Apropos of Nothing

My name is James.  I am a hand-tool woodworker and this is my workbench.


In all its glory.

I only mention it because I plan to finish the Stent Panel workbench over the holiday weekend, so this may be a last-ish hurrah for my beautiful little clamp-on slab.  It has performed quite admirably over the last year or so, and it deserves a retrospective of its own.

Made of Hard Maple, its overall dimensions are 48″ long x 9″ deep x 1.75″ thick.  The bench uses two Veritas aluminum planing stops (one of which functions also as a bench hook on the right side of the bench) for general workholding.  There is also a dog hole for a Grammercy Tools holdfast on the right side of the bench.  The whole thing clamps onto my sturdy dining table using angle iron and ordinary F-style clamps.  It’s finished in two coats of natural Danish Oil (Watco, obvi).

I always meant to add a crochet and peg system for working on edge grain.  Heck, I still might (using some brass shim stock for the pegs).  Most of my edge grain planing is done with free standing boards (for more tactile feedback), but anything that wouldn’t stand on its own gets clamped onto the front face with some F-style clamps.  That works okay, but it’s no replacement for a face vise or crochet system.

The slab has served me well and stayed very true over its life.  It’s planed to be flat when clamped down to the dining table, so if the slab finds new life (as the top of a child’s workbench, perhaps), it will need to be re-trued.

And, apropos of nothing, I bought River a climbing rig that hangs on the back of a door.  It’s pretty sweet, but it makes me want to build a better one myself.


But it should be fine in the meantime.

Happy 4th of July, everyone.  Grill some meats and make some sawdust (not at the same time).



  1. I’ve been considering the Grammercy holdfasts on recommendations from others as well as seeing you use them. You obviously don’t have any holding issues in your slab (which is less than 2″)? I have the ridiculous small version that Woodcraft sells, and I couldn’t get them to work with less than 2 1/4″ thickness. I’ve seen the “dimpling” trick others have used to increase holding power, and I’m wondering – Have you had to modify your holdfasts?

    I hope you do make a project out of the climbing rig. And I hope you have a happy 4th also!


    1. Mike comma no issues whatsoever in one and three quarters hard maple. No modifications although I could see how sanding them down a bit might be advantageous. I 100% recommend the Gramercy holdfast. Both in terms of performance and price.

      Liked by 1 person

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