Sunday, January 30, 2011

bench surface holding

Finally conjured the strength to drill an array of 3/4" holes through the top of my bench. These holes can then be used by various kinds of appliances to help keep pieces in place. It's very 16th century.

With a spoke shave and a block plane made a few bench dogs that friction fit into the holes. You just tap them with a mallet from underneath to expose them.

One row of 8" spaced holes along the front for the surface vice, and then a row of wider spaced holes along the back for the hold-down

A close up of the hold down by lee valley. The neck fitting into the surface has some toothed ribs to find purchase in the holes.


It really does a nice job and will obviate a lot of rube goldberg clamping machinations that I've gone through to hold material down while dovetailing. Probably also would have spared me a recent trip to the ER for 5 stitches in my thumb a couple weeks ago.

Surface vice

The one disappointment of the day was the surface vice Lee Valley sent concept it's really cool, but I think i got a defective part. The aft support has threads only on 1/2 of the chanel, such that you can turn it counterclockwise to disengage the threads and quickly reposition the vice fore/aft. Once where you want it, you turn the support clockwise to re-engage the threads, and then tighten it up to hold your work. Well, mine doesn't quite engage the threads enough so it jumps out of adjustment without hardly applying any load to the threads...drat


  1. You WILL send it back, I hope! No point in having fine tools half-assed fine - as I've discovered with many an item, though have kept on 'making do' rather than make a fuss. Make that fuss, babe!

  2. hehe thankjs, judy - and Lee Valley are nice guys, docile canadians, very sensible. they've already sent me a replacement *AND* a prepaid envelope to return the faulty part in. they have a great rep among us hand-tool galloots :-)