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Why should you saw across the grain
when using a bench hook?

Shop for Bench Hooks

Long narrow piece of wood A bench hook is used for cutting a workpiece – the piece of wood currently being worked on –  that can be quite long, but relatively narrow in width and height.
Sawing across the grain using a bench hook Workpieces commonly cut whilst they are held in a bench hook include small plank shapes, battens, rails and lengths of dowel, with the grain direction running along the longest dimension.
A small bench hook Most bench hooks are relatively small – typically around 250mm (about 10 inches) long by 150mm (about 6 inches) wide – and are positioned flat on the workbench when in use.

These factors mean that a bench hook is impractical for providing support when sawing along the grain of most pieces of wood.

Using a rip-sawing bench Manual cutting along the grain – known as ‘rip-sawing’ or just ‘ripping’ – is done with a rip saw made especially for this purpose.

The workpiece can be placed on a bench made especially for rip-sawing work, like this one, which has a gap running the full length of the bench.

The gap allows the saw to pass freely along the length of the workpiece without damaging the bench.

 
Using two bench hooks when cutting a longer piece A bench hook can be used for cross-cutting quite long workpieces.

Some people even use two bench hooks to accommodate longer pieces.

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