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Thread: Vivaldi’s Planing Stop (“The Four Seasons” and wood movement)

  1. #1

    Vivaldi’s Planing Stop (“The Four Seasons” and wood movement)

    Just a little joke for the other music nerds out there.

    Anyhoo, my bench is douglas fir (excellent bench material!!) and my planing stop is made from beech. I love it and it is probably tied with my holdfasts for most frequently used work holding tool.
    ps1.jpg

    When I put it in it was moderately tight and it was great. Then a few months later it was so tight I was burning 800 calories trying to move it. I was forced to plane it down, not just so I could move it easier, but also because I wasn’t going to take any chance it could crack my 4” thick benchtop. All was good until the next movement of Vivaldi’s masterpiece. Now it was loose, and getting looser. As I would plane against it, it would very slowly shimmy its way down until the workpiece went flying down the bench! To fix this, I clamped a scrap of wood to the top stretcher (this is a S/T roubo) that was a little thicker than the gap between my planing stop and the stretcher. Then I stuck a thin piece of wood (ironically, I think it was a cut off from one of the legs that was hiding amongst some scraps!!) between the two. It presses the bottom of the planing stop forward which kicks the rear of the top (above the bench) back. It totally worked. I even glued a piece of leather to the wood spring, but I don’t think it really made a difference. I intended to replace the clamp with some screws or something, but because it was out of sight, it was out of mind.
    ps2.jpg
    Alas, Vivaldi keeps playing music! Now the planing stop is perfectly tight again and my little contraption does nothing. I would remove it except that I know Vivaldi will make it loose again and I don’t want to have to search out another set of scraps. So it will stay.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    825
    Seasonal movement has been exactly why I haven't put a planing stop like that in my Doug Fir benchtop.

    I have been rethinking now that I have a larger leg vise to reach around. I have one of these at the end of my bench that worked great when I had this smaller vise in the leg/ face position.

    I suspect your pictured spring clamp is going to be a strong contender for me.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    I have used the same beech stop since 1979. It is usually loose in fall because it loses moisture faster than the bench top, and then tight in the spring because it gains moisture faster than the bench top.

    It is nice to make the stop rather long. It is sometimes nice to cut back to a nice crisp front edge on the stop after much use, and making it extra long allows you to do this.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
    Just a little joke for the other music nerds out there.

    Anyhoo, my bench is douglas fir (excellent bench material!!) and my planing stop is made from beech. I love it and it is probably tied with my holdfasts for most frequently used work holding tool.
    ps1.jpg

    When I put it in it was moderately tight and it was great. Then a few months later it was so tight I was burning 800 calories trying to move it. I was forced to plane it down, not just so I could move it easier, but also because I wasn’t going to take any chance it could crack my 4” thick benchtop. All was good until the next movement of Vivaldi’s masterpiece. Now it was loose, and getting looser. As I would plane against it, it would very slowly shimmy its way down until the workpiece went flying down the bench! To fix this, I clamped a scrap of wood to the top stretcher (this is a S/T roubo) that was a little thicker than the gap between my planing stop and the stretcher. Then I stuck a thin piece of wood (ironically, I think it was a cut off from one of the legs that was hiding amongst some scraps!!) between the two. It presses the bottom of the planing stop forward which kicks the rear of the top (above the bench) back. It totally worked. I even glued a piece of leather to the wood spring, but I don’t think it really made a difference. I intended to replace the clamp with some screws or something, but because it was out of sight, it was out of mind.
    ps2.jpg
    Alas, Vivaldi keeps playing music! Now the planing stop is perfectly tight again and my little contraption does nothing. I would remove it except that I know Vivaldi will make it loose again and I don’t want to have to search out another set of scraps. So it will stay.
    I wonder if you could insert a small/thin wedge to hold it tightly in the months when it fits loosely?
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I wonder if you could insert a small/thin wedge to hold it tightly in the months when it fits loosely?
    You could, and that's a solution I found when I was trying to find a fix googling. The problem is that you have to fit the sliver of wood every time you adjust the stop. I also saw all kinds of wing nuts, added clamps, and all kinds of stuff. All of the solutions I found (other than planing it down when tight and gluing on some veneer when loose) required manual steps every time you adjust the stop. With the wooden spring I used you can't even tell anything was ever amiss in the first place - you wouldn't even know while working unless you look under the bench.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    Not for nothing, but do you always deploy it at the same clearance above the bench surface?

    If so, it could be readily "pinned" in place with a dowel the size of one chopstick.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Oakland, CA
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    Why not make two (or four?), one for each season?

  8. #8
    Chris,
    I know this goes off topic a bit but where did you get the metal stop piece of your stop? Did you purchase it? If yes can you share where that was?
    Izzy

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Not for nothing, but do you always deploy it at the same clearance above the bench surface?

    If so, it could be readily "pinned" in place with a dowel the size of one chopstick.
    We raise and lower the stop for different situations. For planing stuff that is 1/8 thick or less the stop has to be very low so we can plane over it, but that will not work for a piece that is thicker and rough sawn. The stuff would jump over the stop. On occasion it is helpful to get the stop flush, out of the way entirely. In general we change the stop every time we change thickness of timber.

    A stop needs to be able to be adjusted with a tap of a mallet; otherwise it is not working.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Camire View Post
    Chris,
    I know this goes off topic a bit but where did you get the metal stop piece of your stop? Did you purchase it? If yes can you share where that was?
    Izzy
    Here are a couple Izzy. Not the same ones he is showing though. From TFWW, LINK and from Benchcrafted, LINK
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 06-17-2021 at 6:57 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
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    436
    Here is what I did on my bench. If they are not too tight you can still adjust with a hammer.

    EAE9AB13-1C39-4A59-BCC6-4ECD372F3B60.jpg

    6CC272DA-F5B6-4251-81CA-A5C27181B916.jpg

    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Freiburg, Germany
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    I also have a doug fir top, and a cherry planing stop. It also varies over the year in how easy it is to move, but not so much to cause any troubles (never stuck). Maybe it would be a good idea to make the fit good towards the endgrain in the top, with maybe moves less, and a looser fit on the other two sides which are the long grain doug fir and supposedly moves less?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Not for nothing, but do you always deploy it at the same clearance above the bench surface?

    If so, it could be readily "pinned" in place with a dowel the size of one chopstick.
    I raise the stop to different heights depending on what I need. Most of the time it could be at the same height of say 1/4" and work fine. But often I need it lower for thin stock, or higher if it's thick stock that is also short so it doesn't just tip on end. I also use the planing stop for other tasks. Sometimes I'll raise it really high and stop a piece of wood against the wood part of the stop. This is common when I have to cut a bunch of boards on the bench hook. When I make my "knife wall" or whatever you want to call it, I need something to but the board against to chisel that little wall in and with the stop being down at the end of the bench it's rather convenient. I also often press my strop against the side of it when touching up chisels/irons, which is frequent. It's there, so it's very convenient. It can do more than just be a toothed stop!

    Regardless, even if it were just one height, a pin would require an extra step every time it's used. The beauty of a toothed planing stop is to just push it up and go, or push it down out of the way and go. If I had to insert a pin every time I'd use it a lot less.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Liebling View Post
    Why not make two (or four?), one for each season?
    I like this. I'm actually going to make a separate bench for each season!! Actually, I should have four different fully outfitted woodshops!

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