a 21st century bench with engineered wood #9: dog holes

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Blog entry by metolius posted 10-12-2020 06:23 AM 798 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: vise fitting preparation Part 9 of a 21st century bench with engineered wood series Part 10: ply-void filling »

With core construction completed, I moved on to considering dog hole arrangements.

The top is in two 12inch wide segments that sit about 6.5 inches apart.

I found that with my front vise layout, the closest I could get the dog holes which project along the front edge from the end vise was 2.75 inches.

The end vise, with chops, provides 6.75 inches of travel, which led me to go with a distance of 6 inches between center holes. I drew these out to the right half of the front vise, skipped 8 inches over the leg support and then added two more to match up with the face vise.

There is one row of hold fast holes on each top section. The 3 inches from the back of the front section, and 5 inches back from the rear section.

From the front vise chop there are four dog holes, two of these extend across both tops as rows of 4 holes.

I moved around a lot of blue tape snippets in the process of feeling this out.

A diagram makes a little more sense of it.

I’ve had some concerns that the compression of holdfasts may put some wear on the plywood. Thinking that some hardwood support may add a couple years, I used my remaining 4/4 hickory stock on the underside along with adding the center shelf that supports tray boxes. I wasn’t scientific about this assumption, but I can assure myself that I gave the problem a go of a thought.

With that all set and ready, it was time to drill. A big board makes this little drill press feel all grown up.

I then carried over the side rail dog holes unto the front edge of the bench. These are drilled to 2..3 inch deep to support a bench pup or surface clamp.

It came together as this

After a little bit of sanding and chamfering it was looking pretty good. The holes are very square and symmetrical.
There are also some additional holes for 8 , 6×5/16in , carriage bolts that will tie the top to the legs.

I am still pretty sure I will add a veritas twin-screw, but I haven’t ordered it yet. ... maybe this week. Still, there is plenty more to do. Before the front vise is fitted, I expect I will disassemble all of it and give it a fair finish.

My first step in finishing is to fill the end grain layers of the plywood. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, to promote a more even saturation of finishing oils accross the different ply layers. This reduces the color contrast of plys.

Secondly, I will be filling the voids with blue dyed water putty. My trials of this have shown that if the surface isn’t sealed well, the blue putty will fully stain the end grain layers. Maybe that’s cool to some, but not here for me.

My recipe for the grain fill is 2 TBsp of durhams wather putty per 10 oz of 1lb cut shellac for a wash coat. In this case, the durham powder is acting as a substitute for pumice.

After the wash coat application, I will wetsand with 1 coat of danish oil. This leaves a surface that cleans up well after filling the voids with blue and avoids unintended stains. After the putty is set, I will sand it back flush and continue with danish oil.

But, that’s just talk. Maybe next entry will have pictures.

-- derek / oregon

2 comments so far

View dphmeyer's profile


13 posts in 207 days

#1 posted 03-02-2021 11:04 PM

Looks fantastic! You’ve had your workbench for about 4 months, how is it holding up? I finished mine about 1 week ago and am glad to finally be able to use it.

Did your final plan end up having the gap between both sides of the bench?

-- -daniel, Washington,

View metolius's profile


432 posts in 1943 days

#2 posted 03-03-2021 01:19 AM

Did your final plan end up having the gap between both sides of the bench?
- dphmeyer

The gap will be filled with 3 or 4 or 5 tool trays, probably of hickory.

The bench is usable and has been used frequently, but its yet unfinished. Work on it paused over the winter while I have been kicking around other (newer) projects.

This blog series will live on with new editions, until its done.

Enjoy your new bench!

-- derek / oregon

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