lee Valley store in town AND the best damn poutine joint (La Belle Patate) west of Montreal…oh, and your ticket is moot as this is BC not Quebec…

    Food for thought…


    living in beautiful Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island
    …and loving it!!

  • chucksdust

    Ha! Anarchist stand offs. How about make your own? I just received an e-mail from Penn State with these in them
    Looks like everyone’s in the game.

  • tsangell

    If you market a “Heads of Schwarz” standoff line, I will buy them.

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