Tool Mod #1: Handscrew Dogs

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Blog entry by swirt posted 06-15-2010 06:10 PM 5266 reads 11 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tool Mod series Part 2: Cambering the Iron for a Scrub Plane »

If you have 3/4” bench dog holes on your bench and a couple of handscrew clamps then in 10 minutes you can merge the two into a very flexible and powerful clamping system that works with small boards, long boards and even irregular pieces. I’ll let the photos tell the story … and keep in mind, the modification to the handscrew does not prevent you from using it as an ordinary handscrew too. I use them on my workbench and my sawbenches.
Hand screw with a dog peg added

Surface vice for short pieces of wood

Surface vice for long boards

Really long stock surface vice

Surface vice for irregular shapes.

Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the more detailed explanation.

There are only three real considerations:
1) The hole you drill for the peg should be plumb, so use a drill press if you can.
2) Oak or other hardwood dowel is better than poplar or other soft wood.
3) Regarding the size of the handscrew. Larger handscrews limit how close they can work together, but smaller handscrews limit the maximium opening of the jaws. I like the 6 or 8” handscrews but size them based on your needs.

-- Galootish log blog,

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4692 days

#1 posted 06-15-2010 06:23 PM

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1626 posts in 4680 days

#2 posted 06-15-2010 08:15 PM

I will definitely be making some dog holes in a couple handscrew clamps. Great idea, thanks for posting!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1527 posts in 5240 days

#3 posted 06-15-2010 09:07 PM

Oooh. Good idea. I’ll be doing gluing in some dowels shortly. Thanks!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4087 days

#4 posted 06-15-2010 09:34 PM

It is so quick and easy and it is amazing how useful they become.

-- Galootish log blog,

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4763 days

#5 posted 06-15-2010 09:44 PM

great idea! thanks for the post.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4049 days

#6 posted 06-15-2010 10:57 PM

Cool idea! Thanks for sharing.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4230 days

#7 posted 06-15-2010 10:57 PM

clever idea
consider it as officialy stolen from you…....LOL

thank´s for sharing


View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4204 days

#8 posted 06-15-2010 10:57 PM

Great idea.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4087 days

#9 posted 06-16-2010 04:51 AM

I probably should point out that Rockler has their 8” handscrews on sale right now for $4.99. They aren’t as solidly built as my Jorgensen’s and one of the handles was not quite straight, but they work well for a great price.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1527 posts in 5240 days

#10 posted 06-16-2010 04:54 AM

Swirt, I bought 10 of ‘em last time they were on sale. Yeah, they’re no Jorgensen’s, but for the price they’re great for “sure, I’ll drill a ¾” hole in ‘em and stuff a dowel in and see what happens!”

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 4146 days

#11 posted 06-16-2010 05:06 AM

Unique and useful idea. I will file this one in my memory.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4087 days

#12 posted 06-16-2010 05:36 AM

LOL Dan, notice I mounted the peg in my Rockler’s and into my Jorgensen’s ;) (not that the peg would damage either of them in any way)

-- Galootish log blog,

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4087 days

#13 posted 06-16-2010 03:37 PM

oops supposed to read ”...and NOT into my Jorgensens”

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3955 days

#14 posted 05-24-2011 04:15 AM

Swirt I am building a small bench that will sit on top of my existing bench. I want to get my dovetails up enough to see them. I have looked at easy ways to set up a simple vise. I was going with a pipe clamp system. Dude this is the ticket. Its modular and with simple dog holes the setups are endless. If I break something its an easy replacement. Thanks;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4087 days

#15 posted 05-24-2011 05:28 AM

Enjoy SuperDav. I use mine quite often. My only complaint is that the dog peg sticking out the side makes them not fit on a rack as nicely as a non-dogged handscrew, and that is a pretty minor complaint.

The trick is to stay fluid in your thinking about how to use them. There are a lot of options.

Hmmm dovetails close enough to see them… you mean you can’t just stoop and squint like I do? ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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