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I am about to build the top for my work bench. I have read 2 diffrent things about the dog holes. one says drill them before the glue-up and one says after. which is the most effective (read -easy)?

Secondly, what is the best type of finish to use on the bench when done.

Thanks
Harold
 

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it really depends on what dog holes you're setting up, and what tools you have at your disposal.

here are difference scenarios, choose which ever one fits your tools the most:

SQUARE DOGS: since the holes are square, there's pretty much no humane way to get those holes AFTER the top has been glued up, and those HAVE to be setup prior to glueing the dog hole strip to the bench (unless you intentionally want to torture yourself by chiseling precise square holes throughout the thick top)

ROUND HOLES: BEFORE GLUE UP: best tool for the job is a drill press with a 3/4" forstner bit. using a drill press, drill 3/4" holes at the designated locations on the dog hole strip. since you have a fence for the drill press they will all be automatically aligned, and since the drill press is doing all the work and is more powerful than a handheld drill, this is probably the easier method of doing this.

This was actually how I made mine

ROUND HOLES: AFTER GLUE UP: best tool for the job - router with a 3/4" straight bit. or a handheld drill with a 3/4" drill bit, or a brace (hand drill) with a 3/4" bit. After you have your bench top completely assembled and glued up. setup some sort of jig/fixture as a guide to help you drill the dog holes at a set distance from the edge of the benchtop, then drill the holes. a router is the best option as it makes the holes at perfect 90 degrees to the top, whereas with a drill you might risk making those holes off square. this method is a little more strressful on the tools, and requires more alignment precaution as you have to keep resetting your fixture which guides your drill/router. there are numerous online guides how to do this. google "drilling bench dog holes" I remember that popularwoodworking.com had some videos on this one.
 
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