Dog hole Clarification

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Forum topic by gadawg31 posted 03-09-2015 05:10 PM 1240 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1724 days

03-09-2015 05:10 PM

Hello everyone,

As you can see from my profile, I like to tinker as do most of us. I don’t wood work for a living, but I love working in the shop and enjoy learning different things. I have heard a lot about drilling dog holes in your work bench and using various vises. I have never had a workbench with them drilled and I have never used them, but from all the threads I have read, they seem to be a very useful addition to your work bench. I was wondering if someone would be so kind to explain the setup process to me. I have seen some vises that simply slide down into a hole and others that actually used threads. Someone take me to school on this, if you have a few minutes. Thanks.


8 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5216 posts in 4415 days

#1 posted 03-09-2015 05:28 PM

I have my bench drilled 6” on center with 3/4” holes. The “dogs” I use are those for the B & D Workmate. The end and face vice are drilled the same.
I find that the round holes allow the dogs to rotate a bit which seems to help with any irregularity in the work piece.
I have counter drilled some of the holes for a 5/8” holdfast that I had a blacksmith forge.
Just my way.

-- [email protected]

View HornedWoodwork's profile


222 posts in 1669 days

#2 posted 03-09-2015 05:43 PM

I drilled numerous 3/4 holes on my vices and benchtop. I can slide dogs into the holes and use the whole bench as a nice flat 6 foot vice or I can use holdfasts (the ones you knock in/out with a hammer) to hold items to the surface or to a jig or whaterver. Holdfast can help hold items for working or assemble and you can fasen large or odd shaped items as well. Bench dogs and holdfasts are important for quick and safe work. There are other things you can do as well, make a no lip jig affixing dowels to the bottom and dropping them in the holes, the jig will come on and off the bench quick and not fussy setup required. I also expolit the holes when making dowel, I set the dowelilng plate up ove the hole, a bucket below the hole and I think of the time I cut a precious piece of wood too short and hammer away making dowels. Need to rest a router when the bit is extended? a place to thorugh drill holes? Anyway, you ge the point.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

View gadawg31's profile


23 posts in 1724 days

#3 posted 03-10-2015 03:05 PM

Ok, I now realized that I think I ask the wrong question. After a bit more research on dog holes, I really should have been asking what the push down clamps people use on their work benches. I have seen several benches that have the dog holes and people appear to be pushing down certain types of clamps to keep pieces from moving. It is hard to explain, but hopefully someone on here and understand my explanation. Thanks.


View JADobson's profile


1445 posts in 2566 days

#4 posted 03-10-2015 03:22 PM

Do you mean holdfasts?

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View gadawg31's profile


23 posts in 1724 days

#5 posted 03-10-2015 03:49 PM

Yep, some I have seen are a little different, but that picture is a perfect example of what I was trying to get my brain and hands to say/type. I have been burning up the forums for threads pertaining to this and researching the web for types of vises. I just could not think of what they were called and whether or not you needed something special to keep them in place. It looks like they create their own tension as you drive them into the dog hole. Is this correct? I have also seen some that have screws, but not sure how affective they are. These look like they could be made pretty easily. Anyone attempted it or are they cheap enough to just buy them? I apologize if some of my questions are simple, but I am trying to get myself back in the wood working mode and learn as much as I can. Thanks for being patient with me.


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16172 posts in 3073 days

#6 posted 03-10-2015 04:46 PM

A pair a Jorgy holdfasts can be had for under $30, as I recall (it’s been awhile since i bought mine). Holdfasts simply wedge themselves in a 3/4” hole drilled straight through a benchtop in the range of 2”-4” thick. Add some 3/4” benchtops (dogs, benchdogs, etc.) and you’ve got a decent work holding system in place. Check the Lee Valley / Veritas website (bench accessories) for all kinds of ideas in this arena.

Hope this helps.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View jmartel's profile


8525 posts in 2605 days

#7 posted 03-10-2015 05:12 PM

Those are the holdfasts most seem to recommend. I should have a pair waiting at my door when I get home today to test out.

Here’s a review:

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View gadawg31's profile


23 posts in 1724 days

#8 posted 03-10-2015 05:44 PM

Thanks Smitty, I just came across the Lee Valley website. I found an article on here about building your own and I may give a friend of my dad’s a call. He does some blacksmith work and for the right beverage, he may bend some metal for me. I have read that the typical angle is 81-87 degrees. I will try this out and all else fails, I will break down and buy some. Thanks again for all the feedback.


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