Restock of Bench Hooks & Spill Planes

Bench hooks are back in stock with both right and left hand available.  Made of soft maple, bench hooks are used for small sawing or paring jobs at the bench with no need for clamps.  More information about bench hooks can be found here.  Purchase here for $50 a pair

Also, we now have a variety of spill planes with different species and figure.  Sill planes are a tool lovers favorite and can rapidly produce large quantities of tapered wood shavings called spills that were used in colonial days to transfer a flame from the hearth to a candle or pipe. Moe about these unique planes can be found here.  In the store for purchase here.  Price ranges from $135 to $145, depending on wood species.

Bench hooks, foreground, in both left and right hand, and spill planes in a variety of woods.

Right and left hand bench hooks.

Cap Irons now available.

We are pleased to now offer cap irons to our line of tools.  Cap irons, or chip breakers, when used in conjunction with a cutting iron, are meant to control tear out in double iron planes. By setting the leading edge very close to the cutting edge, the shaving is forced into a tight curl that breaks the fibers before they can lift in front of the cutter, which is the primary cause of tear out.

We worked with contemporary double iron plane maker Steve Voigt, of Voigt Planes, when developing these cap irons.  Steve has done extensive research in double irons planes and has numerous articles and links on his site about the theory and use of cap irons.

Our cap irons are made of mild steel, and are not hardened.  The front has been formed with a bend to ensure tight contact against the cutting iron.  a smooth radius is machined onto the top surface and the tang is machined with decorative bevels similar to our tapered irons.  A threaded hole and screw are included.

Please note that a bevel will need to be honed onto the leading edge of these cap irons.  The leading edge is as machined; it has not been deburred.  We recommend the bevel to be .020″-.050″ wide, and at an angle of 50° or so.  This bevel is critical for the cap iron to work properly; too small and it won’t work. and to large and the plane will clog.  It is also critical that the leading edge be thoroughly deburred using medium and fine stones, followed by a strop.  Because the steel is soft, this burr can be persistent and will take some back and forth to remove it entirely. Keep the edge sharp during this process so shavings cannot jam under it.

Once the edge is dressed, it should not need any maintenance for years, if ever.  When planing resinous woods, resin can build up on the cap iron.  Simply remove with a rag dampened with mineral spirits or acetone.

Prices vary from $30 to $36.  They can be purchased here.

Three sizes available:  From left, 2 1/2″, 2″, and 1 3/4″



Leading edge showing bend to ensure good contact with the cutting iron.


Smooth radius machined on front. A bevel will need to be honed across the front.

Cap iron with screw, which is included.


Cap iron shown assembled with included screw to a tapered iron, sold separately,

Detail of included screw.


Beech Billets again in stock

After a rather lengthy delay, we have been able to restock the large bench plane billets for making smooth, jack, and try planes.  This wood has been dried the same way as the previous beech, and the only difference id there is heart wood present on some billets.  This is only a cosmetic difference, with the sap wood being a much more brown in color.  The characteristics of the wood remain the same. Wedge stock comes with all sizes, and tote stock with the try and jack billets.  More information about these billets can be found here.  Tapered irons for making planes are also available and can be found here.

Beech is notoriously difficult to dry without waste, and this run was no exception.  These billets are limited in number, and restocking is unpredictable.  Our goal is still to produce a reasonably steady supply moving forward.

Try, jack, and smoother billets ready to go.

Billets are at or near quarter sawn.


Tapered Bench Plane Irons

Current Inventory is becoming depleted.  The next batch should become available late January.  Watch for our newsletter when restocking occurs.

We are pleased to now offer tapered plane irons to those who wish to build a wooden bench plane.  Input for these iron designs came from two contemporary plane makers:  Steve Voigt of Voigt Planes, and Darryl Gent, who is on Instagram.  These two makers shared their experience and insights about irons, and, in particular, double iron plane making.

These irons are made of O-1 tool steel, and have the same 1/2° taper as the molding plane irons we use in molding planes.  We start with 3/16″ thick stock for all sizes of these irons, with the finished thickness at the cutting edge slightly less than that.  The tang end is approximately 1/8″ thick, depending on which size, as they all have different lengths.

There is the option of a cap iron slot for those wishing to make a double ironed plane.  Slots are all 7/16″ with with a hole at the tang end that is 3/4″ in diameter for the cap screw head to slip through.  Overall slot length is 3 1/4″.

Tapered irons in three sizes, with and without cap iron slots


Irons are tapered and beveled, and the tang is profiled.

These irons have been heat treated to a hardness of 60-62 Rc, and given a cryogenic treatment (-300° F).  The cryogenic treatment is meant to reduce internal stresses and improve the wear resistance of the cutting edge.

Currently we are offering three sizes as follows:

Smoothing plane,  1 3/4″ wide by 7″ long.

Jack plane,  2″ wide by 7 1/4″ long.

Jointer Plane,  2 1/2″ wide by 8 1/8″ long.

These irons have not been flattened or sharpened.  They do have a 30° bevel, and the heat treat process was professionally done by a vendor who specializes in blades.  Warping has been in our experience minimal.  The cost of the material and the manufacturing processes of these irons is fairly high, and in an effort to offer them as reasonably priced as possible, we chose to not do any final sharpening.  Also, the customer may want a camber or a radius on their iron, so it makes sense to leave them in this state.

Prices range from $64 for a smoothing iron with no slot to $79 for the jointer iron with a slot.  This is a limited run to test the market, and if there is enough interest, more will be made, and possibly additional sizes.  Available for purchase here.

From left: Jointer, smoother, jack irons.


Profiled tang.




Winding Sticks; Now in two sizes.

Winding sticks, 14″ in front, 22″ in rear

Winding sticks are again back in stock.  The standard 14″ size is still available, along with a longer 22″ version.  The added length can be beneficial with use on wide boards, or tasks such as flattening a bench top. The 22″ length means they will fit inside any tool chest sized for a #7 jointer plane, which are also 22″ in length, The 14″ sticks are more compact, and work best on narrower stock as they are easier to manipulate and are more stable when balancing on narrow boards. Both work the same way, and more information about these winding sticks can be found here.  They may be purchased from the store here.

Other changes we have made is to increase the thickness from 1/2″ at the base to 9/16″  This was accomplished by switching to 5/4 stock to start with, and offers more stability, especially on the longer sizes.  Finish has changed to Minwax Antique Oil, which offers a higher degree of protection than linseed oil.

We also would like to mention the presence of pin knots.  Pin knots are common in plain sawn walnut, and appear as small closed knots in the face of a board, usually near the center.  These are not considered a defect because of their small size.  When using quarter sawn stock, these knots show up running across the face of the board. Many of these winding sticks have them, as shown in the picture below.  None are open knots and they will not affect the performance of the tool.

Please note:  Because of the increase in cost of quarter sawn walnut, in part due to the thousand cankers disease, and the fact we are now using 5/4 stock, there will be a price increase from $50 to $55 in mid September.  We wanted to offer these initially at the same $50 price since so many are waiting for them.  The 22″ version will not change.  Thank you for your understanding .

Pin knot visible in the side of this winding stick.

Acer-Ferrous Moxon Vice Kit


Acer-Ferrous Toolworks has introduced a screw kit for making a Moxon style bench top vice.  The kit includes two hand screws and matching nuts made of hard maple.  The screws are 1  1/2″  in diameter with 4 threads per inch.  Overall length is approximately 12″, with 8″ of threaded length and 4″ long handles.  The handles are octagonal, and measure 2″ across the flats, which gives plenty of torque for excellent gripping power.  The nuts are 1 1/8″ thick and 4″ square.

The customer supplies the material for the jaws.  By using 4″ wide stock, the back jaw will be the same height as the nuts, which will enhance the stability of the vice on the bench top. The vice may be clamped to the work bench using bar clamps or holdfasts. The jaws can be custom made to any length needed.  We suggest using material at least 1 1/2″ thick to minimize flexing under load.  The nuts are simply glued to the back jaw when the vice is assembled, being careful not to get any glue squeeze on the threaded portions.  Instructions are included.  No finish has been applied.  Price is $75 for the pair. These may be purchased here.




A completed vice using the Moxon screws.


Winding Sticks out of stock

Due to the recent blog post by Chris Schwarz on the Poplar Woodworking web site, there has been a surge in sales of winding sticks and current stock is depleted.  We will be making more, but it could be a couple of months before completion.  Signing up for our newsletter will allow anyone interested to know when they are again in stock as soon as it happens.  Thank you all for your support and patience.


Knockdown Roubo Bench Construction Details

With the recent upgrade of the knock down Roubo workbench, there have been requests to learn more about the construction details used.  There are many ways to build a bench, so here was the criteria I needed in this one:

  1. The primary purpose was and is to display our line of tools, and provide a work space for their demonstration.  It needed good work holding ability, and stability was important.  This also meant it had to have enough weight to keep it in place regardless of the type of floor it was setting on.
  2. It needed to be portable enough to fit into a car, along with all the other items traveling along to the shows.
  3.  It needed to be attractive and also have traditional workbench appearance and function.

The Roubo style of bench is my favorite.  My original bench is in this style and has been serving my needs very well.  I was familiar with the construction techniques and felt it would be a simple job to carry this into the knock down bench.

To a large degree, the wood determined the size of the bench.  I had two Honey Locust beams, one 12″ x 12″, and the other 6″ x 12″, both 8′ long, cut into 3″ thick planks.  The top is made of one 12″ and one 6″ plank glued together to make an 18″ wide top.  Leg lengths were cut off these planks so it finished out at a little over 5′ long.

The legs are about 5 1/2″ x 3″, and are as small as I would want to go. Stretchers are resawn, and are about 5 1/2″ x 1 3/8″.  Having a tall stretcher is more is more important than width to prevent wracking.

The bench breaks down into five basic components, plus the shelf.  There are two leg assemblies which consist of one front and one back leg plus stretchers.  One assembly also includes the leg vice.  These each have a top stretcher to add rigidity and allow for securing the top in place.  This top stretcher is not as tall to allow for lag screws to pass through into the top. (I used Spax brand screws.)  The front leg is mortised into the top with 1″ tall x 1″ thick.  I wanted something substantial because the leg vise is exerting pressure against the top and needed to be solid.  Interestingly, I have found that there is no need to screw the top in place; it stays put just with the tenons.

Bench with top removed. Note holes for lag screws.

Tenon on front of leg.

The stretchers are assembled with draw bored pins;  two per tenon on the lower stretcher and one for each top  stretcher.  These were made of white oak.

Stretcher with draw bored pins. Also note the bolt hole counter bored for a 3/8″ bolt.

The long stretchers are assembled with short tenons and bed bolts, purchased from Lee Valley tools.  I modified the bolts by tapping a hole in the end and inserting a machine screw to serve as a handle when assembling.  The holes in the legs are counter bored and also are offset to the inside of the stretchers.  That way. the hole for the barrel nut did not go through the stretcher, and it looks nicer.  However, I did glue a block to the inside of the stretchers to add material since the hole is so close to the edge.  These blocks also serve the purpose of supporting the shelf.

Stretcher joint showing the offset hole and added block on the stretcher.

Assembled leg joint. Note the machine screw that serves as a handle on the barrel nut when assembling the joint.

When I added the Acer-Fererous screw and Benchcrafted criss cross, I could no longer use the bed bolt in the vice leg.  I am going to try it without it and see how it does.  This may need to be rectified in some way in the future, but we will see. Also, the nut was screwed to the leg using two lag screws.

Nut mounted to the back of the vice leg.

All in all, this bench has worked out very well.  I also use it for demonstrations and find it can be used for vigorous work without any trouble.  The top is the heaviest part, and probably weights somewhere around 60 to 70 lbs, which is manageable.  And it is very compact and fast to set up.  I am quite pleased.

Disassembled leg assemblies and stretchers.



Knockdown Roubo Bench

This small Roubo style work bench was built several years ago for use at woodworking events away from the home shop.  Primarily it is the show bench used to display and demonstrate the Red Rose Reproductions line of tools.  With a top size of 60″ x 18″, it is small enough to be portable, yet big enough for serious work.  It will easily break down into five pieces:  The top, two leg assemblies, and the two long stretchers.  While perfectly adequate for shows, I decided to do some upgrading.  Pictured here is the bench as originally made in front of the larger permanent bench that stays in the shop.

Knock down Roubo bench as originally built.

The first design improvement was to add a wood screw from Acer-Ferrous, a product we sell here on our web site.  This makes it easy for interested parties to actually try out these beautiful screws, and see how well they operate.  The one installed has a walnut hub to match the walnut chop.  Also, the Benchcrafted criss-cross  was added to keep the vice jaw parallel, and make the screw operate more smoothly.  The criss-cross supports the weight of the chop, so there is no binding on the screw.  Because of this addition, a new thicker chop had to be made to accommodate the deep mortise that the criss-cross retracts into.  Fortunately the leg of the bench was big enough for both the criss-cross and the large hole needed to accommodate the screw.  The Acer-Ferrous brass garter was also added to the face of the chop mounted at a 45 degree angle.  The garters function is to attach the chop to the screw so they move in tandem when opening the vice.

New leg vice with Benchcrafted criss-cross and Acer-Ferrous wood screw.

Also added was a shelf, which will be much appreciated during shows to store tools for quick retrieval.  It will help keep the bench top from becoming cluttered during demonstrations.  It was constructed from a single piece of walnut, and simply lays in place atop the cleats on the ends of the long stretchers.  Very quick to set in place.

Shelf set in place.

Another detail was the toothed planing stop from Black Bear Forge.  This will add a traditional work holding technique from the past, and will be welcome during woodworking demonstrations and woodworking classes.  It is a quick and simple way to secure a work piece for hand planing.  The vice jaws were lined with a product from Benchcrafted called crubber.    It is a gasket material made from natural rubber and cork, and looks to be a good method of adding grip and a measure of protection to the work piece being held in the vice.

Planing stop from Black Bear Forge, and jaws lined with crubber from Benchcrafted.

All in all, this looks to be a positive improvement to our show bench.  Be sure to check it out when seeing us at woodworking shows!

Finished bench.

New Spill Planes

A new batch of spill planes is has been completed, and there are several in the store. This run has, in addition to the spalted maple and black cherry, includes several in European Beech.  Each plane has been sharpened and test cut, and is ready to use right out of the box.  Most of these will be going to Handworks next week and will be offered for sale.  I do not have a stand there, but will have them at Sterling Tool Works booth.  I hope to be there myself on Friday, so please stop by to say hi.

Spill planes with test cut spills

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200