5 Minute Jig: How to build a Bench Hook

5 Minute Jig: How to build a Bench Hook

Don’t have much time today but still want to get out and build something in the shop? Take 5 minutes and 3 pieces of scrap and build yourself a bench hook. A bench hook is a great way to hold a work piece in place while applying force in one direction. I use mine for planing boards that are too small to put through the planer safely, tweaking joints with a chisel, or cutting a board with the handsaw. Sometimes I hook mine on the rear of the bench and pull on a work piece with a cabinet scraper. A bench hook is a very versatile woodworking jig!Bench Hook

How it works

A bench hook has three parts. The stop, the body, and the hook. The stop is the top board that you put your work piece against. It should be thinner than your work piece if used for planing. That way your hand plane can slide past it. If used for sawing then it should be thicker. The hook is the piece that hangs over the front of your bench to keep the bench hook from moving. It is mounted to the underside of the body. The body is just a flat piece of wood. It’s size depends on how big of boards you want to work with. I think mine is like 10″ x 20″.

Build it

    1. Find a suitable piece of scrap plywood for the body. I had a piece of 1/2″ laying around that was about 10″ x 20″. 5/8 or 3/4″ ply would work well too. The size just needs to be a little bigger than the work piece you want to work on.
    2. Screw on the hook from above. I had a scrap piece of 2×2 about 8″ long. I screwed through the body into the hook. Glue is optional.hook
    3. Screw on the stop from above. If using with a hand plane make sure the stop is shorter than the work piece. I had another piece of 1/2″ sitting in the burn pile. Make sure your screws don’t pass all the way through the body or you’ll scratch up your  bench top when you use the hook. Glue is also optional here.Bench Hook Stop
    4. Use it. See how the plane clears the stop?Bench Hook stop height

About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."


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1 Comment

  1. Todd Fratzel

    Great tip Jeff!

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