Battens are sticks.
That's it... nothing
If woodworking benches are
about work holding, then battens are about work positioning.
Laying a plank on the workbench isn't enough... one needs a
way to constrain the plank's movement against the force
applied while planing.
Although there is information
available, oddly, it's obscure and doesn't seem to pop up
A simple batten. This one will traverse the bench. It
anchors in the face vise.
Short offset batten. Drops into the slot in the center
A simple batten. Fits in behind the work and anchors with
a couple of holdfasts.
What it does...
There are myriad ways to
constrain a workpiece. Some are even incorporated right into
the bench's design. For example, a planing stop is often
incorporated as a large dog that's friction fit into one end
of a bench.
The general idea is that a
workpiece butts up against it and the planing stop acts as a
counter to the force applied. I envy those woodworkers that
can make effective use of a planing stop. For me, it acts as
a pivot point that allows the other end of the board I'm
working on to scoot to the back edge of the bench. My fix is
a batten traversing the bench and anchored in the face vise.
Set up and ready. It only takes seconds!