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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie question here...if one does not have a wood vise or bench dogs built into the bench...how would one secure a small board (say, less than 30 inches by 5 inches, 3/4 or 1/2 thick) when trying to plane it smooth/level by hand, so that it doesn't go sliding all over the benchtop?
 

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The day has come, finally, when you get to start drilling holes in your bench!

It doesn't hurt at all after the first 5 or 6.
 

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Do you have a face vice on your bench? If so make a plane stop. 2x material for in the vice and thin stock, I used 1/8 plywood screwed to it. Make it wide so it doesn't rack, and make sure to make it square. If you need a pic let me know and I'll post once I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So far I have nothing attached to the bench top...it's a piece of old melamined counter top placed on top of an old double bathroom vanity. I'm long overdue to make myself a decent workbench ;)

Will definitely look into those bench hooks, and work up the nerve to "drill, baby, drill" a couple holes in the top for some sort of peg stops or something similar. Off the bat I was wondering about the feasibility of those rug anti-slip mat thingys, made of some type of rubber/foam, sold in rolls...
 

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Off the bat I was wondering about the feasibility of those rug anti-slip mat thingys, made of some type of rubber/foam, sold in rolls...
Sorry but the anti-slip mats are not going to be able to hold a work piece against the forces a hand plane can generate.
 

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OK, another way to go is to build a bench-top jig from a part sheet of plywood. Dogs, screws, whatever, they get attached to that.
Then, you clamp the "dummy bench top" to your workbench.

I'm a carver. I do that most of the time. Screw a piece of junk wood to the carving as a "handle." Clamp that to the real bench.

I can use a planer knife on western red cedar, hack away at a 6" turtle head, csmooth and carve WRC slabs for a carved umbrella stand, not a new hole in the bench in the past 3-4 years!
 

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can clamp a thinner board then the thickness of your stock to the bench and use that as your plane stop if you dont want to drill holes.

however when doing this, you will most likely have issues with the clamps slipping and sliding as well. I prefer to use a couple bench dogs to hold the batton (thin strip) this is placed in front of the direction you are planing in, then use a second batton with a notch cut in the end to hold the back corner secured with a holdfast. this will stop any sideways movement.

I do it this way because I do not have a tail vice on my bench.
 

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Edit: John posted while I was typing - similar info.....

Another low tech (cheap) solution is to use a batten and a couple of clamps to hold it. Only requirement is for the batten to be thinner than the piece you are working on. It is my go to method since I don't have a decent bench/bench stops/holdfasts, etc.

One other method is to use a single notched batten - read about it here, there is also a video on this page: www.popularwoodworking.com/workbenches/schwarz-workbenches/notched-batten-great-workbench-trick
 

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As other people have said, clamping another piece of wood as a batten is easiest.

While I usually agree with Dave Paine, this time I only partly agree with him: I have successfully used a smoothing plane on wood that was only held in place with a no-slip pad. It takes a fine touch and a finer than usual cut with a very sharp blade, but it can be done. That said, I don't ever want to have to do it again, because it really kind of sucked. A batten is a far better idea.
 

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If you can clamp between two battens it will be easier than just against one if you intend to traverse. In any case, you'll quickly desire the ability to pinch the wood with dogs with the wood sliding around on that piece of countertop.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Got off work early today (best decision they have made, sending us home at noon due to the snowstorm!), so I decided to see what I could dream up. Drilled some 1/2" holes in the bench top(which surprisingly didn't complain ;) ) with a forstner bit and cut a few pieces of a 1/2" dowel to use as dogs...had to shave them down a bit so that they fit into the holes...grabbed a piece of red oak pallet wood that was both twisted and cupped lengthwise, and went to town on it with the no.5 jack plane. By Jove, I think I'm gettin' the hang o' this - the formerly twisted board is now straight and true, and I have a nice pile of excelsior on the floor next to the bench ;)

I saw the video of that english woodworker dude, using the hold-down, peg, and that angle-cut piece. Way cool! Dude knows his hand tool techniques!
 
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