Devilishly Clever ‘Doe’s Foot’
These notched sticks simplify your workholding at the bench.
by Christopher Schwarz
Workbenches didn’t always have vises. In fact, for most of human history, workbenches around the world were nothing more than a stoutly made table with a few holes. The woodworker kept the work stationary with a combination of pegs, battens, holdfasts, parts of their bodies and a few notched sticks that were sometimes called “doe’s feet.”
I first became fascinated by the doe’s foot after seeing U.K. woodworker Richard Maguire use one in lieu of a tail vise. And after several years of research and trials at my own bench, the doe’s foot has become an indispensable part of my workholding.
It’s a fiendishly clever and simple appliance. And even if you have a workbench with all the bells and whistles, you’ll find a doe’s foot useful in a pinch. Plus, if you ever work on-site without a workbench – or on a picnic table on vacation – the doe’s foot is a lifesaver.
Blog: Read Richard Maguire’s original post on the “notched batten.”
Blog: Read about the rubberized treads to improve the doe’s foot.
Blog: Holdfast Holes: Where Should They be Located?
To Buy: Benchcrafted’s Planing Stop
In our store: “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use Revised Edition” by Christopher Schwarz.
From the November 2017 issue, #235