what is a bench knife?

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thetyreman

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I would like to know what a bench knife is? it's mentioned briefly in door making and window making and I've seen a photo on richard arnolds insta account but it's still a little vague on 1. what it is and 2. what it does.
 

Jonathan S

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The bench knife I was taught with was flat one side like a chisel or plane iron, its use is to mark shoulders, so the chisel sat in the marked spot, no pencil was used on shoulders.

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AndyT

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I've read the window making book and had the pleasure of discussing the bench knife with Richard.
Take one old fashioned steel table knife, with a thin blade about 12mm wide. Grip about 20mm of it in the vice or pliers and snap it off. That's a bench knife.
To hold a bit of thin section such as a glazing bar, so you can plane it, hammer the knife into the end of the wood and the surface of the bench (or, more likely, the sticking board.)

Simple, no cost and effective. It's firmer than a nail and probably easier to remove. If you don't have any old table knives you could probably use a bit of a hacksaw blade.
 

thetyreman

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thanks Andy, makes perfect sense now, I'd imagine it was once a common thing but it's gone out of fashion thesedays.
 

Brill88

Tom Brill general woodworker and woodsman
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I would like to know what a bench knife is? it's mentioned briefly in door making and window making and I've seen a photo on richard arnolds insta account but it's still a little vague on 1. what it is and 2. what it does.
You have a bench stop one end and the the oposing end you’d have a bench knife all it is,is a scrap peice of metal it can be bigger for larger wood or a smaller bit if the wood is thin but also you can drive it down into a bench further your just sharp n one end and then hammer the thing into the bench and the bit of wood your planing. Very simple really and when your done you remove it with some nail pliers or somthing similar
 

CStanford

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Proof that the work sitting on the bench was worth more than the bench.

"Having observed quite a number of surviving British benches, I am always struck by the amount of scars that appear on their well-worn tops. I have come to the conclusion that the bench knife was not only used in conjunction with the sticking board, but also directly into the bench top itself..."

The late Art Carpenter, a U.S. furnituremaker, had a bench whose top looked like he kept rabid beavers as pets.
 
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