By Robert Beason
When it comes to mill or lathe work, often the trickiest part of the job is figuring out how to hold the work. This is especially true when it comes to working with angles. There are a lot of devices out there to help, but most of them cost too much for occasional use in my home shop and I thought I would share a low-cost alternative I used recently when machining a bench block.
Since the V-groove in the center of the block is not a critical feature (nothing is critical on a bench block!), I figured wood would be adequate to use as a fixture. I cut two pieces of dimensional lumber at a 45° angle and screwed them together. I notched out the end opposite the angle and clamped it in my vise, making sure that the bottoms of the boards were in firm contact with the mill’s table. The bench block was secured with a couple of screws.
Then, it was a simple matter to cut the V-groove, using an end mill.
The results were fine for the bench blocks I made. Don’t overlook the use of wood for work holding; it’s easy to use, takes little time to shape, and best of all, it’s cheap!
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