Square bench dog holes - worth doing the ledge?

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I'm starting assembly of my workbench top. For the dog hole strip I already have 3/4"x3/4" dadoes run through at 2 degrees. I have to decide whether it's worth the effort of cutting out the ledges for storing the dogs.
The way I see it, it's a heck of a lot of work for not much pay off. For one thing, what are the odds that the next time I need it it's going to be the same hole, unless I make a dog for every hole which seems like overkill. And did I mention the whole lot of work?
And on a tangent, on the dogs I have seen the spring on the front and I have seen them on the side. I usually see them on the front with square dogs, but it would seem to make more sense to have it on the side.
-Leuf
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May it not be easier to use round dogs and then all you need to is to drill properly sized holes (if and when needed) after the bench is completed?
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Definitely easier to use round holes in a completed bench, and that is one of the big pluses of round dogs. And there are other tradeoffs between the two shapes. I have a bench with round dog holes and just built one with square dog holes. For irregular-shaped objects, the round are easier to use. But for holding rectangular wood for planing, give me the square ones every time--can be used as a planing stop, without worrying that the wood will twist violently to one side when you hit that gnarly grain that is 1/2" to the side of perfectly in line with the direction of your stroke and the center of the round dog.
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Upscale:

That all may be, but why not put a swiveling square top piece on a square dog? That would catch any shape and hold it. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and designs.
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Assuming you are using the standard two rows of dog holes, why not just drill a couple of holes in a piece of scrap to slide over two round dogs when planing rectangular stock? I usually do that with the square ones anyhow, and it works really well. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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On Mon, 11 Apr 2005 05:25:52 -0500, Prometheus

That's what I use as well. A length of 3 x 1 with 3 holes and a notch in it, holds anything.
I built a simple workbench from a FWW design a while back and thought long and hard about square vs round. Eventually, I drilled a few round, and since then have added about another 12 holes where, and as required. For the dogs I use short pieces of 16mm mild steel rod I recovered from the dumpster.
This has worked out very well, and I don't see the need for the added complexity of square dogs.
Barry Lennox
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I bought lignum vitae pen blanks myself... ebay.
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I kind of envy you that, actually. My square ones can be a real PITA when the humidity changes. Not to mention all the useless work I could have saved myself! Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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wrote:

Oh yes !
The "ledge" isn't for storage - it's to allow the dogs to be placed and used with only half of their height protruding. Pretty much essential for planing over the top of them.
I did mine with the router and a simple sliding jig (adjustable framing square with a stop block clamped to it). Doing the ledges was only moments of extra work. If you're doing them on the tablesaw then I guess it could be more effort, but it's still worth having them.
As a general rule, it's _always_ worth doing it "right" on a workbench. You have to live with it a long time.
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Andy I *have* square dogs with a ledge and I don't follow you. Could you clarify?
When I "store" a bench dog I just push it down below the surface of the table. The ledge keeps the dog from continuing through bench top if I were to give it more of a push than necessary. The mating ledge in the hole is about 1/8" lower than necessary to accomodate the inevitable dust that drops in there.

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On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 12:38:09 +0100, Andy Dingley

Yes, but if I make the top of the dog 3/4" instead of having the extra bit in front then it can slide down as far as I need, there's just nothing to stop it from falling through. I presume that the spring is enough to hold it in place while working with it, but not enough to hold it while in storage and the bench is being worked on.

The only way I can think to do it with what I have is to start it with a hand saw and then chisel. How deep is the ledge supposed to be? 1/2" ?

Well it's hard to know how to build it right without having used it before. I've seen enough workbenches with stuff that was more about demonstrating the skill of the maker than doing it right that I question *everything* I see in them. I'm more on the "good, fast, cheap" side of the scale than ultimate bench with this one.
Maybe I should make a mockup dog hole in a 2x4 to play with before I go any further.
-Leuf
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wrote:

Of course it's for storage - I should have said "not just for storage".

Yes, you could do this - if you're making your own dogs. I sized my dog holes to suit the commercial square metal dogs. Then I realised just how much I'd over-paid on a pair of these dogs, so the ones I added later were home-made and wooden.
The spring should be adequate to hold them in place through all but the heaviest pounding.

I'd cut the dog holes as dados on the table saw, making up a simple MDF angled sliding carriage as a cutting jig. Then I'd do the ledges with a chisel.

Mine are 1 1/4" deep ledges, in a 4" deep apron strip. The bench top is 2" oak, ripped into narrow strips, but the apron strip is turned vertically. There's a 1/2" thick cover strip on the outside.
My only wish is that I'd put a second row of dog holes in, about 6" or 9" in from the others.

Indeed. I'd put a Klausz-style vice on the left rather than my Frid style, if I did it again.

I wouldn't bother - you really need to jig for batch production when cutting these. It would be a faff to do this for the prototype.
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I built my own bench with square dog holes. The bench just wouldn't be as useful without the "ledges" the bench dogs rest on while under the surface and unused. I just pop them up when I need them. Without the ledges they would fall through or I'd need to find somewhere else to store them. You should definitely take the time to put the ledges in.
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Are your dog's springs made of wood? If so over time they'll warp_to_flatten I should think... ?
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warp_to_flatten I

That has not been my experience. Mine have been in use for over 3 years and have not list their elasticity.
Even so, I can always make more.
-Steve
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Okay, so what wood is your springs?
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Mine are hickory - just sawn-down hammer shafts. The dogs themselves are maple or elm
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Ahh... hickory over here is stiff hard and chippy... sometimes I buy the chips and smoke a corned beef or a chicken with it.
Do your springs flex good enough without breaking? I know our standard white oak would work perfectly.
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So is hickory in England. We don't have any, it's imported from you.
It's stiff, but if you saw it thin it's springy enough. If I hadn't had a broken hammer shaft and a bandsaw to hand, I'd have used riven ash. (although our ash is much better than American ash)
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On Mon, 11 Apr 2005 21:55:13 +0100, Andy Dingley wrote:

<smartass> I've heard that about English ash. </smartass>
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