The bench hook is without question one of the most indispensable tools in my wood shop. The force of gravity and the force of using the tool up against a solid fence is all that it takes to keep the work from moving. It’s deceptively sophisticated and exceptionally simple to make. It’s a great choice for a first-time hand-tool only project. They can be as long, as wide and as decorative as you like, and can be made from hardwood scrap.
I can make a pair from rough sawn lumber in less than an hour. They’re a natural test of precision hand-tool skills as there’s no room to ‘fudge’ anything. They’re either straight, flat and square or they aren’t. You’ll notice any deviation while in use. Think of it as a Gottshall block with a real function; a great way to practice being accurate while still producing something of value. Yet another benefit is that it’s made in one piece and then sawed apart, giving you a pair with minimal layout.