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Benchcrafted Split Top Roubo Workbench #6: This project is going to the dogs

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 07-17-2021 02:35 PM 1742 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Mortises and Tenons, and more Part 6 of Benchcrafted Split Top Roubo Workbench series no next part

Working with plans that someone else made can be challenging and even a bit confusing. The Benchcrafted plans have a fair number of idiosyncrasies that require a bit more thought and consideration beyond just “measure twice, cut once” to get things right.

At the front of the top is a bench dog strip that provides a series of holes that hold the bench dogs that are used in conjunction with the tail vise to hold a board on the bench top while working on it.

The bench dog strip has 13 notches, spaced at 4-7/8”, pitched 2 degrees toward the tail vise, with a ledge on the front face. Additionally, there is a 7-5/8” space between the 10th and 11th hole to accommodate the notch in the bottom edge of the strip that will eventually become the mortise that holds the front left leg tenon. The front right leg tenon will be held in the mortise that is beneath the first dog hole.

Rather than cutting the dog holes in the front of the dog hole strip and gluing the spaced board on the front, the plans show the dog holes in the BACK of the board with the spacer board glued to the back of the dog hole strip. After all of the confusion from this approach I’m not sure what the rationale is for doing it this way. There may be some detail in the tail vise installation that makes it necessary, but I’m not to that point yet.

Suffice it to say, pay very close attention to the orientation of the dog holes. I drew the angled lines on the front and back faces of the board, stood it on end, and verified that it was properly laid out. Once I had things properly oriented, I also laid out the index lines since they were an odd dimension (4-7/8”) with the 7-5/8” between 10 and 11.

There are several variations on cutting the dog holes. All of the videos I saw used a template and plunge router. I chose to go with a 1/2” spiral bit and use a 3/4” OD guide bushing. The template was oversized by 1/8” on both sides to accommodate the 1/8” between the edge of the bit and the outside of the guide bushing.

After cutting the bench dog strip holes, I flipped the template to make the bench dog hole for the tail vise dog block. The vise dog hole is a mirror image of the dog strip hole. It pitches toward the dog strip.

The backing strip was glued to the dog strip. I made sure to wipe out any squeeze out inside the dog holes.

The last part of the process is to make the 14 bench dogs. A spring trip is attached to the tapered section at the bottom of the dog to allow the dog to stay in place when raised for use. The overhang keeps it from falling out of the dog hole.

Walnut scraps were the perfect size. Rather than make a router jig, I cut them out on the bandsaw, then sanded them smooth. The spring strips will be 1/8” UHMW rather than wood so they won’t split out.

The tail vise details are next on the list. As with the rest of this project, there will be some reading, a lot of re-reading and studying drawings to understand everything involved, and then into the shop to do the work.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"



18 comments so far

View pottz's profile

pottz

18733 posts in 2143 days


#1 posted 07-17-2021 05:09 PM

nice work earl,love those bench dogs.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View duckmilk's profile

duckmilk

4631 posts in 2483 days


#2 posted 07-17-2021 06:33 PM

Looks confusing to me also. After you get the tail vise figured out, I would be interested to know if round bench dogs would have also worked and if it would have been easier to have drilled them.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4623 posts in 3506 days


#3 posted 07-17-2021 09:02 PM



Looks confusing to me also. After you get the tail vise figured out, I would be interested to know if round bench dogs would have also worked and if it would have been easier to have drilled them.

- duckmilk

They suggest round bench dogs as an option, but what self respecting woodworker on the road to build the holy grail bench would commit such a sacrilegious act??

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7954 posts in 1741 days


#4 posted 07-17-2021 09:07 PM

I don’t have any dog-holes in the top of my bench. I just screw in a few wood screws to hold various things in place (sometimes a palm, sometimes a planing stop, sometimes a sticking board). Twice I’ve gotten out some bamboo skewers and plugged holes and then slopped some poly over the screw holes. But mostly I hold things with my twin-screw vise (including bracing a cross piece between the vise front jaw and the wall of the shop).

Your bench build is looking nice, Earl! I hope it works as well for you as my ad-hockery does for me!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7552 posts in 1979 days


#5 posted 07-17-2021 11:18 PM

FAIW EarlS, I always import plans into SketchUp (or the choice of other 3D modeling software)... It’s time consuming and a hassle, however, it saves a lot of frustration and mistakes in the actual build.
Modeling in Sketchup follow the “same principles” as a physical build without machinery or timber. Mistakes/confusion is quickly detected and can be solved “on paper”... and it’s better than watching the idiot tube at night.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4623 posts in 3506 days


#6 posted 07-18-2021 11:20 AM

LBD – I use SketchUp for my drafting and design. I’m using it to work out the design for a cabinet and drawers to fit in the bench. Your comments are spot on, it takes a lot of time in the front, but saves time and frustration during the build. We use the same principle with the projects at work and call it “up front engineering”.

In this situation, the bench dogs and the 2 degree pitch were something that didn’t make sense to me. Still doesn’t, they feel like they are backwards.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View JimYoung's profile

JimYoung

416 posts in 2745 days


#7 posted 07-18-2021 11:50 AM


They suggest round bench dogs as an option, but what self respecting woodworker on the road to build the holy grail bench would commit such a sacrilegious act??

- EarlS

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Looking good Earl!

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7552 posts in 1979 days


#8 posted 07-18-2021 12:21 PM


.... In this situation, the bench dogs and the 2 degree pitch were something that didn t make sense to me. Still doesn t, they feel like they are backwards.

- EarlS


Not seeing the plans, and I don’t particularly want to, have you considered the UKJ Parf system - MK.II to set up dogs?
Not sure if they do 3/4”... I have the 20mm. And though it costs a few shekels more, there is a great variety of dogs that would be hard to fabricate in the shop,
and then there are the Super dogs...

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7552 posts in 1979 days


#9 posted 07-18-2021 02:21 PM



They suggest round bench dogs as an option, but what self respecting woodworker on the road to build the holy grail bench would commit such a sacrilegious act??
- EarlS

A Philistine!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

18417 posts in 2297 days


#10 posted 07-19-2021 01:23 PM

Personally, I’m a fan of round dog holes for the versatility. I can use my dogs or my holdfasts in the same holes and I can rotate the dogs to hold boards that don’t have square ends. I can also add holes any time and in any position should a job persuade me to do so. And I can use the holes and put pins in bench hooks and fixtures which prevents movement in any direction rather than just one.

But I’m sure your rectangular ones are pretty ;-) And you can add holes for holdfasts too of course. They just aren’t multipurpose.

The two degree slant is so that when you clamp a board, and movement due to clearance between the dog and its slot and any flex in the dog is accommodated by the toe-down angle. Otherwise, if the dog flexed past vertical, the board would tend to lift off the bench while riding up the face of the dog.

Bench is coming along nicely :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4623 posts in 3506 days


#11 posted 07-19-2021 02:36 PM

Ken – I will have to look at things again and see if that explains the configuration better. To me, the pitch is backwards.

The plans also call for 2 sets of round holes for holdfasts or round dogs. Apparently, you can’t have too many options when it comes to bench dogs, nor too many holes.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

18417 posts in 2297 days


#12 posted 07-19-2021 04:17 PM

Wait until you get some small parts on the bench. You can have too many holes. One hole can be too many holes…

It looks to me like the dogs are pitched the right way. They’re pitched towards the tail vise, right? If they aren’t, they’re backasswards.

One piece of advice given to me concerning dog/holdfast holes that proved to be good advice is to not drill any that you aren’t sure if you’ll use them until you have a need for them. No sense having more holes than necessary. Especially if screws/nails/staples/ball bearing balls/small drills/pencils/nuts/pen kit componenets/milling tool inserts/HSS turning bits can fall through them. I’m sure there are many other things that can and will fit through a 3/4” hole too.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4623 posts in 3506 days


#13 posted 07-19-2021 09:55 PM

I’m not planning to drill any round dog holes until I use the bench for a while. Same with getting a holdfast

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7552 posts in 1979 days


#14 posted 07-19-2021 10:05 PM


... No sense having more holes than necessary. Especially if screws/nails/staples/ball bearing balls/small drills/pencils/nuts/pen kit componenets/milling tool inserts/HSS turning bits can fall through them. I m sure there are many other things that can and will fit through a 3/4” hole too.
- HokieKen

Phuwie…that’s why I chose 20mm over 3/4”... I’ve only lost one chisel through my dog holes and I had steel caps in my flip flops to protect my toes when it headed for the ground edge first.
Use magnetic trays to hold your screws… magnet on wood you say? a 4’ x 8’ metal skin on the bench-top will let it stick anywhere.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile

pottz

18733 posts in 2143 days


#15 posted 07-20-2021 12:44 AM


... No sense having more holes than necessary. Especially if screws/nails/staples/ball bearing balls/small drills/pencils/nuts/pen kit componenets/milling tool inserts/HSS turning bits can fall through them. I m sure there are many other things that can and will fit through a 3/4” hole too.
- HokieKen

Phuwie…that s why I chose 20mm over 3/4”... I ve only lost one chisel through my dog holes and I had steel caps in my flip flops to protect my toes when it headed for the ground edge first.
Use magnetic trays to hold your screws… magnet on wood you say? a 4 x 8 metal skin on the bench-top will let it stick anywhere.

- LittleBlackDuck


a metal top on a woodworking bench duckie ? talk about a philistine !!!!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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