If you ever find that you need to
securely hold boards to edge plane them but have no bench with a
vise, these photos show how to do it.
When I am making coffins for
historical events specifying only period frontier conditions, I
cannot alone hold the bottom boards or lids and plane them.
Also, lids have a bevel all the way around their margins on both
their top and bottom surfaces that must be planed to shape.
The photos show vises you can make
out of two logs by hewing one side flat so they cannot roll and
cutting large notches with vertical ends or shoulders on the top
of each log. This allows vertical boards to be rigidly strained
in place by driving opposing wooden wedges between them and one
of the shoulders of each notch as shown in the photos. Instead
of standing when planing board edges, one kneels on the ground
beside the board.
The photos show a finished coffin
lid held firmly in the notches. I learned this technique of
holding work pieces in the woods from my dad when I was about
eight years old. He cut out a wheel felloe for a wooden wagon
that was an emergency repair using only a crosscut saw and an
This is a coffin lid held firmly on its edge by opposing wedges
in each notch.
This is an end view of the board held in the notches.
The logs are shorter on the left side because that is where I
kneel to do the planing.
James E. Price