Exercises for Arkansas I – Winding Sticks+ and Planing Stop

The point of the week in Arkansas was not to make a workbench, well, not the only point, but rather to use it to undertake a series of activities that would allow the participants to begin integrating traditional hand tool work into their regimens.  Fundamental to this is the ability to make lumber pieces thinner (resawing), narrower (ripping), and shorter (crosscutting).  And since virtually no woodworking involves only a single monolithic piece of wood, multiple pieces had to be brought together via joinery.  I tried a few test-run exercises in advance to see if they could work out for the students, whose level of experience was unknown to me.  So, beginning with a piece of the select 4/4 x 10 SYP I bought a couple months’ ago I gave it a shot.

With an eye towards what could be accomplished in four days (remember, the first day would be as dedicated to making the workbench) I decided to have them first pursue a pair of winding sticks, which would emphasize resawing, ripping and truing, then make a planing stop.  The first step was to use the kerfing plane around all the edges then resaw an 18″ piece of the 4/4 x 10 in half, yielding the stock for both of these exercises.

The Bad Axe frame saw has become an integral workhorse in my shop, and I am delighted to have this arrow in my quiver.

I planed the surfaces flat, then ripped one of the two pieces in half.  By executing these process carefully and with precision the task of creating the winding sticks was nearly done.  After all four sides of the two pieces were planed smoothly and placed against each other, then one of them switched end-to-end repeating the edge planing, both pieces were identical and parallel.

But I was not done with these two boards.  I notched a doe’s foot in one end of each of them so that the winding sticks could serve double duty as clamping devices.  Viola’, we have winding sticks plus.

The remaining resawn board was crosscut at the 2/3 point, and the ends shot on the bench hook (I also was going to have them make bench hooks but that was so simple I felt no need to emphasize that here).  I dovetailed them together and the result was a planing stop to fit into the face vise of the bench.

My own every-day planing stop was made from cypress many years ago has been tucked underneath my workbench ever since, and I use it frequently.

I was pleased with the simple straightforwardness of these projects, believing it would take them about 1-1/2 days to complete.  That would leave 2-1/2 days for something slightly more demanding.