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Your Workbench Needs a Bench Hook

The “bench hook” (commonly referred to today as a “planing stop”) is an essential workholding feature on my bench. This L-shaped piece of iron is filed with teeth to bite into the end grain of the board to be planed. Peter Nicholson described it well in his 1812 book Mechanic’s Companion: “Near to the further or fore end A B [of the bench] is an upright rectangular prismatic pin a, made to slide stiffly in a mortise through the top. This pin is called the bench hook, which ought to be so tight as to be moved up or down only by a blow of a hammer or mallet. The use of the bench hook is to be keep the...

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