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Held quick. You don’t want a tail vise to traverse a board – a notch in a scrap can work wonders. Jam the far finish right into a planing cease, then safe the opposite finish within the notch. Even as you traverse, this workpiece goes nowhere.

These notched sticks simplify your workholding on the bench.

Workbenches didn’t all the time have vises. In reality, for many of human historical past, workbenches all over the world had been nothing greater than a stoutly made desk with a couple of holes. The woodworker saved the work stationary with a mix of pegs, battens, holdfasts, components of their our bodies and some notched sticks that had been typically referred to as “doe’s feet.”

I first turned fascinated by the doe’s foot after seeing U.Ok. woodworker Richard Maguire use one in lieu of a tail vise. And after a number of years of analysis and trials at my very own bench, the doe’s foot has grow to be an indispensable a part of my workholding.

It’s a fiendishly intelligent and easy equipment. And even in case you have a workbench with all of the bells and whistles, you’ll discover a doe’s foot helpful in a pinch. Plus, should you ever work on-site with out a workbench – or on a picnic desk on trip – the doe’s foot is a lifesaver.

How Does it Work?

Hard-working toes. The two toes on the top of a doe’s foot will be flat or pointed. I want flat as a result of they gained’t mark your work and are extra strong.

The doe’s foot is solely a chunk of wooden of just about any measurement with a 90° notch minimize into its finish. The system works by permitting your workpiece to get snagged within the notch between the 2 “toes” of the foot, immobilizing it.

The doe’s foot can be utilized each in entrance of the work or behind the work. It will be secured to the benchtop with a holdfast, clamps, pegs and even nails pushed by means of the doe’s foot and into the benchtop.

To get began, I like to recommend you make one that’s 12” x 7″ x 12″. Cut a 90° notch at one finish as proven within the images that leaves a 14” flat on the corners. We’ll name these flats the “toes.”

Sure Footing for Your Doe’s Foot

A rough grip. Sticky-back sandpaper or cork can tremendously enhance the grip of a doe’s foot in your benchtop.

If your benchtop is slippery for some cause (maybe you coated it with a movie end), then your doe’s foot equipment would possibly want some additional traction to remain put.

I’ve discovered three options that don’t contain nails. One: apply sticky-back sandpaper to the underside of your doe’s foot. Any coarse grit will do, resembling #80 or #120. Two: apply sticky-back rubberized treads. These often are utilized to the rungs of ladders so the ladder doesn’t get slippery when moist. Three: adhesive-backed cork will work.

These merchandise can be found at any respectable ironmongery shop. 

In Front of the Work

In some outdated work you’ll see the doe’s foot utilized in entrance of the work as a substitute of a planing cease. In some ways, I’ve discovered the doe’s foot to be extra helpful than the normal single-point planing cease. Here’s why.

A single-point cease is nice for planing slender inventory; just about something lower than 6″ extensive is simple to manage towards the cease. But when you begin planing wider inventory, issues get difficult. You both need to hold transferring the inventory or skew the aircraft excellent to forestall the wooden from spinning on the benchtop.

With a doe’s foot you aircraft slender inventory by urgent it between the toes. With wider inventory you press it towards the 2 toes, forcing the doe’s foot to behave as a large planing cease.

Note that this works when planing boards on their faces or on their edges. The doe’s foot is sort of efficient for planing slender boards on their edges.

But what about planing even wider panels, resembling an 18″-wide aspect of a typical chest of drawers? That’s while you transfer the doe’s foot so it’s behind the work.

Behind the Work

Best foot ahead. With the doe’s foot in entrance of the work it may possibly wedge slender items (above) or help wider work with its tippy- toes (under).

Some folks don’t imagine this method works till they struggle it. So if you’re uncertain, give it a whirl earlier than you dismiss it.

For planing extensive panels, push the entrance of your workpiece towards a planing cease (or a doe’s foot). Then place the notch of a doe’s foot towards the far nook of the rear of the board. (Look on the picture at first of this text – it’s easier than my phrases counsel.) Secure the doe’s foot towards the benchtop – I take advantage of a holdfast.

Now you’ll be able to aircraft the board both with the grain or throughout the grain. Yup, the doe’s foot is a lifesaver for traversing. Planing throughout the grain wedges your board towards each the planing cease and the doe’s foot like magic.

For me, that was the second I knew I didn’t want a tail vise. Armed with a few doe’s toes and a pair of holdfasts, there’s nearly nothing I can not do to a chunk of wooden when constructing furnishings. 

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