The New Traditional Woodworker Project #2: Slip-sliding-A W A Y!-A sticking board to hold my stock…and my sanity.

It’s no accident that I chose to make this project. You see, I’ve been promising to build my lady a wine rack—and not delivering it—for so long that she’s convinced I’m working a day job as a politician. In my own defense, I did build a mockup of pine…in late 2011.

What I learned from that experience is that nothing humbles a man faster than trying to rabbet a 1″ x 4″ board with inadequate clamping. I tried every manner of fastening the board to my workbench only to jam the #78’s fence against said restraints…or have the board slide out of position.

And nothing gets me in a tizzy like the way stock slides all over hell’s half acre when I’m planing it. So rather than teach the kiddies next door some choice words, I decided to make a sticking board. To be honest, when I first read about it in The New Traditional Woodworker, I didn’t understand what it was for. But after battling sliding boards, it was clear as the sun glinting off the nosecone of a WW II fighter at your local airshow, that it was time to build me a sticking board.

The build
Constructing it was straight forward—Jim Tolpin’s instructions are pretty clear. He uses only hand tools. And the hand-tool-only picturetorial fills in some blanks. It was a good project because I learned some new skills, like making my first breadboard joint.

When it came to selecting wood, I went with a pine base because it’s cheaper than hard woods and lighter. I picked up a poplar sliding fence and used some scrap mahogany I had lying around for the breadboard ends. After seeing the whole thing assembled, I regret the poplar choice. That death-warmed-over-greenish tint isn’t doing much for me. And with that qualifier, here’s the final product:

The road to Hell is paved with inadequate clamping
Sticking board planing success hinges upon adequate anchoring. Don’t even think about touching your soon-to-be-stuck board without completing this step. Unless, of course, you find profuse cursing to be a cathartic experience. Or you’re a sailor. In that case, have at it.

For everyone else, joy begins with a firm stop at the head:

…then continues with a bench dog to prevent lateral movement at the head (see above).

…and is completed by proper anchoring at the appliance’s heel:

With the board complete and an anchor system in place, I could finally tackle that wine-glass rack.

A new day dawned and along with it renewed hope that today I would meet success. To the sticking board with thee!,” I said to the unsuspecting 1″ x 4″ aspen board that would yield the slats needed to hold the wine glasses. Here it is all laid out.

Start by making a short run towards the end while holding the fence firmly to the side of the stock. (My left hand was taking the picture)

And then plane away and away and away…

Well. Isn’t that special. It works pretty well.

Somebody pass an 800-thread Egyptian-cotton towel
Have you ever seen those blog posts where a guy happily shares pictures of his new Stanley #78 along with a 2-foot board sporting a slick 1/8″ x 1/8″ rabbet? I love those. They talk about the experience as if they just got back from a two week stay in a Tahitian hut resting on piles softly lapped by gentle-lagoon-waves while lying in a hammock being hand-fed grapes by Cameron Diaz.

My experience was slightly different.

The wine-glass rack called for rabbets on both edges of 16 total board feet to serve as retaining slats. Said rabbets were to be 3/8″ deep by 1 1/8″ wide. If that sounds like a lot of effort, think about your two-a-day high school football practices. At the end of my labors I had a blister, sore muscles, and two Turkish-bath-soaked t-shirts to show for my efforts. Oh, and a lot of rabbets.

Now to be honest, the going became so sloggish that at one point I broke out my router table to do some of the heavy removal. But alas, there was so much tearout and unevenness in the rabbets (had to make two separate passes with a ¾” straight bit—each starting at 1/8″ deep and working my way to final depth) that I went back to the sweat and blister rabbetting with my Stanley #78.

Final thoughts, or in this case, dimensions
In order to keep stock in place, the sticking board uses machine screws with the edges ground flat to gain better purchase against the board’s edge. My rabbetting took so much force to push through the stroke that the screw heads dented the stock ends. It was no big deal, but I did have to calculate my cuts to include room to shoot off dents 1/32″ to 1/16″ deep. That’s shoot as in with a shooting board, not shoot as in with my 12-gauge shotgun.

And they stored wine glasses happily ever after
The new sticking board was invaluable for my rack build. It performed flawlessly when using a 3/8″ molding plane to put a bead detail on the shelf-support rail.

And it worked very well under high pressure applied forward and to the left while rabbeting.

In short, the appliance did what it was supposed to do. It cut the build time considerably and delivered better—albeit with pound-shedding labor—results.


About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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One Response to The New Traditional Woodworker Project #2: Slip-sliding-A W A Y!-A sticking board to hold my stock…and my sanity.

  1. My daughter wants a wine rack with glass storage so your blog entry came just in time. Your rabbets look perfect. I haven’t tried to make a rabbet that wide by hand yet…..

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