Over at PopularWoodworking.com I have a new post on how (any why) I tooth my benchtop.
If you are a bench nerd, I think you’ll like this post.
— Christopher Schwarz
Can you describe the overall process in a bit more detail? Or maybe cite a source for more information? Is the text of the interview you mention still available?
How flat does the top need to be prior to toothing it? Then is it just a perpendicular pass followed by 2 passes at 45 degrees? And it looks like you took very light cuts?
Sorry for so many questions, but I think I want to try this on my bench.
If your bench is reasonably flat, then tooth it. Tooth it like you are trying to flatten it.
The interview of Edwards was done by Graham Blackburn for “Woodworking in Action.” It was a tiny bit of a long interview. I don’t have any references or cites to share I’m afraid.
Patrick Edwards demonstrates this technique in a video interview from WoodTreks:
Ok, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. If you’re going to do that to your workbench, why even bother trying to make a flat top in the first place.
Because flat and smooth are two different things.
A baby’s bottom is smooth, but most of them are not all that flat.
Try it. Then say it’s the dumbest idea ever.
I’m pretty open minded but in this regard I am a skeptic. My workbenches are pretty rough as it is, I don’t think I am purposely going to make it any worse! I’m just thinking if I clamp a piece to my workbench, then the toothing is going to mark up the piece. I still do this by accident and I am not overly fussed about it – but why do it on purpose?
Great idea – I actually contemplated toothing the top of mine – but decided on wax finish.
Wax reduces friction. Try toothing it. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to go back to wax.
Chris, Woodtreks has an interview with Patrick where he discusses thoothing his bench top. I have been toothing mine since I first watched it about 2 years ago. It’s one of the best improvements I have found.
You’re a braver nerd that I am. I might hit mine with some 80 grit sand paper to rough it up or wet it to raise the grain but I’m too chicken to do what you did.
Try it. Adding it and removing it takes 10 minutes.
I think I get it now. I just watched the Woodtreks video (above) and I can see the toothing process better (they zoomed in). The pic in this post is what was throwing me. On my screen, the resulting finish looks like it was hit with a toothed scrub plane and I couldn’t imagine that being better. So it’s kind of like taking an ice rink the Zamboni just went over and then sending couple of hockey teams out to rough up the ice. Not as slick.
The photo has raking light and is only after one pass. Sorry if it was misleading.
If I wasn’t a bench nerd, I probably wouldn’t read this blog.
yet another reason to make a bench out of pine. Takes the “preciousness” out of it. A little less trepidation when assaulting $350 worth of pine than $1800 worth of maple. Ditto for holdfast holes, planing stops, etc. And yes, my maple bench needs flattening. I’ll try 36 grit in the widebelt. Years of epoxy cleanup make it akin to planing concrete…
I saw this on Chris’s bench this fall and went home to try it with my toothed blade in a low angle jack. I was hesitant, or more like scared, so I only gave it a few light passes with the grain. I ended up with more of a baby toothed top but immediately saw improvements with my holdfasts and vice grips. The difference reminded me of adding suede to my glide vice. With my next flattening I’ll try to advance to an adult toothed top.
I’m in the toothed top camp, my bench top’s beech, and I plane over it once or twice every 6 months or so. I also use my toothing plane on almost every project I build as well. It does show the “truth” of the work.
Can you provide some information on the plane iron and plane. Perhaps suitable planes to pop a toothed iron into and maybe plans to make the proper wooden plane body.
The easiest way to get it done is to buy a toothing iron for your bench plane or block plane or scraper plane. Lie-Nielsen and Veritas both sell irons for this purpose.
Toothing planes aren’t terribly hard to find in the wild. I’ve not made one of these planes, nor do I know of any plans.
A perfect use for the toothed blade I got with my Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Jack Plane. I’m glad I bought the complete Low Angle Jack Plane Set, it’s like having five different planes in one.
i thought you didn’t like metal bench dogs…
I prefer wooden ones. But I’m not going to throw out my 14-year-old brass ones….
36 grit……OMG! Break out the t ar & feathers!
Chris you remind me of a friend of mine from college as we were standing at the edge of a flooded quarry’s 20′ high wall. He kept saying just jump, try it you’ll like it! I jumped. I liked it! I have worked with my bench top toothed and smooth (current state) no real finish just one coat of oil; I have a toothed blade saddled up in my low angle Veritas #5 and getting ready to jump in again. To those that are leary the big vertical guy speaks the truth, jump in you’ll like it.
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