Edge Jointing with Timber Dogs


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Have you ever read about timber dogs, pinch dogs or nail dogs and wondered what they were and how they where used? Or maybe wondered how woodworkers jointed two pieces of wood when clamps weren’t as common. Paul shares the idiosyncrasies involved in edge jointing using these tools.


  1. Sergey Zolotaryov on 20 January 2015 at 10:13 am

    I’m always short of clamps, this is a brilliant idea for shorter boards. Thank you.

  2. Eddy Flynn on 20 January 2015 at 11:16 am

    i seen you make some of these some time ago, i dont know why i didnt have a go at making some then, i could of done with them last week on a rustic table top repair and then filled the dog holes that are left with small wedges .

  3. swr123 on 20 January 2015 at 11:32 am

    Considering the price of sash clamps, these seem well worth investigating.

    I found them quite hard to search for on the internet, though. “Timber Dogs” seems to be the preferred term on Amazon and eBay, not that I found much – but there is also a breed of dog called a ‘Timber Dog’ which kind of swamps any Google search – and ‘Nail Dogs’ brings up rather a lot of vets and poodle parlours offering canine pedicures. ‘Pinch dogs’ left me rather amazed at the lengths some people go to when training a dog (spiked collars?!)

    Lee Valley seems a good source, although obviously the postage may be prohibitive for anyone not in the US.
    In the UK, I did find Rutlands.

    • Alien8 on 20 January 2015 at 12:10 pm

      In some of his blog posts, Paul showed he made a few from tempered steel. Really seems not worth the postage if you can DIY them.

      Also like the part when Paul says “the next step is easy! ” (making the clambered edge from two straight edges) Couldn’t help thinking by myself : it’s the other way around! I can get perfect curved edges all the time, making them dead straight is what’s the major challenge. Lol


    • George Bridgeman on 20 January 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Paul has a blog post here on how to make your own:

      Hope this helps if you’re in a pinch (pun intended). You can find 1/8″ ground flat stock on eBay.


  4. Mihai on 20 January 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Wonderfull , thank you.
    I never exactly knew how a pinch-dog really works – and I mean -no matter its size; despite its sacrificial part – it will stil be a good -old pressing method; what about the tourniquet ? ( when cramps/clamps are not enough ?)

  5. bit101 on 20 January 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I liked the pencil trick for aligning the board.

  6. hervefrance40 on 20 January 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Brilliant past idea, so simple, I love it

  7. António on 20 January 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Very nice addition to the blog post!

    Thank You WWMC for this video!

  8. Joe Sedlmaier on 20 January 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Capital idea! But where on earth do you find these?

  9. STEVE MASSIE on 20 January 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I have never used these before, I think it is a great idea. Thank You Paul for the Demo and explanation.


  10. jeff novak on 20 January 2015 at 4:42 pm

    We have these in America, though I have not tried them, nor have I seen anyone using them. I like the method because I would think it would train one to hand joint properly with more finesse. Early on, my mistakes often were overcome by forcing boards together with clamps which is, I think, a common mistake among beginning woodworkers. This also alleviates the supposed need for long jointer planes and allows again for a simple #4 stanley to be all you need for most things as Paul teaches.

  11. Troy T. on 20 January 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I have seen pinch dogs for sale, but never seen them demonstrated. Thank you

  12. HM Magnusson on 20 January 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Nice alternate option to clamps. The holes are an issue but often they can be cut off or covered. When I run out of clamps I have used the Japanese method of wrapping the pieces tightly with slightly elastic thread. More often, when I run out of clamps, I just quit for the day.

  13. Sandy on 20 January 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I like it. I’ll be ordering my dogs soon. 🙂

  14. Robert Daniel on 20 January 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks Paul. I have never seen these used and appreciate the video.

  15. davedev on 20 January 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Is there a risk that the joint will eventually split at one or other end due to the tension between the two pieces? If so, would the boards be more stable by planing the edges straight and using dogs at each end and a single cramp in the middle?

    • Philip Adams on 27 January 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hello David, the camber in the pieces is so very slight that it doesn’t create much tension, not any more than the glue has to put up with from normal expansion and contraction of the wood anyway. If the camber was too large then that may cause problems.

  16. odysseus on 20 January 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Wow! Sat watching opened mouthed so amazed, just such a wonderful tool so clearly demonstrated.

    I had always thought edges had to be perfectly flat, hence why jointers are so commonly shown on youtube and so another piece of misinformation in my brain is corrected.

    Thank you

    • Paul Sellers on 27 January 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Well, that’s what they want you to think. And also, because people are not so comfortable with their hand skills they turn to whatever they can to get results. Would is not this rigid immoveable, intolerant material (like some woodworkers can be) but more accepting and resilient, expansive, flexible and so on. just occasionally it fails us but usually because of our ignorance or over expectation.

  17. Gary on 20 January 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Very informative as always! Paul, would this not be an effective way of gluing up the tops and aprons in your workbench build?

    • Paul Sellers on 10 July 2015 at 2:12 am

      Yes, you could do that, as long as the dogs are long enough and all the surfaces meet well.

  18. boiciuc ciprian on 15 February 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you! I LIKE IT !!!!!!!!!

  19. antilegion on 18 August 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Paul I attempted to do this as you’ve said but ran into issues.
    Namely that depending on how I jointed the board and the amount of gap I left at the two ends my pinch dogs would either:
    a) split the wood (pine from Home Depot here in the Merica)
    b) would not pull together all the way and leave a very minuscule gap between the boards
    c) be impossible to get the gap closed all the way

    I tried on 4 different panels and arrived at using a method that doesn’t involve any sort of spring joint (just planing it perfectly flat/parallel to one another.) And this seemed to work quite well and the glue up seems to be holding nicely (Titebond 3).

    My timber dogs are 1 and 3/4 inch. I notice yours are much larger (looks like maybe 3 inches?).
    Could this be why I had issues?

    • antilegion on 18 August 2015 at 9:01 pm

      In addition, I suppose I didn’t do a micro camber wherein there is barely any camber at all. I did do one that was close enough that you could barely tell there was a gap when squeezed together at either end. But Paul your gap seems to be obvious.
      Please any input is welcome, I do like this method when I’ve ran out of clamps. Which is always. Just don’t like the slight extra bit of waste.

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