Fine Woodworking, Mike Pekovich, Workbench, Workshop
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Three Bench Jigs

Editor’s note: Happy New Year! I hope all of you are as excited about a new year of woodworking projects as I am. And I have some pretty major projects in the pipeline. More about them later.

One day, while deep into building my new workbench, I saw a truly excellent video where Mike Pekovich discusses the merits and use of his favorite workbench jigs. As I neared completion of my workbench, this video kept reappearing in my mind and I knew I had to adopt several of Mike’s jigs for my workbench (his video shows six different jigs). All of them are just stupid easy to make. I like designing my own projects, but sometimes I’ll see something so good, I’ll simply duplicate it.

At the end of his video, Mike mentions the Fine Woodworking magazine article which featured these jigs in more detail (viewing the article requires a FWW membership). After viewing the video several times and printing the article from FWW’s website, I went to my workshop and made three of the six jigs. First, the video…

Jig one: The Pekovich T-Square – My version is made 100% from scrap wood lying around my shop. I picked up a piece of oak, a strip of 1/4″ plywood and a sheet rock screw. There is also a bench dog made from 3/4″ oak dowel stock and another small piece of 1/4″ plywood. I call this “my version” because the plan calls for 3/8″ stock vs. the 1/4″ plywood I used, since I did not have any 3/8″ material lying round. This jig is so easy to make, as soon as I have some 3/8″ scraps, I’ll update this jig.

An overview of the planing stop.

The completed jig in use.

There are other ways to make a stop for your bench. I had always thought I’d make one as seen on Christian Becksvoort’s most awesome workbench (below) and less likely for me to adopt is the one seen on an equally awesome workbench; Chris Schwarz’s French oak bench (here), but this one struck me as something that could be used in a couple of ways (both wide and slender stock), is incredibly easy to make, and requires zero modifications to my workbench.

Christian Becksvoort, a master at his rockin’ workbench. Note the planing stop attached to the end of his bench (photo source).

Second jig – a corner planing stop. At one point I had decided against making this jig because I can clamp wood in my end vise to lock slender upright stock in place. The video shows Mike using leg stock or just wood which may be more prone to tipping over when planed. Again, I had scrap material which I could easily make this jig with and it is also very basic and quick woodworking, so I made one and think it will be a useful jig.

Construction details for the corner planing stop (one screw already in place).

The corner stop in use with a board standing on edge.

The same board laying flat.

The chief benefit of this stop is the ability to push a board into the corner of the stop and plane without any movement. It worked well and I now view this as more convenient than using my end vise.

Jig three – a deluxe bench hook. With this jig, some serious woodworking can be accomplished. I’m talking about shooting end grain; making the end of a board square with a hand plane and in the case of this jig, also get truly accurate 45 degree angles. This was also the most complex to make and requires some speciality hardware, but I found everything I needed locally therefore keeping this jig in the “simple” classification. As stated in the video, Mike admits that getting a square fence for a shooting board always eluded him. This shooting board has a fence which pivots on a 3/16″ steel pin which when used in conjunction with an accurate square, Mike can verify the fence is square to the shooting board and lock the fence in place with the star knob.

The shooting board exploded.

I got all the required hardware at my local Woodcraft store.

The sub-base and base glued together and the slot cut for the speed square. The fence clamped in place.

The fence partially installed with a pivoting steel pin. The anchor nut for the star knob installed.

An oversized hole for the star knob allows for some adjustability of the fence. Here I am locking the fence square.

The completed shooting board.

This jig had me closely following Mike’s construction steps as seen in the magazine article. Transferring the location of the steel pin and the star knob to the base and sub-base meant drilling a small pilot hole from the fence to the sub-base before drilling the final holes at their proper diameters. Otherwise, this was a straightforward project.

The other three jigs seen in the video are things I’ll build later, but I’ll definitely add them.

I have the three SketchUp models available for download at my page in SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse.

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Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

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