Yesterday I was working in my shop and again found myself surrounded by sawbenches. Really there are just two, but every time I turn around one of them is in my way. Why two? Long boards, that's the only reason. I need two so that when I am cutting long boards I have something to support the other end. I ended up with two after becoming unhappy with my first one and decided to build the Split-Top Sawbench. YouTube video on that HERE.
This issue got me thinking. What other options are out there? I could make one of those hurdle things, but that takes up too much room. I could build my daughter a new workbench the same height as my sawbench and use that when I needed to. That's too much work.
What can I make that will take up the least amount of room, only come out when I need it, and will do the job every time?
Then BAM! it hit me. Two boards. One wide enough to support what I am sawing, and one heavy enough to support and balance the other. It all came to me at once. Now, I know that I may not have invented this, maybe I got lucky and I did, but I know I haven't seen this before. So, for me in my little world, I invented the Sawbench Helper. If you find a source for something like this let me know, I would love to see it.
One 3/4" piece of pine, 11" wide, and as tall as my sawbench. The top edge has been rounded over to protect project material. And one piece of White Oak, 21" long, 2 1/4" tall, and 1 1/2" wide.
The real key is the joint, a simple bridle joint.
The bridle joint is a strong joint that helps this little guy stand up, stay rigid, and slide together and apart for storage. Once I drill a hole in each piece I can simply hang each piece on the wall and pull it down when needed.
The bridle joint in the Oak is 3/4" wide to match the Pine, side dados are 1/8" deep, and the top is chopped in 3/4 of an inch. I started with the 3/4" deep notch and then finished out the two dados with a chisel. This is enough material to lock the two pieces together and provide me with a stable and sturdy support. Start with the bridle joint and then cut the Pine board to fit. It should be a good friction fit, enough to stay together, but not so much the Pine splits. Leave the Pine long until the joint is good, just in case you have to go at it a couple times. Another tip is to make the joint just a hair narrower than 3/4" and plane the Pine to fit in that direction as well.
In the end, the stupid thing really works. It has obviously not had months of trial use, but it is simple enough I think it will work for a good long time. Goes together quick and easy and takes up very little room in the shop. Try it out for yourself, everyone needs a little help from time to time.