Sawing aid.

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:00 pm

Hi folks.
I couldn't be bothered to set up any power tools just for a couple of cuts in some wooden batten, so, I ended up looking for my bench hook, after about an hour or so looking, I realised I'd left it at my daughter's 240 miles away. Yes, I should have reached for my jigsaw. Anyway, I'd already got a bee in my bonnet about using it, so, I quickly knocked one up out of some bits of scrap wood.

So, why am I telling you this, I've no idea, but it made me think of sharing this simple tool with you, because I'm sure some of you won't have heard of it, or would have forgotten about them from your school days.

This is a bench hook.
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Made from a piece of 18mm ply, 26cm long by 22 cm wide. With two pieces of 2 by 1 (4.5 by 2cm approximately) prepared timber, 18cm long.
As you can see from the picture, I've glued and screwed one batten along each of the two shorter edges (ends), which are square to the sides. These battens are close to the edge of the left side, and short on the right. Left handed people should fit the battens the opposite way around, close to the right edge etc. When you flip the hook over end to end, it should look the same either side.

Lay the hook down on the bench and push away from you till the underside batten jams against the bench edge, with the upper batten furthest away from you.
Now you can hold bits of wood or tank firmly while you saw them. Alternatively, place your mitre block on the hook while using it to stop it moving about.

Don't worry about damaging it, this is new, my old one is covered in saw cuts, especially near the end of the batten on the right of both sides.

So there you go, a third helping hand when hand sawing, which doesn't have fingers to worry about damaging.

Note, it is best to glue the battens on, I'm using screws till the glue sets. Sadly, screws are not saw friendly, therefore you can remove the screws if you'd prefer.

Note, after the glue has set, there's nothing to stop you adding a couple of angled saw cuts in the battens to use it as an open mitre block. You could even use 2 by 2 (4.5 by 4.5cm) prepared timber for the end batten's for a deeper mitre guide
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Postby Tiger6 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:17 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:So, why am I telling you this, I've no idea, but it made me think of sharing this simple tool with you, because I'm sure some of you won't have heard of it, or would have forgotten about them from your school days.


Yeah... Thanks Mick, I'd thought I'd successfully forgotten about my school days :haha: :haha: :lolno:

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:20 pm

Tiger6 wrote:
Son of a gun-ner wrote:So, why am I telling you this, I've no idea, but it made me think of sharing this simple tool with you, because I'm sure some of you won't have heard of it, or would have forgotten about them from your school days.


Yeah... Thanks Mick, I'd thought I'd successfully forgotten about my school days :haha: :haha: :lolno:

You are most welcome Martin.
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Postby silversurfer1947 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:24 pm

I remember these from my woodwork lessons at school, though I was heavily discriminated against. Being left handed, trying to use one of them was not exactly simple. No left handed ones were provided!
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Postby Tiger6 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:28 pm

I just remember them being a pain to use because the schools saws were invariably blunt as butter knifes, and I was used to holding wood in a vice at home...

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:28 pm

silversurfer1947 wrote:I remember these from my woodwork lessons at school, though I was heavily discriminated against. Being left handed, trying to use one of them was not exactly simple. No left handed ones were provided!

And all those years have passed, and I bet you still haven't made yourself a left handed one ;)
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:31 pm

Tiger6 wrote:I just remember them being a pain to use because the schools saws were invariably blunt as butter knifes, and I was used to holding wood in a vice at home...

Ahh, when using the hook, you can get a cleaner cut than when using a vice or overhanging a saw horse :thumbup:
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Postby Tiger6 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:35 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:
Tiger6 wrote:I just remember them being a pain to use because the schools saws were invariably blunt as butter knifes, and I was used to holding wood in a vice at home...

Ahh, when using the hook, you can get a cleaner cut than when using a vice or overhanging a saw horse :thumbup:


When your excuse for a saw is 'gumming' its way thru the work piece, the cleanliness of the cut is secondary concern to getting it done before your arm falls off...

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:40 pm

Tiger6 wrote:
Son of a gun-ner wrote:
Tiger6 wrote:I just remember them being a pain to use because the schools saws were invariably blunt as butter knifes, and I was used to holding wood in a vice at home...

Ahh, when using the hook, you can get a cleaner cut than when using a vice or overhanging a saw horse :thumbup:


When your excuse for a saw is 'gumming' its way thru the work piece, the cleanliness of the cut is secondary concern to getting it done before your arm falls off...

Gosh, some people are so tight, hard point saws are cheap, maybe we should change your forum name to Tight1 :D
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Postby Tiger6 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:54 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:
Tiger6 wrote:
Son of a gun-ner wrote:
Tiger6 wrote:I just remember them being a pain to use because the schools saws were invariably blunt as butter knifes, and I was used to holding wood in a vice at home...

Ahh, when using the hook, you can get a cleaner cut than when using a vice or overhanging a saw horse :thumbup:


When your excuse for a saw is 'gumming' its way thru the work piece, the cleanliness of the cut is secondary concern to getting it done before your arm falls off...

Gosh, some people are so tight, hard point saws are cheap, maybe we should change your forum name to Tight1 :D


I doubt hardpoint saws were even a thing when my school bought its workshop tools - and certainly everything was blunt as hell by the time we got to use it. I don't think the school would have been terribly happy with me if I were to rock up with my father's woodworking tools - probably too sharp for even the teachers to be allowed to use :/

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:01 pm

Wow, how things changed for you youngsters, did they provide safe spaces too ;)

Back in the day, all the tools were sharp, we even had a couple of wood turning lathes. And we had a metal work shop with lathes and a forge. I could never forget that forge, I was often made to stand by it till my behaviour improved :haha:
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Postby silversurfer1947 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:06 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:
silversurfer1947 wrote:I remember these from my woodwork lessons at school, though I was heavily discriminated against. Being left handed, trying to use one of them was not exactly simple. No left handed ones were provided!

And all those years have passed, and I bet you still haven't made yourself a left handed one ;)

I did actually have a left handed one, but as to its current whereabouts......
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:20 pm

You sound as bad as me Richard, I spend most of my time looking for stuff.

I think a bench hook is an invaluable tool, even for keeping a mitre block still when sawing any type of material.
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Postby jarndice » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:54 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:Wow, how things changed for you youngsters, did they provide safe spaces too ;)

Back in the day, all the tools were sharp, we even had a couple of wood turning lathes. And we had a metal work shop with lathes and a forge. I could never forget that forge, I was often made to stand by it till my behaviour improved :haha:

When I started my ONC Mechanical Engineering it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that I was the only student who was familiar with a welding torch,
I had assumed (wrongly) that everyone was taught the skill at School just as I was taught how to set up a lathe (PreDigital) and most other workshop tools powered and otherwise.
I also learnt to read music and play the Violin but that had rather more to do with the hour and a half lesson coinciding with a maths lesson :thumbup:
You talk to School Children today and it's a different world :crazy:
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:43 pm

Although I didn't do welding at school, I was taught it within my apprenticeship.
But at school I forged a screwdriver blade, one end for screwing, the other end had couple of tangs for attaching the handle. Then I placed the blade into a steel mould, and poured molten aluminium into the mould. When that was cool enough to handle, I then held it in a lathe to turn the handle.
And in between all that, I'd hardened and tempered the blade and had used an offhand grinder to clean and shape the blade.
And not one injury at the tender age of 13/14.
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Postby silversurfer1947 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:32 pm

I had to make choices at school. We had no metalwork. Progressively, we had to choose options. Art or woodwork - my woodwork skills ( apart from the lathe) were minimal, but still exceeded my artistic talents. Latin or geography. Latin took over. Next year it was biology or woodwork. Woodwork took the backseat. As you will gather, technology did not play a strong role. I do still have a bowl that I turned, though.
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:58 pm

Wow, that was very limited.

We also had to make choices for our final two years (14 to 16), but I guess I was lucky to have a varied variety to choose from.

Out of the practical I chose wood work, technical drawing and metal work, the latter I swapped out of to go to an art class instead (it had girls). I did consider doing cookery or needlework instead of metal work, but the head teacher of domestic sciences wouldn't allow it as I would have been a "bad influence." Although they did have a male in the cookery class in a higher year.
I could have also chosen brick laying/building. Sadly they didn't have it then, but car mechanics was going to be a choice for later years.
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Postby RobW » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:33 pm

I remember the bench hooks being ambidextrous at school. Handy as I had a tendency to work with whichever hand I picked the saw up with. Used to drive the teacher nuts but did avoid Martin's issue with blunt blades as I swapped as I got tired.

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Postby jarndice » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:50 pm

Quite early in life I discovered that the ability to use both hands was helpful and often pleasurable. :thumbup:
I am thinking of Pin Vices what Vices are you thinking of ???
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Postby Tiger6 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:48 am

RobW wrote:I remember the bench hooks being ambidextrous at school. Handy as I had a tendency to work with whichever hand I picked the saw up with. Used to drive the teacher nuts but did avoid Martin's issue with blunt blades as I swapped as I got tired.


You are forgetting that I have 2 wet noodles for arms, Rob, it doesn't take long to wear both of them out :crazy: :haha:

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