During the last few years, the doe’s foot has become one of my most important workbench appliances. Paired with a holdfast, the doe’s foot can eliminate the need for a tail vise on a workbench.
I have about four of these doe’s feet at my bench, and I’ve found some surprising ways to use them. I’ve just finished an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine on the topic for a future issue. But here’s a quick sample of one technique.
Lately I’ve been using a doe’s foot as a replacement for my metal planing stop. While I really like the metal planing stop, which can be adjusted up and down, it’s not ideal for planing the faces of wide panels.
A simple doe’s foot, about 7” or 8” wide, however, is ideal for planing both narrow and wide stock.
For narrow stock, the workpiece fits in the notch and even wedges a little bit in there. This works both for planing faces and edges.
For wide boards, you place them against the two “toes” of the doe’s foot – the pointy bits. These two points of contact stabilize your wide boards and prevent them from spinning on the bench.
The downside to using a doe’s foot in this orientation is it’s not adjustable for really thin or thick stock. You have to switch to a different doe’s foot. However, it’s not that big a deal. I keep a 1/2”-thick doe’s foot at the front of my bench that handles about 90 percent of my needs.
Look for more on the doe’s foot in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss it.
— Christopher Schwarz
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