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Bench Dog (hole) placement

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Forum topic by sansoo22 posted 05-16-2019 08:33 PM 501 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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sansoo22

47 posts in 18 days


05-16-2019 08:33 PM

I’m trying to finish up my first bench…aka Mighty Mouse. I’ve read quite a bit on bench dogs, hold downs and vises. I have a rather small shop space so this thing is only 49” x 22”. Because of its short size and limited space I only incorporated a side vise. Anyway I’m wondering if there is anything I might be missing with my planned hole layout for dogs and hold downs.

I did quite a bit of consideration about the way I like to work. Because I’m tall with long arms I like to stand at the end of my bench previous makeshift bench and build a sort of square with my bench dogs. I have a shoulder that isnt quite right since my football days and standing at the end makes it feel better. So i incorporated one line of holes right down the center. I have another set further down for larger panels, one row down each side, and of course a couple laid out for the pop up dogs in the vise face.

From what I can tell the placement of the holes is a rather personal choice but thought I’d ask for guidance since this is my first bench and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing.

Thanks


27 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9254 posts in 1502 days


#1 posted 05-16-2019 08:45 PM

I’m not sure what your dog holes are for exactly? I get the ones in front of the vise obviously. But, other than that, I don’t see any need for anymore than necessary for your holdfasts to reach everywhere you need them to. Maybe that’s how you have them spaced and I’m just not seeing it. The lines running the full length of the bench at front and back seem unnecessary to me with your bench configuration. Remember, you can drill more holes at any time. You can’t un-drill them though ;-) I’d start with the holes you know you need and add others as you find a need for them.

Good luck!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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sansoo22

47 posts in 18 days


#2 posted 05-16-2019 10:41 PM

Thanks Ken. I had a feeling I was going overboard. My old “bench” was a wobbly assembly table I had thrown together with a grid of holes in the 3/4” top. I would usually just drop a couple bench dogs in 2 of the holes and use those as a stop for flattening and smoothing duties. I transferred the holes i used the most from that top to this one and then added the 2 full length rows for reasons.

Think i will start with just the few around the vise, a couple for a plane stop, and maybe 2 or 3 more for hold fasts. For spacing around hold fasts do you make them so the 2 can overlap? For example hold fast width is 6” so I would space my holes that width from the edge and 12” apart?

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ctsdeglpks

285 posts in 736 days


#3 posted 05-16-2019 10:42 PM

Thats a nice start to your small bench. I think your bench dog holes need a little more planning. Unless you are a carver and there main use is for a hold down to secure your work, they will have limited use. In addition for that use, your length wise holes are to close to the edge.

The holes in line with your side vise will come in handy for clamping and holding smaller work with the bench dog. The set of holes across the center are not a good idea, that will weaken the center of the bench and introduce some bounce to the bench, which is even worse if your a carver with your work held down in this area. Here’s a picture of my bench. It’s larger than your bench but maybe there are a few ideas you might consider. I used a leg vise where your side vise is going.

If you want full length dog holes, they are not very useful unless you have some way of clamping the work against your dogs. There are different types of vises you can build into the end of the bench. The easiest and most inexpensive is probably the standard woodworking vise. In my bench I utilized two, lined up with my two rows of dog holes. With this set up I can use them for end work, I can clamp up a piece of work from a tiny box to a box or frame, the size of the workbench top, for assembly, with out using a single clamp, using caul type backers. In addition you can use both vises as a small capacity Moxon with a backer. At minimum you should install one such vise off to the front side to utilize one full length, row of dog holes.

If you will be working with lots of panels such as cupboard doors the Moxon vise is what you need. If you will have access to both sides of your bench it goes nicely across from your side or leg vise.

If your going to be doing any edge planing your side vise will work but you need some form of outboard support.

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MPython

119 posts in 176 days


#4 posted 05-17-2019 12:48 AM

I was very happy with my bench when it was finished, so I was reluctant to make Swiss cheese out of the top with a bunch of unnecessary dog holes. I used my bench for several months before I decided to drill a row of dog holes along the front half of the bench top that would allow my holdfasts to reach the front edge. They w0orked fine. After several years I decided I needed a second row of dog holes closer to the rear of the bench top. I staggered placement of the rear holes with the front ones. I’m very happy with the arrangement. I don’t have any holes I don’t use and I use all the ones I have. I’m glad I waited. Actual experience is your best guide.

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sansoo22

47 posts in 18 days


#5 posted 05-17-2019 01:27 AM

Carlos thanks for the advice. I’m not into carving now but my great uncle gave me a few of his carving tools before he passed so i would like to do that some day. I really like the vises you have. I’ve considered doing a twin screw tail vise but I didn’t design my bench that well. I dont have a lot of room for vise scews. I was thinking of building in something like this. Not as fancy looking as what you have but it seems to work quite nicely. I don’t have room for a sliding dead man like you do so instead I’m building one into the leg across from the side vise. And a couple dog holes on the apron to support long stock.

Python I’m probably jumping the gun and overthinking this whole thing. I agree experience is the key. I have a few commissions i magically picked up and wanted to finish up this bench to help with those. After the input I’ve received I will probably erase like 90% of the planned holes and just put in the ones around the vise and wait until i decide where i want to use hold fasts.

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SMP

878 posts in 270 days


#6 posted 05-17-2019 02:29 AM



I was very happy with my bench when it was finished, so I was reluctant to make Swiss cheese out of the top with a bunch of unnecessary dog holes. I used my bench for several months before I decided to drill a row of dog holes along the front half of the bench top that would allow my holdfasts to reach the front edge. They w0orked fine. After several years I decided I needed a second row of dog holes closer to the rear of the bench top. I staggered placement of the rear holes with the front ones. I m very happy with the arrangement. I don t have any holes I don t use and I use all the ones I have. I m glad I waited. Actual experience is your best guide.

- MPython

Would you be so kind as to take a picture of this when you get a chance? I am in the same dilemma as the OP, and this kind of makes sense but want to make sure i am visualizing correctly.

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MPython

119 posts in 176 days


#7 posted 05-17-2019 04:43 PM

Here you go, SMP:

I built the bench with the rectangular dog holes along each edge for use with the end vise. I added the round dog holes later. First was the row of six holes nearest the camera. I located them so my hold downs would reach almost to the front edge of the bench. After using the bench for a couple of years, I decided it would be handy to have a second row of six holes located so the hold downs reach the back edge of the bench. With these locations, I can just reach just about every square inch of my bench top with a hold down. I also staggered the front back holes to avoid conflict between the front and rear hold downs. This arrangement has worked well for me. So far, I haven’t found I need anymore dog holes.

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ctsdeglpks

285 posts in 736 days


#8 posted 05-17-2019 05:12 PM

Didn’t you say you didn’t want your bench to look like Swiss cheese. Smile MPython I’m joking, nice bench, lots of storage. I don’t feel comfortable putting dog holes that close to the edge, I would be afraid of cracking something with my softwood bench, if I was doing heavy work.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5371 posts in 2715 days


#9 posted 05-17-2019 05:16 PM

My guess is that eventually you will want to add an end vise. When you do that you will want dog holes along the front of the bench. I would wait on adding a lot of bench dog holes until you use the bench for a while. You can always add them, but you can’t take them away.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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SMP

878 posts in 270 days


#10 posted 05-17-2019 05:35 PM



Here you go, SMP:

I built the bench with the rectangular dog holes along each edge for use with the end vise. I added the round dog holes later. First was the row of six holes nearest the camera. I located them so my hold downs would reach almost to the front edge of the bench. After using the bench for a couple of years, I decided it would be handy to have a second row of six holes located so the hold downs reach the back edge of the bench. With these locations, I can just reach just about every square inch of my bench top with a hold down. I also staggered the front back holes to avoid conflict between the front and rear hold downs. This arrangement has worked well for me. So far, I haven t found I need anymore dog holes.

- MPython

Great, thank you so much for this! I’ll have to measure my holdfasts and make a cardboard template or something to check against my bench, but this makes sense. I currently mainly need them for a batten to hold pieces against my planning stop.

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Keith Kelly

320 posts in 2027 days


#11 posted 05-17-2019 05:41 PM

I have had 2 kinds of dog holes:
1) Willy Nilly Dog Holes
2) A MFSlab w/ CNC-drilled dog holes all over

I love the MFSlab!

BUT….

I got along quite fine with my Willy Nilly Dog Hole approach previously, and actually quite liked it. Loved it.

I drilled a few semi-strategic holes near the vise. Over the next few years I drilled holes wherever I felt like it, and whatever size I felt like.

The freedom was amazing!

-- Keith | Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/KeithsTestGarage

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sansoo22

47 posts in 18 days


#12 posted 05-17-2019 06:56 PM

Thank you all for the great input. Glad I decided to post here before making any permanent choices. Last night I cleared off the old layout and came up with a new one. I won’t be adding all of these yet. Probably just the few around the vice and maybe the back row for hold fasts. The 4 holes by the vise jaw will double up for use with a plane stop I intend to make as well.


I know the holes for the vise aren’t evenly spaced but I kind of like how they are laid out. I should have 2 to 12” of clamping capacity using the 2 different sets of holes.

My last question is one single row of holes along the front for jointing or can i do a staggered double row? This apron is 6-7/8” tall and was intended to have a double row in my initial design but I was totally wrong on dog hole placement so thought id check first.

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ctsdeglpks

285 posts in 736 days


#13 posted 05-17-2019 07:15 PM

Those big aprons look alright, a bit of flavor of the Moravian bench there. I hate to be the bearer of bad news though. By adding that apron to the ends as well, you have locked the top against any movement. In a humid shop you will crack the corners, in a dry shop you will split the top, probably where your outside aprons attach to the top. If you look up Moravian style benches they have the big aprons front and back but not on the ends to allow the top to move.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9254 posts in 1502 days


#14 posted 05-17-2019 07:32 PM

I think I’d do a double staggered row just to accommodate different board widths.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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sansoo22

47 posts in 18 days


#15 posted 05-17-2019 08:42 PM



Those big aprons look alright, a bit of flavor of the Moravian bench there. I hate to be the bearer of bad news though. By adding that apron to the ends as well, you have locked the top against any movement. In a humid shop you will crack the corners, in a dry shop you will split the top, probably where your outside aprons attach to the top. If you look up Moravian style benches they have the big aprons front and back but not on the ends to allow the top to move.

- Carlos510

Original intent was to just pin the ends to the sides with some oak pins. The holes in the sides were slightly oblonged to allow for movement. And then because I’m a noob i put glue on the wrong end of the pin and hammered it in. So they are glued on now. If the bench dies it will be a well learned lesson and I will rebuild.

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