Dovetails and Work Height
#11
  
Recently, on another forum, someone asked about work height relative to bench height and how it impacted back issues (which many of us deal with at a certain age).  Not too long ago I went from dovetail sawing from my bench face vise to a LN dovetail vise, which raises the work about 4".  After thinking about the issue, I remembered seeing a picture of Christian Becksvoort working at his bench using an auxiliary bench that seemed to raise the height of work significantly (the picture appeared to me to show sawing at a height that looked uncomfortable, and I did not give it much thought).
   

After thinking about that picture (prompted by the question posed by the OP on that other forum), I thought it might be worth
trying to raise the work height to see what that would yield.  I had a work platform that I had made for an earlier project that was about 9" tall and I clamped it to my bench. I then clamped a sample work piece to the platform. Here is what it looks like:

   

I found that I was standing straight up, and more importantly, felt completely comfortable working at this height and got great results.
I wonder if anyone else has already discovered this technique and what you thought of it?
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#12
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
Actually...I just sit down on the Shop Stool for such things....always liked when I could get a "sit down job"....
   
Clamped up, and take a load off...

I do the same for box/finger joints....and I even set up a jig to chop mortises, while sitting down... Winkgrin 
   
Then just have a seat... Rolleyes
   
Works for me.. Cool
   
can also do tenons this way...
Show me a picture, I'll build a project from that
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#13
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
(08-29-2019, 05:48 PM)Philip1231 Wrote: I found that I was standing straight up, and more importantly, felt completely comfortable working at this height and got great results.
I wonder if anyone else has already discovered this technique and what you thought of it?

After doing that with the box you have, are you thinking you'll build a bench like Becksvoort's? A couple of months ago I did up plans for a guy who designed a portable Moxon-style vise that is very inexpensive to build. He clamps it to the top of his bench to get the needed height increase.
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#14
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by DaveR1 ([quote='Philip1231' ...)
That is exactly what I am considering. I was thinking of incorporating my LN dovetail vise into a Becksvoort type auxiliary bench. I was imagining the construction of this bench all afternoon: nothing on paper yet.

(08-29-2019, 07:15 PM)DaveR1 Wrote: After doing that with the box you have, are you thinking you'll build a bench like Becksvoort's? A couple of months ago I did up plans for a guy who designed a portable Moxon-style vise that is very inexpensive to build. He clamps it to the top of his bench to get the needed height increase.
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#15
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by bandit571 (Actually...I just si...)
You know, I have tried the sitting on a stool approach, but I have found that although it works for chopping mortises, it does not work for sawing: I find sawing to be more natural when standing.

(08-29-2019, 06:55 PM)bandit571 Wrote: Actually...I just sit down on the Shop Stool for such things....always liked when I could get a "sit down job"....

Clamped up, and take a load off...

I do the same for box/finger joints....and I even set up a jig to chop mortises, while sitting down... Winkgrin 

Then just have a seat... Rolleyes

Works for me.. Cool

can also do tenons this way...
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#16
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
My back is such that any bending for task work will leave me in agony the next day. Therefore, I either sit or raise the work whenever practicable.
Thanks,  Curt
-----------------
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
      -- Soren Kierkegaard
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#17
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
I understand raising the work to reduce back strain, but the wrist posture on those pics looks uncomfortable. How do you saw straight with your wrist bent like that? Unless the saw is hung really low? Doesn’t the bottom of the handle dig into the heel of your hand?

On dovetails at least, you can keep a straight back and just lower your wrist to the height of the work in your regular bench vise. You can still see the work if your light is decent. Or, if the work is still too far away, spread your legs out to lower your torso a few inches.
Steve S.
------------------------------------------------------
Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.
- T. S. Eliot

Tutorials and Build-Alongs at The Literary Workshop
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#18
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Bibliophile 13 (I understand raising...)
I agree that it looks uncomfortable, which is why I dismissed this concept the first time I say the aux. bench Christian was using. It was a total surprise to me that it worked so well and I found that the sawing action did not suffer from the awkward looking ergonomics. I tried a number of different saws with different hang angles and was able to split the line consistently.

(08-29-2019, 09:36 PM)Bibliophile 13 Wrote: I understand raising the work to reduce back strain, but the wrist posture on those pics looks uncomfortable. How do you saw straight with your wrist bent like that? Unless the saw is hung really low? Doesn’t the bottom of the handle dig into the heel of your hand?

On dovetails at least, you can keep a straight back and just lower your wrist to the height of the work in your regular bench vise. You can still see the work if your light is decent. Or, if the work is still too far away, spread your legs out to lower your torso a few inches.
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#19
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
Jeff Miller's version looks a bit less complicated to build, FWIW. https://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/03/...htop-bench
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#20
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (I agree that it look...)
(08-29-2019, 10:08 PM)Philip1231 Wrote: I agree that it looks uncomfortable, which is why I dismissed this concept the first time I say the aux. bench Christian was using. It was a total surprise to me that it worked so well and I found that the sawing action did not suffer from the awkward looking ergonomics.  I tried a number of different saws with different hang angles and was able to split the line consistently.  

I made a basic moxon vise a while back that puts the dove tail cuts about 7" above my bench. ( six inch vise jaws ) It still feels foreign and a bit awkward to me, no doubt from lack of use. I find myself reaching for my 32* lower hang dovetail saw,  rather than my 38 or 45*. Keeps my wrist a little straighter. I considered making something like Chris's or Jeff's but always came back to "Where am I gong to store it" :Smile I do think a persons normal stance has a lot to do with the comfort level. Then again, I doubt I will ever cut as many dovetails as Chris has. A lot to be said for practice.  Thanks for posting.
BontzSawWorks.net
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