In my last post, I showed you a shop fixture that I use for safely storing various heads that are being worked on. I ended with the question, “when you are working on a head on your workbench or table, what is a good fixture to set the head in so it does not fall over easily, and is easy to use?” That is the subject of Part 2 of ‘Handy Shop Fixtures’.
I call it a head holder, but you can surely give it what ever name you like! But that is what it does. It holds a head steady on the work bench while you work on it or temporarily set the head in there while you grab your tools, mix up epoxy, or what ever.
It is very inexpensive, simple to make, very stable (very hard to knock it over) and provides more room around the fixture than some other head holders. Everyone has to find what works best for them, but this is what I use and I have found it to have many advantages over other styles that I’ve used or seen others use.
Here’s a picture of two of the head holder fixtures I use in the shop pretty much daily:
The head holder can be made with just one hole for a single control stick size or can be made with several holes to accommodate more than one size of control sticks. As you can see it can also have other smaller holes drilled here and there to hold various parts so they don’t fall off the workbench or get lost in the shuffle.
The wood bars on the sides is where the stability comes in. You don’t realize how well these work until you actually build and use one of these head holders, and see for yourself how steady they are on the workbench. I’ve never had one tip over yet!
Also, I find that the open areas on the front and the back of this style head holder gives more room when moving them around the bench, or putting various tools in front of it, ready to work. This design has the same stability of a large square base, but still has that open feeling to it and is nice to work with.
And this style head holder has a low enough profile that you can easily set most styles of control sticks in place even after all the levers are installed:
And finally, you can easily clamp the head holder fixture to your work table when you need some added stability
It’s a little hard to see in that photo, but the top of a 4″ C clamp is clamped around the front left part of one of the side stabilizer bars (the gray object in the middle, bottom part of the photo). I like clamping the fixture in place on the work table when attaching and grooming wigs. Even though the head might not topple necessarily, this keeps the fixture from sliding around, and provides a little extra insurance, just in case.
Want to build one for yourself? I have made a measured drawing and some notes on how to assemble one (or more!) of these handy dandy head holder fixtures. Click on the link below for a free PDF:
You can also easily clamp one of the side stabilizer bars in a bench vise (solidly mounted of course!) and you can then have a head held at various angles (like horizontal, or at 45 degrees) while some glue dries inside a head. Overall, I have found these to be extremely useful in my workshop. I hope that you will find them of good benefit as well!