bench screw in use

bench screw in use

An earlier post discussed period illustrations of  “bench screws” – a fixture on the edge of the workbench to aid in planing the edge of boards. Here is the bench screw I mounted on my workbench. It is based on the one in Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory (1688). Somehow mine needed more nails to hold it than Holme’s did. The one nail in his drawing is not plausible, it’s got to have at least 2, probably better to have 3.

 The other end of the board is propped up on a peg in a sliding board fitted between the benchtop and the stretcher. I have no seventeenth-century reference for such an arrangement. I have seen a Dutch painting from the 16th century that shows a 3rd leg on the bench front, with a row of holes bored in it. The extra leg is centered between the near & far legs. I’ll dig that picture out this week.

PF bench screw full view

PF bench screw full view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next image is J. Alexander’s bench & screw; this one is lag-bolted to the edge of the bench. The bench has a wide apron, into which JA has bored holes for either pegs or a steel pin to support the other end of the stock.

JA's bench w/ screw, holdfast & hook

JA's bench w/ screw, holdfast & hook

 

There are other uses for the bench screw, and other means by which seventeenth-century joiners might have planed edges of their stock. But these two versions we did are a good starting point. The screws are about 7/8″ in diameter, if I recall correctly. The notches in the block can be made to fit any regularly-used stock dimensions; mine accomodate 1″ and 2″ thick stuff.

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