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The holding function of a workbench starts with the vise. But a bench’s holding power is augmented by other shop-made fixtures like bench stops, holdfasts, and bench hooks.
The basic: • Bench dogs and stops keep a workpiece steady and flat against the bench. • Bench hooks hold work for sawing or planning. • A clamp is the simplest of workbench jigs.
Bench dogs Bench dogs are wood or metal pegs that fit into the holes built into the surface of a workbench. They can be round, but most commonly they are square, with a notch and a spring built into one edge to keep it from slipping through the bench onto the floor.
Rest the end of a workpiece against a bench dog and apply pressure, and it should give the support required to do many tasks, such as using a plane or scraper. Two bench dogs can be used to clamp a workpiece to a bench surface if one is fit into a hole on a bench vise.
Bench hooksBench hooks are holding devices ideal for making small cuts with a backsaw or Japanese saw, trimming small pieces, cutting miters, or planing end grain. A bench hook is basically a flat board with a block attached to opposing ends on opposite sides. One block hangs over the edge of the bench; the other block holds the workpiece. Bench hooks can be built in different sizes for different tasks, and are commonly designed to hold work at standard angles, such as 45° and 90°.
ClampsHoldfasts and standard clamps often come in handy when working on a task at the workbench. A holdfast consist of an arm that holds down a workpiece and a shaft that attaches to the workbench either with a screw or a wedged peg. These are versatile, as they can hold work at the middle of a workbench. Standard clamps are ideal for holding work, but they are limited in the distance they can reach past the edge of the bench.
Carving benches have their own unique set of jigs and fixtures, including swiveling work holders and carving stands.
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