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Rockler Bench Cookies
I'm as amazed as [many of] you are....
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 12-3-2009
Like many of you I was skeptical of the Rockler Bench Cookies when they first came out. Rockler has even been advertising them on my site for some time now but I always had "something more important" to do.
Then I started seeing otherwise reasonable woodworkers publicly admitting to buying Rockler Bench Cookies. Some went even further and remarked about how well they worked. Soon I was getting emails from NewWoodworker.com viewers also admitting that they had the Rockler Bench Cookies and urging me to take a look - "These things really work!" Maybe it was a weak moment or maybe I just had faith in my viewers but I (secretly) got some Rockler Bench Cookies in my shop. I closed the shades, took the phone off the hook and gave them a try.
Like many of the best working tools in woodworking, there is nothing complicated about the Rockler Bench Cookies. They have a diameter of 3" and are about 1"-thick. A glossy plastic ring marks their outside edge. That ring sports a screen printed Rockler logo and the (patent pending) Bench Cookie branding.
I suspect that the bulk of the high tech properties behind the Rockler Bench Cookies are in the soft rubber-like pad with a fine basket weaver sort of pattern molded in. I'm sure that pattern has something to do with how well they work but it is the composition of the rubber that gives the Rockler Bench Cookies their remarkable grip on just about any surface.
While the rubber feels soft, it gets hard quickly when you try to squeeze it. One thing I was worried about was projects with smaller legs tilting on the Rockler Bench Cookies if more force was put on one side than the other. Not so. The surface is plenty soft to get a grip but that is backed by something solid that prevents distortions or collapsing that could make routing or sanding on them interesting.
Not many tools can escape my review-based wrath if they lack decent instructions but the instruction less Rockler Bench Cookies are an exception. They are fully intuitive and require only enough reasoning to set them on a decent surface and place the work piece on them. There may be rocket science behind how they grip but actually using the Rockler Bench Cookies is by no means a mental strain - for most of us.
In the Shop
The toughest part of using the Rockler Bench Cookies is deciding in what pattern to arrange them in to best suit the work you are doing. Somewhere near the edges of the workpiece and in the widest spread that fits under the wood should cover it. You get four Rockler Bench Cookies in each package so you should have no problem supporting most things we work with in woodworking.
One of the Rockler Bench Cookies properties that I do not understand is how they work so well even when there is sawdust on or under them. Don't get me wrong, you still should brush the work surface off but just because you can still see dust does not mean that it will stop the Rockler Bench Cookies from working. I don't think that it's magic but I can't prove that it isn't either.
I have used the rubber "routing mats" that always did a good job of keeping wood in place. The problem with them is that with the wood lying flat on their surface, the end of many router bits can drag on the mat, cutting or tearing it while profiling an edge. The Rockler Bench Cookies hold the workpiece just as well but also lift it an inch that gives most router bits plenty of clearance. They also make profiling the edge of wood that is less than 3/4"-thick a bunch easier (possible actually) as well.
Keep the doors closed if you want to, lie if you must but you need to get some Rockler Bench Cookies for your shop. They really do work, are a great idea and only cost $11.99 for a set of four! (12-1-2009) Unless you do something awful to them I can't see how the Rockler Bench Cookies could wear out or break down. This little investment should provide easier bench work for as long as you remember where you hide them so passers by will not know you are one of us....
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