May 14, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

How to Make a Bench Hook in 3 Simple Steps

Bench Hook Featured

The bench hook is probably the simplest, most useful, and easiest to make workshop accessory. Some are certainly fancier and more functional than others, but even the most rudimentary bench hooks are as helpful as having an extra hand. This accessory minimizes the need for vises or clamps, allows you to make quick cuts, can perform the same function as a bench dog, and the more sophisticated versions make quick miters easy. So here’s a short guide on how to make a simple bench hook.

First—What is a Bench Hook?

Before we get too far into how to make a bench hook it might be good to explain what exactly it is. At its core, a bench hook holds workpieces in place while crosscutting with a hand saw. This accessory—typically built by hand— improves both the accuracy of your cut while giving you an additional measure of safety.

It sits on top of your workbench with the “hook” overlapping the front edge. This lets you use one hand to push a workpiece against the makeshift fence while making a cut. The fence is held in place by the front lip of the bench hook—which, quite literally—”hooks” onto the workbench. It frees your hand to control the material as you saw, rather than having to simultaneously hold the board steady.

You can also combine the use of a face vice or even clamps to hold the bench hook in place.

How to Make a Simple Bench Hook

As you can see from the photo, there’s not much to a simple bench hook. Much like the author, it doesn’t have to look good to be useful! You can use three scrap pieces of wood fastened with screws or with strong wood glue. Part A acts as the fence, Part B is the base, and Part C is the “hook”. There are so many ways how to make a simple bench hook that you can customize it to fit your specific needs.

Simple Bench Hook
Make this on a day you feel like playing hooky.

Steps to Building a Bench Hook

  1. Find a plank or board for Part B and determine the desired length and width. If you will mostly be using it to cut, or you want to use it in the place of a bench dog, it can be on the shorter side. If you plan to use traditional woodworking tools such as hand planes and spokeshaves, you might want more of a shooting board. For this, a deeper bench hook works best.
  2. Cut the fence Part A and the hook Part C to the width of Part B.
  3. Fasten them to opposite ends and sides of Part B (see photo above) so that Part C hooks the front edge of your workbench. Try to ensure that any screws or fasteners are flush with the wood.

Bonus Option for Miters

If you want to increase the functionality further, pre-cut miters into the fence Part A so that you can make quick, easy angle cuts. Just be sure those angles are correct!

Bonus Option for Pull Cuts

Consider letting Part B extend beyond the fence Part A (not flush as in the picture). This lets you use the bench hook with a Japanese-style saw that cuts on the pull stroke. In this way, you can also pull against the far face of the fence and not just push against the fence as you would with a western saw.

You might have also noticed that the bench hook is reversible. This lets you add to your miter angles or even start over if the first try didn’t work out so well!

That’s All!

The simple bench hook is a great first woodworking project for beginners and a very handy tool for experienced craftsmen. It’s often overlooked, but it certainly shouldn’t be. We hope you have fun with your new bench hook. If you have any additional tips about how to make one, add them in the comments below—or contact us with your own Pro tips.

Related articles

What is Plain-sawn or Rip-sawn Wood or Lumber?

Plain-sawn or rip-sawn wood uses a particular method of milling trees that yields highly usable, strong boards. It delivers the least amount of waste of any milling method. Unlike quarter sawn wood, particularly popular for oak and maple, plain-sawn wood presents less exposed grain on the face of the board. Most lumber uses this simpler […]

Rainwater Capture and Collection for Irrigation

It happens more frequently than you would think—a “normal” water shortage turns into a full-on drought. Now you’re stuck without enough water to take care of your landscape and preserve your plants. If you do water your plants, you do so illegally. That’s dangerous, self-serving, and (on a more practical note) sets you up to […]

Metabo OneRate Tool Repair Service

Metabo Sets New Standard for Tool Repair Turnaround The Metabo OneRate Tool Repair Service promises a 48-hour turnaround and an up-front fixed rate for repair. Metabo designed this new program to help you budget tool repair costs while reducing downtime. How Does the Metabo OneRate Program Work? To get started with the process, visit the […]

How Much Torque Do You Need on an Impact Driver?

How Much Torque Do You Need on an Impact Driver? More Is Always Better, Right? In today’s world of power tools, pushing the envelope of more power is more than just a 1990’s Tim Allen sitcom. When you look at two impact drivers with the same price tag, and one has more power than the […]

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x