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I’ve decided to purchase a workbench, or more accurately a kit.

I didn’t have space for a Roubo – a Japanese style planing beam sounded more interesting. Especially the flexibility of moving it about, and using the trestles alone, struck me as interesting.

But the western styles of workholding (dogs, planing stops, and holdfasts) seemed to me to be the best approach, especially given that I am using western planes (Stanley & Veritas).

So I’ve combined the two approaches – and Mark Hicks at Plate 11 (www.plate11.com)  has kindly agreed to make a kit for me to my plan. It’s currently in-work, I’m looking forward to receiving it in a few weeks. (Like many, I simply didn’t have much time to build my own from scratch.)

Here is the plan : planing_beam

It can also be set up to use a kanna – simply spin the beam about. Mark contributed a few ideas – notably the pins – and some suggested modifications regarding the choice of through vs. stopped mortises. (Note – after using it for a while – some form of pin or stop to connect the beam to the trestle has proved necessary – as I’d expected. But if I did it over, I might use a cleat, rather than pins – the pins are a bit hard to dis-engage. Refer to the Schwarz link below.)

I didn’t include any form of vise – for now. I’m intending to work using various planing stops, dogs, and holdfasts. To work the edge of a piece, I will use a clamp to hold the piece. We will see if practice matches theory – and if not I may drill a few more dog holes, or add a vise.

Some reference information / inspirations:

Toshio Odate discusses a planing beam in his book “Japanese Woodworking Tools”



Another example of the trestle; Jay van Arsdale wrote some articles years ago in American Woodworker. You may be able to find it on Google Books (I did).

As for my choice of dog holes and their placement, Schwarz has convinced me : http://www.popularwoodworking.com/workbenches/schwarz-workbenches/i-have-a-dog-in-this-fight