In the photo I'm using the bench pin for a classic technique: sawing with a jeweler's saw. While the saw and blade are tools I provided myself, all the tools to make the bench pin can be found at Techshop Detroit (www.techshop.ws), where I made it.
Step 1: Materials
L to R:
- Square, or any combination of tools that will help you measure distance and mark 90deg angles.
- Wood: Make this at least 3/4", and experiment with pieces 2" or deeper for very sturdy support (in which case you'll want to design a mounting system.) This is a piece of pine, for the purpose of demonstration. A piece of hardwood gives more support and is longer-lasting.
- Pencil. Yes sir!
- Jeweler's saw all the way to the right, just to show you what it looks like
*Not pictured: Wood band saw. You'll need this to make your cuts.
First, measure the width of the wood, then mark its center point. Draw a line down the center so we can locate the wedge cut-out.
The wedge doesn't *have* to be centered, but if that's what you're after, measure maybe 4" up your center line and mark. Then align your ruler along the bottom edge of your piece and measure an equal distance from either side, a little more than an inch. Connecting each of these marks to the one on your center line will give you an even, centered triangle: the coveted Isosceles Wedge.
Lastly mark the length of your block, maybe 7", and use the square to draw a line straight across.
Step 3: Cutting Out the Bench Pin
Raise the guard only about 1/2" above the thickness of your work, then lay the wood flat on the table. Holding your material so your hands are on either side of the blade path, push your work into the blade with gentle but consistent pressure. Lighten pressure as you approach the point of the wedge and just coast in to the point. Shut off the machine.
When the blade had completely stopped, remove your piece and go in for the next leg of your wedge. If you again coast as you get near the point, the wedge will gently cut off. USE SCRAP WOOD to push it away from the blade, or turn off the machine.
FInally, make a cut across the back of your work to cut the bench pin to length.
Step 4: Shape the Fingers
Here I've gone for a classic upward taper, and I used the wood shop belt sander to do it.
I'd say this is an intermediate move on the belt sander, since we need to keep the material perfectly up and down, and control holding it an an angle to the belt. If this is a new maneuver for you, grab a scrap of wood to practice with (narrower is easier.) Do it 'til it feels comfortable.
Hold the pin with the up-side *facing you*. Support one edge on the work table, then hold the work at an angle to the belt. The tips of the bench pin will touch the belt first.
Push your bench pin into the belt so that it sands the fingers at an angle. You want the fingers to be narrow at the tips and wider at the base. You'll see that I'm holding the work so my right hand (holding the back end of the pin) is off the machine and not in any harm of getting sanded!
Sand your angle in until you get to the point of the wedge. Feel free to adjust this angle as you need! The last photo shows what I came up with.
Step 5: Finis
Clamp it down so it's firm.
File a channel across one finger to hold a piece of rod you're sanding.
Saw a groove to hold the edge of a piece of sheet material.
Gouge out a dish you can wrap your fingers around to lightly squeeze-clamp your project.
Make one that suits your next Thing!