An Ambidextrous Bench Hook

I have mentioned in the past my affinity for my beefy 8×10 southern yellow pine planing beam.  It is in fact the place I find myself more than any other in the shop when actually doing woodworking, especially fabrication.  A recent addition to the accouterents of the work station only enhanced my gravitation to it.

Unlike many purists I feel nearly equally at home with western and eastern woodworking techniques.  I am not sure if I am equally facile, but I enjoy them pretty much the same.  After watching a youtube video on Japanese woodworking I came up with the “ambidextrous” bench hook, one that cne be used pushing with Western tools or pulling with Eastern tools, both right handed and left handed.

The fixture itself is a simple adaptation of the traditional bench hook/shooting board.  I made two identical plates of 1/2″ baltic birch plywood and affixed them together offset by about an inch or so on either side.  I then attached the top and bottom front and rear cleats as normal.


The arrangement works in the following manner (but its full utility is dependent on the fact that the planing beam is 10 inches deep): set on the beam in the “normal configuration it works as a typical right-handed push-tool bench hook/shooting board.  Flipped over front-to-back it yields a second orientation that is a left-handed push-tool bench hook/shooting plane.


Starting from the original position and flipping side-to-side provides a right-handed pull-tool sawing and shooting board function, while starting from the original position and rotating it 180 degrees flat results in a left-handed pull-tool set-up.

If there is interest I will make and post a drawing of the fisture so you can make one to fit your exact needs.