Are dogs a man’s best friend?

DSC_0122 Of dogs it can be said they be to every man his best friend and so I thought to introduce some thoughts on the Veritas planing stops. A little different than dogs but none the less doggedly reliable and doggedly simple. To contrast this with my no nonsense clamp-in-the-vise method, the planing stop anchors boards frames and panels for those who prefer surface anchorage. Combining my 13” bench top with the 10” opening of the vice I gain support over about 20-22”. Wide enough for doors of generous width and indeterminate length. I like them for planing and also for holding larger items such as this tool chest. DSC_0124 One is sufficient for most planing operations, but sometimes I found the combination of two stopped sideways slippage. DSC_0126 Combining two, the longer version and the shorter one, is great but with the vise dog as shown it secures the work nicely, squarely and more than adequately to stop an lateral shift. I liked the compactness of these stops as basics around the work area, but I especially like the distribution of pressure along the longer distances. This minimizes or actually eliminates the associated risk of bruising with bench dogs.


  1. I use a planing stop described by Ian Kirby. He attaches a slotted piece of timber to the leg of his bench with a wing nut and cuts a mortise in the benchtop through which the stop rises. You can adjust the stop to whatever thickness (height) you need. An alternative is to make an L-shapped appliance with thin material on one leg that rests on the benchtop and the other leg of the L in the vice. I’ve not tried making one of these yet, but it seems a really simple substitute that could be made easily in minutes that would serve for the veritas plaing stop you show perpendicular to the vice (for planing along the bench). With your bench design, I’ll bet you could put a thin bar clamp from the apron to the well, tilt the clamp so that it is almost on its side on the bench top, and then butt the work piece against the bar of the clamp. Rotate the clamp or or less for the thickness of the wood. This would be a planing stop for free. Alas, I’ve not built your bench yet to try it.

    I really like Kirby’s planing stop and use it for many things although I’ve got mine mounted on the bench end away from the vise. It is so quick to pop it up and lean something against it to plane or even gentle chisel cuts like making knife walls. So far, I’ve felt safe doing that. I’ve let pieces rest against it while I pushed a gauge (a tool that still frustrates me as a beginner).

    Here’s a link showing Kirby’s planing stop. Look at the very first picture.

  2. Those are nice, especially with the sliding posts to conform to wherever your dog holes are! I use two wooden battens just like this on my portable Roy Underhill bench. I normally don’t need to secure the workpiece, I just plane into the battens or their corner.

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