Planing Stops

Planing stops are an alternative to a tail-vise setup and holdfasts for face planing boards. Most flat, regular benches can easily be modified to incorporate this hand planing setup using planing or bench stops ( Roubo style)....Photos below of the hand planing jig setup on a bench I have in my workshop. This bench has been modified for adaptation of the two hand planing bench stops. This can be expanded with longer planing stops, more holes for versatility, etc. I chose this particular spacing for the type of work I do. Also, I am left-handed and planing left to right. I set this up on the back side of my bench which is unencumbered by a face vise (face vise is on front of bench ). It is important to get the 3/4 in. dowel holes square to the bench and to each other, this is to make sure the 12 in. planing stops are perpendicular to each other. The side planing stop does a great job of preventing the board from rotating sideways while hand planing with diagonal strokes. It has a large bearing surface to keep any size board from rotating. The side bench stop is also movable within a 12 in. span on 3 sets of holes, allowing for narrow boards and wider boards ( 2 in. to 14 in.).

The side planing stop can be swung around towards the front bench stop with a  parallel set of holes , this to accommodate shorter boards. Pictures below give the idea.

The wide front planing stop also serves to prevent the board from rotating or shifting sideways as it has a large bearing surface for the front edge of the board. Planing stops (front and side) are friction fit so they can be raised to accommodate thicker boards, very much like a bench dog ( 1/4 in. to 3/4 in.). Otherwise, the minimum height of the bench stops would be approx. 1/4 inches.

The hole spacing is arbitrary and based on the type of board sizes I typically hand planing. The birch dowels ( 2 in. long ) are glued in the planing stops with ebony wedges in the dowel kerf for tightness. Kerfs are cut on a bandsaw.

A benefit of having a board simply against planing stops is that you really cannot drag the planing back in your strokes. The only wear on the blade then is from the forward stroke. Also you eliminate the tendency of bowing a thinner board from clamping between bench dogs and tail-vise and distorting the board while planing.  You also have much more feedback and control of your planing and it becomes easy and quick to re-orientate the board end
for end or flip it over, etc..


More holes can be added to allow for very short boards as done in bottom pictures.. It is then a matter of swinging the side bench stop around towards the front planing stop. The spacing and location I have selected is optimized for the length and width of boards I typically hand planing.


The drilled 3/4 in. holes can also be used for bench dogs and holdfasts for irregular sized pieces.


Align side planing stop to be perpendicular with face of front bench stop using a large square to mark holes. This will ensure the complete edge of the bench stop is against the board to be planed.


Side planing stop set to narrowest width, closest to edge of bench


Planing stops can be raised or lowered as conventional bench stops for thinner or thicker boards.


Parallel set of holes drilled to accommodate shorter and wider boards, pictures below. It is recommended to lay out all the holes you will need for this system and then drill them. This ensures that all holes are square and perpendicular to each other and the front planing stop.


A short , narrow piece of lacewood being planed.


A small, wide panel being face-planed.


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