Bracing Table for Relief Carving
(Also called a Bench Hook)
By L.S. Irish
The Bracing Board is a simple and easy carving jig that will become an indispensable asset to your relief carving. Created from 1/2″ plywood and 3/4″ pine this jig will allow you to anchor or brace your projects while using a gouge or skew.
The front edge of the Bracing Board is dropped over the edge of your work table. The carving project is now slipped into the corner of the Brace. As you push each carving stroke the front edge grabs against the table edge and keeps your carving project from sliding away from the stroke. You can quickly flip and turn your carving project to be braced in the corner of the jig for each cut you make.
You will note that there is a terry cloth towel under the Bracing Board. Since many times I will be carving in the rec. room or living room, the towel both protects that table that I am using as well as grabs the wood chips for easy clean up later.
You will need:
Floor: 1/2″ plywood, 8″ wide by 16″ long, cut 1
Sides: 3/4″ pine, 2″ wide by 8″ long, cut 3
16 wood screws 1/ 1/4″ long
Use four wood screws to attach the one pine board to the bottom front edge of your brace. Attach a second pine board along the back top edge. Your brace with the two boards attached should have a “Z” shape.
Note that position of the screws to the boards in the image to the right. By placing the screws vertically to the brace floor you will be pushing against the screws while carving, not with the screws. This will prevent them from “walking out” of the wood over time and use.
If you are right handed you will want to position the third board on the left corner at the top of the brace.
If you are left handed you will be positioning the third pine board on the right side of the top corner.