Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 5
   May 2011
   Getting a Grip

Wooden grip
The jig, a wooden grip, slides on and off the plane as needed.

I like my shooting board, particularly its accuracy and ease of use. But if you've used a regular bench plane on a shooting board, chances are you've suffered the discomfort of holding the plane in the necessary "death grip". This is why my eyes lit up when I saw the addition the late Alan Peters, English furniture designer and maker, had made to his jointer plane: an improved and comfortable wooden grip that simply slipped on and off the plane as required. I had to make one for myself.

The first step was to make a sandwich of wood that would slip over the side of the plane. The dimensions can vary quite a bit. Mine seemed to naturally gravitate to somewhere between 5" and 7" long, 1" thick and 1-1/2" to 1-3/4" tall. Larger hands will appreciate the larger size. I used short scraps from my offcuts box, but if you're milling up stock specifically for the job, prepare enough for at least a couple of attempts. Chances are you'll want to experiment, and having spares is never a bad idea.

  Drawing outline
  Drawing outline onto filling
By the nature of their manufacture, the thickness of the side walls varies among planes, so measure your designated shooting plane and make the filling of the sandwich to fit. It's a good idea to make it slightly fat and plane to fit later in the process. Draw around your plane onto the filling and cut it out with your saw of choice; it doesn't have to be perfect, just close enough.
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