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I am about to go back to a long overdue project and came up with a problem you all might be able to help with.

I need to drill of bore some bench dog holes on my workbench. I was thinking of using a plunge router to get clean tight holds - what do people think?

I ask as I am loath to test bed this on what little scrap I have left of the bench top without first getting advice.

Hugs
Belinda
 

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Assuming you're using a 3/4" dog system this is a fairly substantial hole to route, especially if your bench top is 3" thick. You can do non-through holes, but dust and shavings will accumulate in them if they're unused.

A pilot hole and a spade bit might be easier, but you'd need a drill guide which would run around another $30 from the typical sources.

A lot of how you do it depends on the capacity of your plunge router base and if you already have the mortising/up-spiral bit that can cut the desired size. If you have the monster bit you'll probably run into the issue that the tip will be below your base before the plunge. The way around this is to drill a slightly larger hole through a piece of scrap large enough to support your base and be clamped securely. Once you've bored a deep enough hole to accomodate the bit you can remove the scrap piece to plunge to full depth. Placement is going to be key or you'll have loose dogs.

The only other thing you have to worry about is screw/nail placement, depending on how you laminated the top. Consensus seems to be that a drill-bit is cheaper to replace if you hit metal, and a lot safer at the lower speeds of a drill.
 

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I think you got the right idea from the start - use a plunge router with a 3/4" straight bit (standard dog hole size). and use an edge guide to keep the router at a set distance from the edge of the workbench.

the only limitation this might prove is that the plunge router might not be able to go all the way through the workbench (depending on the workbench thickness) - in which case, after you have the holes made as deep as possible with the router- drill them all the way through with a drill and forstner/spade bit - the benefit of starting with the router, is that it creates started holes that are 90 degrees to the workbench surface, and easy to use as guide holes with the drill + spade/forstner bit. make sure you have some backer piece under the workbench so you don't split the bottom of it - unless you don't care for the esthetics of the underside of the workbench.

another approach would be to create a drill guide from a block of wood using a drill press or router (to make sure the guide hole is 90 to it's surface) and use that as a template over the workbench, and just use a drill.

just make sure you maintain the dog holes at 90 to the workbench surface.
 

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If you have a forstner bit that will the job fine with out a lot of bother. Just do a test in a scrap of the kind of wood your bench is made of first.
 

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I did mine by clamping a sacrificial piece of ply to the underside of my bench top, and drilled the holes with 3/4" forstner bits. The backer ply prevents tearout.
 

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Check out the video podcast by Glen Huey over at Popular Woodworking on this. He shows it being done with a router and simple jig. If the top is thicker than 2-1/8, then the dog hole is finished with a standard 3/4 bit.
 

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I have the drillbits Charlie posted a link to - they are GREAT for construction (which is what I use them for) - fast and easy,but they leave horrible exit holes…. not for 'fine' woodworking at all.
 

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Do you have shop brought dogs or have you made your own …..

Home made i would use sharp forstner bit …....

shop brought then plunge router them for tight fiting ….......

just my thoughts
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank-you for all the advise.

I am going to step down an old plunge routers speed and make a plywood guide, I will use a fostner bit.

I am lucky my father turns metal and will make me bench dogs to any specification.

Hugs
Belinda
 
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