Boring dog holes...

I never did come across any handy dandy advice for laying these out, so I thought I'd share what worked, leaving out all my tales of woe about what I did wrong before I discovered this method.
If I had it all to do over again, I would have started with a much more simple beginning than I did, so I suggest you do as I say, rather than I did. Mark one line perpendicular to the front of your bench. Now measure the first and second courses of dog holes and mark two lines parallel to the front of your bench.
Mark these two holes very carefully with an awl. You could do three or more holes as well. More holes further apart will probably make for more accuracy later.
Now find a piece of perf board with 1/8" holes. Bigger is better. The one I had on-hand was large enough to mark six hole locations, but I think it would have been more accurate if it had been both longer and wider.
Pick a corner hole and circle it. Measure the distance between centers in the perf board. 1" is probably standard. That's what mine was. Now mark out as many holes as you can, spaced out at your target distance. For six inch centers with 1" hole spacing, you need five empty holes between every circled one. (If you're going for 7 3/4" spacing or something like that, then you'll have to figure out something else--this method is useless to you.)
Now find some nails that are as close to 1/8" in diameter as you can manage. Poke a nail through your first circled corner, then tap it into the first hole you marked with your awl. You want the nail to stick, but you don't want it to be difficult to remove.
Spin the perf board around until you're lined up with the other hole(s) you marked on your line and then tap another nail into this one. Now tap nails into the centers of the remaining circled holes, using as much care as humanly possible to ensure that the nails go straight into the center.
If you used a big piece of perf board, you might be done already. If you used a smaller one like I did, you'll need to pull up the nails and move it. I suggest moving it so that you re-engage at least four holes, on at least two different courses, which have already been tapped. On my six-hole board that meant I only got two new holes for each move of the perf board, but I feel it increased my chances of accuracy.
When you get to the far edges, have a care to stay within your 3" or whatever margins. Otherwise just tap away. When you're done, you should have a board full of perfectly spaced little dimples that are just the right size to center the spur on a Forstner bit.
I drilled using a hardwood guide I made by boring a piece of scrap on my drill press. It produced satisfactory, though less than perfect results. Some kind of drill guide thingie would probably be preferable.
Anyway, that's what worked. The spacing is still not 100% spot on, but it's close enough that the slop factor from slightly wallowed out hand-drilled holes gives me enough lateral play to make things fit between any two holes without having to take a hammer to anything.
If for some reason you're one of the people out there who hasn't gotten around to drilling dog holes yet (why else would you have read this far? :) then you'll really be glad you did once you've done it. Dog holes are awesome!
Well, I hope this helps someone. Everyone feel free to chime in with suggestions for improvement or to just generally point out that I did this a stupid way, and I should never have posted this message.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Unless I'm misunderstanding your use of the peg board, it seems as though you were concerned about precise spacing of your dog holes. Why? I haven't found a use for dog holes that required any particular spacing accuracy at all. In general you use one or two holes to push against with an end vise or wedge or whatever. What did you have in mind? I just laid the holes out with a tape measure and pencil, using a spacing equal to 1/2 the travel of my end vise (~6").
Regarding drilling, this comes up on the rec pretty often. How to drill holes after the benchtop is complete? I used my benchtop drill press. I turned the head stock around on the column, so that it was away from the table and base, and slipped it down the column to the height appropriate for my forstner bit. Not all DP's will do this, but many will. Then I positioned the bit over the -soon to be a hole- location, clamped the DP base to the table with cauls, and drilled away. Worked perfectly.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop

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Pounds on Wood wrote:

Because Sam Allen told me to do it that way. :)
Something on the order of "It's very important to lay out your dog holes accurately...." No hints or tips for how to accomplish that though, hence my post.
Now that I've had a chance to piddle with it, it worked. I have a couple of boards with two dowels in them, and I can stick them everywhere except the corner I started in, before I hit upon my bright pegboard idea.

That's not a bad idea. Wouldn't have worked for me, because I don't have a benchtop drill press. I traded up for a big'un and sold the little one to fund some project or other.
I got it done though. Spent the day sharpening everything that I abused during the construction. When I get back from work Tuesday night, I'll be ready to surface some lumber and build something cool.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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The reason you need accurate dog hole spacing is that there are a lot of bench jigs that use two of the dog holes to hold the jig in place (I'm thinking mainly of bench stops). So, if you have a stop that has 3/4" dowel pegs on 12" centers and your dog holes are 11 7/8" or 12 1/8" apart, instead of 12" then you're screwed. It might seem that you could just build the jig to your particular bench, but if you use a full grid of dog holes then you will likely only be able to use the jig on the two specific holes you used to set up the jig - that's pretty limiting.
Aside from the practical reasons I've mentioned here, why not be accurate? It isn't that hard at all, and I think Silvan came up with a reasonably good way to get it pretty good. Seems silly to forgo maybe 20-30 minutes extra effort which will get you a better laid-out doghole grid for no good reason.

That's not a bad idea, but it seems pretty laborious (the bench I'm making now, modeled after Sam Allen's joiners bench has 40+ dog holes in the top). I'm using a right-angle drill guide and it works great and doesn't weigh 75 lbs.
Mike
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That is a good reason why, which is what I asked. I haven't needed such jigs, but I can see where they could be useful. BTW, you may underestimate my accuracy with a tape measure.

Of course, no reason not to.

I'm sure that works too, although I don't ever plan to own a drill guide. I guess they work but driving a forstner bit through 3" of hard maple with a hand drill, guided or not does not sound accurate or fun. I'm glad it worked for you. BTW, it doesn't have to be a benchtop DP, any that will slide down the column would work, but yes it is heavy. Me used to be strong like bull :-)
-- Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop
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Hehe. Well, what I use to drill dog holes is my cordless Milwaukee 14.4 volt 460 in/lbs. of torque (I know, not as much as the latest and greatest impact driver, but oh well) and a 3/4" auger bit. Since these are through-holes, there's not really any particular reason to use a forstner bit, and auger bits are practically self-driving. So, as long as you get the hole started properly, it's a snap. Of course, I'm not drilling through hard maple as you were/are. Still, drilling through 3 sheets of 3/4" MDF isn't particularly nice to drill bits either.
Mike
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