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What bench hook features are available?

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double-sided bench hook and mitre box for right- and left-handed use Some bench hooks have additional features to make make certain jobs easier, or to help prevent damage to the bench hook.

Groove to reduce damage

Bench hook with cutting groove One refinement is a groove that runs the length of the bench hook base.

On a left-handed bench hook, like this one, the groove goes from the left of the stop to the hook end of the base. Its position is reversed on a right-handed bench hook.

Sawing using bench hook with groove When supporting wood in this bench hook while sawing, it is less likely that the base will be damaged by the saw.

This is because the groove gives clearance for the bottom of the workpiece, and with the final stroke of the saw, the saw goes into the gap rather than into the base. Although, some damage is still possible.

Mitre cutting guides

Mitre guides in bench hook stop Some bench hooks have guides – also called slots or kerfs – cut into the stop at angles as an aid to cutting mitres.
Mitre joint

What is a mitre?

A mitre is a joint made between two pieces of wood at an angle of 90°, so that the line of junction bisects this angle. This means that the two pieces of wood to be jointed must have their jointed ends cut at an angle of 45°.

It is the joint commonly used to join the sides of a picture frame.

Sawing mitre with tenon saw and bench hook Placing the saw in a 45 degree slot in the bench hook stop constrains the saw so that it cuts through the workpiece at the correct angle.
Making a straight cut with a mitre bench hook A mitre-cutting bench hook usually has a 90 degree kerf cut into the stop as well. This can be an excellent aid to making normal right-angle cuts across the grain.
Cutting a mitre with the help of a mitred bench hook For a step-by-step guide, see our section: {{widget type=”cms/widget_page_link” anchor_text=”How to cut mitres using a bench hook to hold the wood” template=”cms/widget/link/link_inline.phtml” page_id=”890″}}.

Sub-bases

Bench hook with sub-base Some bench hooks have a sub-base, which provides two key advantages to the woodworker.

This type of bench hook is very similar to a shooting board, another device for holding wood when shaping it. Shooting boards are usually bigger than bench hooks and are often built for specific planing jobs or one-off projects.

Sawing with workpiece on bench hook sub-base One advantage is that, like the groove mentioned above, the sub-base, acting like a platform, gives some clearance between the bottom side of the workpiece and the base.

This helps reduce damage to the base when sawing right through a workpiece.

Smoothing end grain with workpiece held in bench hook with sub-base The other advantage is apparent when a plane is used to cut the end grain of a workpiece held on the bench hook.
Using a bench hook with a sub-base when planing end grain The edge of the sub-base provides a convenient straight-edge guide for the bottom, or sole, of the plane as the end grain is being smoothed.

The side of the plane slides along the right or left-hand side of the base, depending on whether you are using a left- or right-handed bench hook.

Planing end grain while holding workpiece in basic bench hook Without the sub-base, the side of the plane would slide across the top of the workbench, as shown here, with the possibility of damage to the workbench.

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