Tagged: workbench dogs
22 August 2018 at 2:41 pm #550470
Does anyone have experience with Veritas Prairie Dogs? I like the idea of having pop up dogs that keep the holes filled in. They are a little pricey, but I’m thinking of adding them over time as needed. I recently rebuilt my workbench following Paul’s design and I am really resisting adding dog holes. I had them in my old bench, but they really didn’t do it for me. Just not a fan of holdfasts, prefer vise and clamps. I think the prairie dogs might be a nice compromise for planing and combining with the tail vise.
Thanks!28 August 2018 at 12:58 am #550651
i have two of them which I fitted to the vice on the side of my bench. I use them in combination with the shooting board or saw dolly fixed in the front vice. This is useful for holding things whilst sanding etc. I will try to post a picture tomorrow. They work ok but you have to clean out saw dust etc frequently or they tend to stick.28 August 2018 at 3:48 am #550655
One of the regrets of my bench is the 2 dog holes I drilled which are little more than dust collection holes where things might get lost. Given the trick of using the vise with other clamps, dogs almost seem completely unnecessary for the things I do.
Also, Tom, your workshop looks like a museum. If only I could keep mine so tidy!28 August 2018 at 12:25 pm #550664
Thanks Grahame. I wondered if dust could be a problem and they get jammed in there. Also, I’m worried if they are effectively long enough in my bench top. I used Idaho Douglas fir which is pretty soft stuff from my local Home Depot. The prairie dogs seem to be shorter and might not have enough length to spread the load. Seems like the holes could be deformed after some use…28 August 2018 at 12:35 pm #550665
I agree David. I’m struggling with the decision to add the dog holes. My previous bench had a few dog holes for holdfasts. I could not really get the hong of using holdfasts though and then I discovered Paul’s techniques with the clamp a vise which works real well. However, my bench is 10 feet long and I have a section on the right side with an end vise that I am considering adding a couple bench dogs for clamping boards for grooving occasionally. That end of the bench does not get much use, so maybe the dust collector won’t be as much of a problem.
FYI, my shop looks a bit tidier because I just moved in my new bench. It’s a tiny shop, but I am happy with it overall. My tools are all pretty cheap flea market items, but they work. I’ve been able to make many things in a very small space. An underrated advantage for hand tools.
Tom28 August 2018 at 3:29 pm #550674
I promised to take a couple of pictures of how I put the bench dogs in my side vice. I agree, i didn’t want dog holes on my bench either, hence using the two vices.28 August 2018 at 3:30 pm #55067728 August 2018 at 4:08 pm #550683
Thanks Grahame. I’ll probably do something similar with my end vise. I think I’ll give the prairie dogs a try. I spent a week of summer vacation building the darn bench. Might as well fit it up and see how it goes. My wife already thinks I’m nuts. I spend all day woodworking and then watch woodworking videos to relax some more.
I’ve got room at the end of the bench to try it. Who knows maybe I’ll like it…28 August 2018 at 8:47 pm #550698
I had some bench dog holes in my previous bench and decided against them in my new bench that I just finished a few months ago. Frankly, I don’t miss them at all. I used to get frustrated with them. I resort to the clamp in the vise or just using the vise itself. I’ve only once had to resort to putting my vise dog up to plane something. I can’t see me going back to them at all.
Nice looking shop Tom!29 August 2018 at 1:14 am #550710
Thanks Doug. I think I will hold off on the dogs for a while. Since I just made the bench, I thought I would fit it up with all the goodies, but there seems to be consensus that the dogs are not really needed. I’m going to wait on it.29 August 2018 at 1:42 am #550714
I have a full width end vise on my bench along with lots of dog holes and the dogs work out great if you’ve got that kind of an arrangement. I rarely have to resort to the “clamp in the vise” trick. But I’ve never been a holdfast fan and if I didn’t have the end vise, I wouldn’t want dog holes. Under no circumstances would I ever drill a blind dog hole/dust collector in my bench. If you decide to do it, drill all the way through the bench and the holes will stay pretty clean. If you decide later that you’re tired of the holes, some oak dowel and a little glue fixes the problem very quickly and you can make up a story for why those dowels had to be there.
Harry30 August 2018 at 12:42 pm #550769
Thanks for the info Harry. I’m going to let the work decide instead of trying to design it all out ahead of time. If I need the dog holes for a project then I’ll go for it. I am leaning away from the prairie dogs though, because they are shorter and I’m not so sure my soft wood bench is up to the task. I think longer ones may help from deforming the holes.
That is a sweet looking setup you have on your bench.30 August 2018 at 1:57 pm #550772
I think we all tend to work a little differently and what works for me won’t suit the next guy so I agree with you that you should let the work, and more importantly the way you go about working set the final tweeks. I did mine a few years back and I over-thought it in a lot of ways. That Veritas twin screw end vise was one thing I got right. My bench is 36″ wide and so is the vise and I use the end vise as much or more than I do the Eclipse on the other end. FYI, I used fir for my actual work surface and I mainly use those ultra cheap blue plastic dogs available at Woodcraft – they’re short too. I’ve got several other styles as well and I’ve never done any damage at all to any of the holes with any of them. Thanks Tom – enjoy it!
Harry4 September 2018 at 4:21 am #550863
I added Lee Valley mortised bench stops to my bench. Only one is pictured here, but I added a second one where the other hole is in the pic.
Paul himself has one of these on his bench is some older (2014? 2015?) videos. The mortise is a bit complicated, but worth it. These stops are rock solid and a good alternative to dogs if you’re just using them for planing.
I also have dog holes on the other end of my bench that are located near the rear set of legs. I use holdfasts with these, and they’re great for holding while chopping big mortises.4 September 2018 at 1:18 pm #550900
I plan to add the lee valley bench stop for quick planing chores. In my old bench, I used a wood screw in the bench. It actually worked fine, but I figure I can be a bit more sophisticated in my new bench. I may try some sort of bench dogs with the end vise, but remains to be seen if I need it.
I used the gramercy holdfasts in my old bench, but I really didn’t care for it. I found the holding to be too inconsistent or they tended to mar my work if I wasn’t careful. They are fine for rough work though. These days, I tend to use a clamp in some way to hold the work at the front of the bench for mortising, sometimes in combination with the front vise.
Thanks for your advice!
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