A couple of years ago, I devised a simple jig to make planing of thin wood boards easier. I noticed Christopher Martyn, who writes the blog Finely Strung, and is a stringed instrument maker in Winchester, United Kingdom, came up of a surprisingly similar jig. We exchanged some information on the topic and he posted an image his jig and mine, although his is quite fancy compared to my pedestrian design!
Recently, I needed to plane some larger boards, so recently improved my design quite a bit. This jig is also useful for book conservation labs who don’t have a dedicated woodworking bench, since it can clamp, with a standard “Quick-Grip” or C-Clamp onto an existing bench while protecting your benchtop. This one is about 12 x 9″, although it could be made to any size. The adjustable, and replaceable, stop is held on with a 1/4 x 20 x 2″ carriage bolt, and tightened with soft grip knobs so that no tools are necessary to adjust it. I find if convenient to rout a slot so that it can be raised up and planed flat if it gets damaged in use. This one was made of birch faced plywood, and held together with drywall screws driven deep under the surface of the wood. The height is 3 layers of 3/4″ plywood to allow for a variety of clamping options. It can also function as a bench hook and can be used with tapered pieces of wood. It seems to grip the wood being planed better by not applying any finish to it. I’m not left handed, but the light was better for the photo in this position.