Flailing a plane about can be very rewarding or make the piece of wood look more like a cat’s scratch board. It comes down to whether the thing stays in place or not. Hence a planing stop. I bought one from Veritas, and tested if it wood stop the would. Or.. something.
I really do not like having to mess about with bench dogs, vises or what ever work holding method that requires twisting a handle every time you want to check on progress. Not more than I absolutely have to. While thicknessing a board, I want to be able to grab the board, check my lines, slap the board down and take a swipe. Then rinse and repeat until satisfaction. Which I get, unlike some jagged rolling Mick.
I then came across the Veritas planing stop whilst salivating over the virtual catalog pages (or websites as the kids call’em) from one of my favorite drug dealers (online store with tools and woodworking supplies). Planing stops are not new to me, but I hadn’t seen any I would like to have in/on my bench. Planing spikes mar the wood, and I know I will ruin a work piece or my knuckles on it. So that’s out, mesa thinks. There are other options I am sure, but I want it simple. I understand simple. And i like KISS. “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
This is indeed simple! A very low profile (.22” or about 6mm) above the work bench, means that it won’t get in the way. It is made from black anodized aluminium, which are softer than steel. In theory it won’t damage a blade too much, but I’ll use a spacer if I’m approaching 6mm thickness anyway. And it looks good, which does not matter to anything but my vanity. Shiiiiiiinyyyy…..
Installation is dead simple. Drill two 19mm holes and drop it in place. The dogs slides in the T-track (there are some rubber O-rings that hold the stop in place), which means you can adjust the stop if you want to. It is also very easy to remove. The holes fits my holdfast as well. This means less holes in my workbench, which I like. It ain’t cheese and I ain’t swiss.
Of course, to save money one could just chop a stick with two wooden dogs glued and doweled into it (or screwed, but that introduces metal to an otherwise plane safe thingamabob). It won’t be shiny, though… And I like the adjustability. No need to be exact with the hole placement, except try to be square to the front of the bench.
In use, this thing works really well. Slap the wood on the bench, slide it to the stop and have at it with your weapon of choice. Like so:
I ordered another one which I will install perpendicular to this one for cross grain work. The dog holes I need to drill can be used for my holdfast as well. Richard Maguire demonstrated the “holdfast and a batten” technique. That was when I saw the light on this. No need to screw or twist, just put the piece down and go to work. Easy! With two planing stops I won’t need the batten for a lot of applications – although the batten probably holds the work piece more stable in place, I suspect.
Since the batten works best when the work piece can rotate a bit until the batten locks in, remove the dog furthest from the front of the bench, from the planing stop.
Of course this does not work for all applications. But for what it is intended for I find that the Veritas planing stop does everything I expected it to do. A second one is on order and I will drill dog holes in a few locations with the use of a holdfast in mind as well. This should give me a very versatile setup for work holding, and I can utilize the dog in the vise as well. Scraps of wood can be used as spacers where needed.
Where to put the second one? Since I own a planer/thicknesser that maxes out at 25cm / 10”, most of my work will involve pieces up to 25cm. It makes sense to place one stop at 25-27cm inwards of the front edge of the bench. A second placement near the tool well accommodates wider panels. Spacing of dog holes along the bench will be determined of the length of the stop. At nearly 45cm in length, the medium sized dictates about 40cm between holes. My Lie-Nielsen holdfast reaches about 18cm, which means that two holdfasts placed nose to nose (but still gripping a work piece) would have a gap about 4-5cm (appr. 2”) between them. That should be a perfect setup for any application. If I need more elaborate work holding than that, it’ll be a once in a blue moon kind of situation. No need to kill the bear before an order for a skin rug is placed…
The planing stop can easily be cut to any desired length. You can slide it along the dogs if you need to and it stays put. I highly recommend it as an alternative to bench dogs, spikes or what have you. It is fast to use and does everything I expected it would do.
I am not affiliated with Veritas or any resellers. I bought the product with my own money. This review is my personal opinion, and I have not withheld anything.
Good, plane simple product. I like!