by James McConnell
Most woodworkers have the skill to engineer a makeshift planing stop from a block of wood and a bit of old saw blade, but the precision engineering and price point of the new toothed planing stop from Benchcrafted beg the question: Why would you want to?
The folks at Benchcrafted have made a name for themselves by reinventing and elevating classic workbench hardware, and the toolmakers’ toothed planing stop is no different. The finish of the stop is less refined than some of Benchcrafted’s other offerings, but the two-point bolt-and-barrel nut mounting design is sturdy and smart. Off-the-shelf mounting hardware keeps the price reasonable, while also allowing for quick installation and easy maintenance during a lifetime of use. I was able to mortise and install the hardware into an existing wooden stop with tools common to most workshops. Simple enough, and I was back to work in less than 30 minutes.
The teeth are sharp and they will leave marks in end grain, but they are also tenacious. In conjunction with a notched batten and holdfast, this stop rivals the holding power and utility of a tail vise. Working thick stock was no problem, and I was able to lower the stop far enough to secure boards as thin as 1⁄4″ with ease. The low profile design kept the teeth in the sweet spot on the wood and out of the way of my plane blades.
Toothed planing stops are an absolute necessity for serious handplane users, and Benchcrafted has managed to put a unique stamp on this classic form. They’ve also found a way to offer it at a price that anyone can afford ($24). Highly recommended.