Workbench Build #21: Of Dogs and Deadmen

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Blog entry by Mark Kornell posted 12-21-2014 10:36 PM 3052 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: Assembly Day Part 21 of Workbench Build series Part 22: Shaping the chop »

Installed Shelf Boards

Before I started on the dogs and deaman, I installed the shelf boards. Screwed into the cleats at both ends.

Of Dogs

On to the dogs. I followed a diagram I found on the Benchcrafted site (sorry, don’t have link), and made the body of the dogs from jatoba. Springs from ash.

The springs were easy – just sliced off the side of a piece of ash. The dogs were a bit more complex shape. Mostly done on the table saw, with one of the cuts on the bandsaw.

I was planning on glueing up a “sheet” of them at a time and then cutting fully-formed dogs. But my ash board was a different width than my jatoba board so it seemed more efficient to glue them up individually. I did make the dogs 6 at a time.

Glued them together. Because the glue joint is on the angled section I glued them up in pairs so they could act as cauls for each other.

And here they are in the bench. Each dog hole has one, with a couple left over.

Sticking up:

They work, but I’m not 100% happy with them. They are not sized properly for the holes, which means there is too much slop when they are being used for clamping. Very easy to make, so I’ll crank out another set.

Of Deadmen

I had a chunk of walnut I wanted to use as the deadman. It was from the same board as the chop, should be a good match for color. But when I cut it to length, I found this:

Rather than find another board, I think my design can work around the crack. If it fails down the road, I guess I’ll have to make another one.

After flattening the board, I laid out a line every inch so I can get my hole spacing correct. The shape will be curvy, so better to do this now than after the curves are cut. Note the use of the white lead pencil – the layout lines show up far better than regular lead.

Then, time to lay out the curves and holes:

I did the rough layout with regular pencil and when I was happy, I put the final lines in white.

Cut it out on the bandsaw

This is better

Drilled the holes (layout was on the back, btw) and this is the first look:

There is a slot on the underside of the top to hold the top of the deadman, so I made and glued in tabs at the top. They need a bevel on the back to allow them to slide in at an angle, and they are lapped onto the deadman.

Also cut and fit the guide to sit on the bottom runner. It is biased to push the bottom of the deadman out about 1/32” from the runner – so the deadman won’t rub against the stretcher.

The guide is glued on, and at this point the deadman is functional. I still need to fair the curvy bits and round over the edges. And apply some finish.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

6 comments so far

View ToddJB's profile


8679 posts in 2930 days

#1 posted 12-21-2014 10:57 PM

I did a similar blog once, but your blog and project FAR AND AWAY blow mine out of the water. Super cool design and great entry.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View johnstoneb's profile


3146 posts in 2973 days

#2 posted 12-21-2014 11:11 PM

That deadman is sweet. Nice bench too.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View tyvekboy's profile (online now)


2025 posts in 3813 days

#3 posted 12-21-2014 11:29 PM

Very nice bench and deadman.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Don W's profile

Don W

19647 posts in 3368 days

#4 posted 12-22-2014 09:50 PM

well done. Your work makes me look lazy.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 2978 days

#5 posted 12-23-2014 06:12 AM

I dig the dead man

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Jim's profile


6 posts in 1067 days

#6 posted 01-01-2018 04:01 AM

I love your deadman, it reminds me of a chromosome!

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