Box Planing without a Vise

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    I’ve glued my dovetail box sides and I need a way to clamp or secure the box so that I can plane the sides. I don’t have a bench vice but I do have a variety of clamps. Can you give me some ideas on how to secure the box so that I can plane the long and short sides level and smooth?

    Thank you!

    i'd prefer to make it myself

    David R.

    Hey Denise,

    try to clamp the bottom side onto the bench and put some scrap wood between the top and bottom pieces to prevent the side you plane from bending. That’s what I did even though I have a vice, but it is not suited to fit a whole box in. Make sure to pad as necessary in order not to damage the inside of the box and don’t strain the sides. Hope this does make some sense.


    from Germany


    Clamp 2 boards to the edge of a bench/table like in picture but have wood overhang edge of table so you can place your box on the overhanging wood.

    Clamp box to wood, from sides of course, as you’ll be planing the top. Hope this makes sense …



    New Brunswick, Canada

    John Moore

    Hello, Try taking a look at this video around the 6:23 mark(there a bouts). He shows planing the box without a vice. It might work for you as well. Use your clamps instead of the holdfast he does.

    Lakeland, Florida USA


    Thanks guys. This was very helpful and my first box is officially done. It will hold a few of my prized tools and remind me of where I started for many years to come.

    i'd prefer to make it myself

    George Bridgeman

    Great work, Denise!


    "To know and not do is to not know"


    Nice work Denise 🙂


    Great work Denise, keep making,never stop. Thanks for sharing with us)

    Toronto, Canada

    Mark Armstrong

    Nice job keep your project pictures coming 😉

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    Martin McColl

    Great start Denise, keep it going!

    Martin ... Tucson, Arizona, USA.

    Greg Merritt

    Well done Denise! Some CA glue (super glue) and matching sawdust will help patch that slight tear out. Its happened to me several times. I found that taking a chisel and going around the tail/pin edges all but eliminates the tear out problem.
    Again, well done!

    david o’sullivan

    well done Denise .congratulations

    "we can learn what to do, by doing" Aristotle

    Eddy Flynn

    well done Denise no stopping you now, you’re well on the way to becoming as addicted as the rest of us

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK


    Greg, Let me see if I understand your tip – both of them actually. To prevent tearout, do you mean chamfering the edge of the end grain on the pins and tails with a chisel?

    And for the CA glue and saw dust, do I just pack it in there and drop on the glue? That oak was very brittle. You sure know what direction the grain is running in oak – especially when you’re running against it.

    Thank you all for the kudos and tips. I really need a work bench, but I don’t want to take the time to build one right now. I’d rather keep making Paul’s projects.

    i'd prefer to make it myself

    Steve Follis

    Congratulations Denise! Very nice job. That oak is not the most forgiving wood, looks like you did a nice job taming it.

    Memphis, Tennessee

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