One of the nice things with getting reclaimed or used lumber, especially plywood, it's perfect for making little workshop accessories, jigs and for just working with to see what things you can come up with. It's part of the fun of woodworking and I can get absorbed for hours at a time working on new ideas and adaptions to my workbench.
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There are so many different kinds of things we do on our workbenches, I'm sure there are no 2 alike. Everyone changes and adapts their workbench to fit what works best for them and here are a few ideas that may inspire other changes and adaptations.
These are also called bench hangers ... and these are nothing new, but I have always had some awkwardness in using them until I figured out that if you lined the bottom with some form of anti-skid fabric, they all of a sudden ... work great
I have had many workbenches over the years and I gave up on workbenches with holes for bench-dogs many years ago. I just found that for me, they had more disadvantages and there were other ways that I could use to hold wood that I was hand planing ... and one of these is a simple edge bench stop. The advantage with these is I can put them anywhere on my bench that is comfortable for me us and because I like to stand beside the wood I am planning, these work far better for me than trying to friction fit wood to the top of my workbench ... not a solution for everyone, but it works best for me.
More on Using Magnets
I love using magnets in the workshop, they come in so handy for so many things and I seem to find more and more used for them as time goes on. The new magnets I have been buying a VERY strong and sometimes to strong because I often never know if the magnets will stay on the machinery, or come off with the tool when I lift it off. The quick answer to this is to buffer the magnetic affect slightly by using masking tape on the top of the magnet where you want the tool to lift off. It works like a charm, try it sometime.
I find I am using dowels quite often in various projects and needing to cut, drill, sand and trim them. Cutting dowels on any power tool can be dangerous. I know the first time I went to trim a dowel on my bandsaw and the blade spun the dowel right out of my hand ... not only did it startle me, it made me realize that I could also have been injured ... so ... time for some dowel clamps. I have had various versions of this over the years, but recently I had to use a couple of different sizes and thought, why not make a clamping device that will accommodate more than just one size. I found some scrap 2" x 2" stock about two feet long and set up my table saw and ripped the whole length of the board with 3 different sizes, the simply cut it in half. Now I have matching 45-degree angle cuts and I can hold all of the common dowel stock that I frequently use.
Wood Vice Racking Shims
Over the years I have seen a few metal wood vices that have literally broken from someone trying to tighten them down to hard and often this has been on the bench vice "racking" ... this happens when something is inserted in one end of the vice and nothing is put in the other end to compensate for the twisting action that happens when one end is firm and the other end open. This does NOT necessarily solve the problem of cracking or breaking wood vice, but it does go a long way to helping to prevent it in 2 ways ... first stops the racking, and second, and even more important, it alerts the woodworker that the wood vice will only stand so much pressure before it can get damaged
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Copyright - Colin Knecht