I donít have a real bench though, just an old office desk and there is not a good way to hold a board down flat to work on it. Holdfasts just donít work well with an office desk.

My 11◊48 inch planing board clamps easily in the bench front vise, or in a Work Mate. I made a cam arrangement to secure the work. There are 3/4 inch holes every 2 inches down the rigid spine. It takes a pair of cams to cover the 2 inch range. In this photo the larger cam is lying on the bench at rear along with the home made spanner wrench used to torque the cams.

The bed is made of 5/8 Baltic Birch plywood. In this photo, a pine board is locked by the smaller of the two cams which has a range of 1 to 2 1/4 inches. The larger cam has a range of 2 to 3 1/4 inches.

The Planing Board on the Bench.

In the next photo, you see the small cam locking a 24 inch pine board. There is an aluminum follower that slides under the cam. A tapered wood wedge is fixed to the face of the follower and is necessary to keep the cam from loosening itself.

My first try was just using the cam against the board. It would tighten but any slight wiggle of the work caused the cam to rotate and loosen. Next I made the aluminum cam follower captured by the central peg, which worked better but still came loose too easily. Finally I added the tapered ramp to the follower. It changes the point of contact between cam and follower so force applied to the cam tends to tighten rather than loosen. This works well, though the thickness of the follower does add a bit to the half inch height of the cam.

The spanner wrench is just quarter inch dowels in a bit of scrap. The wrench has two sets of pins at 90 degrees to each other because the cams have about a 225 degree swing.

The Cam Lock.

I donít have to use the planing stop on the left end, I can put a 3/4″ peg in any one of the holes and pin the work with the cam. The next photo shows a board locked cross grain using the larger cam.

One of the problems is the large cam overhangs the edge in some situations, interfering with the plane. If I had to do it over, I would build the spine an inch closer to the sled center. I have also added many more holes for additional short pegs, see later photos.

Large Cam Working Against a Pin.