I have a cheapie woodworker's bench that has an end
vise and two rows of dog holes along the bench and
dog holes in the end vise. You're supposed to be able
to hold a workpiece in place horizontally on the surface
of the workbench by pinching the workpiece between
the bench dogs.
I have to use a couple of pieces of scrap wood, one
on each side of the workpiece, for proper spacing and
to protect the workpiece from being gouged by the
metal bench dogs.
The problem is that when I turn the vise to squeeze
the workpiece, the scrap pieces and my workpiece all
get pushed up in the air and nothing is held in place.
The bench dogs are in round holes. The heads are square
and only about 1/2 inch high. When the vise applies
force, the dogs lean over a little in their holes and thus
become off-vertical and the heads press against the
lowest part of the scrap spacers and this is what pushes
them up in the air.
It seems that if the dogs could be made to stay vertical
(e.g. by deeper holes and a closer fit) and had heads that
extend up say an inch high, then my boards would not be
Am I doing something wrong or is this what you get with
such a cheap bench? Anyone had this problem? Any
Actually, the round dogholes can be square to the bench
top but the face of the dog should have a 2-4 degree
| / stock on this side - angle shown for direction only
Get things snug and then tap the dogs down a little.
Does your vise jaw have a "lean into it" taper that'll
go to almost vertical when tightened against something?
If the jaw starts out vertical and theres any flex it'll
end up leaning back.
Is the top of the vise jaw at the same height as the
Maybe you might want to look into the Wonder Dog.
Fits 3/4" round doghole and has a jaw on a threaded
rod that gives you about a 3 inch reach.
If you've got an MDF top with a temper board top
surface your dogholes are probably oval along the
axis where the force is being applied. You can
drill out the holes, glue in a larger hardwood dowel
then redrill the dogholes.
Just some suggestions
My bench top is hardwood and the holes do not appear oval
but the shaft of the dog has a fair amount of play in the hole.
The vise top is flush with the bench top and the vise has no
taper or slant.
From what you and Father Haskell are saying it looks like the
bench dog should provide a slope _toward_ the workpiece,
and not away from it. Mine slopes away from it, contacts the
bottom of the board, and thus pushes it up.
How do the dogs on good workbenches work? Are the square
tops of the dogs actually beveled so they slope toward the
workpiece? Or is there such a close fit between the dogs and
the dog holes that the dogs don't slope off vertical?
Let's be kind and call it "classic workbench design". I think some modern
designs are good too.
No the whole dog hole is tilted at something like 2 degrees
Closer... but the bottom line is the final orientation of the baring
surface, however to achieve that.
If I were you, I would try making your oen wooden dogs. Try a just under 3/4
dowel (most 3/4" dowels are probably undersized enough) with a square cap.
Slant the face of the cap a couple degrees.
This is al least a cheap "proof of concept" to see if a combination of more
snug dogs and a canted baring surface solves the problem.... go from there.
To clarify - "square" and "round" usually refers to the
shank shape and the shape of the hole, not the dog head.
On "square" dogs, the "hole" does slope/tilt - on the bench
side it's towards the vise, on the vise side it's towards the
bench. The face of the "square" dog may also slope - towards
the piece being held. On "round" dogs, the hole should be 90
degrees to the bench top.
On "round" dogs, it makes more sense to drill the round
holes 90 degrees to the bench top and angle the head of the
"round" dog. This allows for
- using the round dogholes to hold other fixtures on
the bench via round dowels in the bottom of the
fixture to fit in the round dogholes. Example:
a simple bench hook for hand sawing doesn't work
well with a japanese saw since they cut on the
pull stroke. But if the bench hook has dowels to
fit in the dog holes ...
- turning the head of the round dog do in any direction
in order to clamp non-straight edged parts - like
a round table top or chair seat. The traditional
"square" dog and dogholes don't permit such flexibility.
- reversing the dogs and using them to pull things
- using a traditional hold down - the updise down "J"
kind. Hit it on top to tighten, tap on the back to
Remember, the bench is also a giant clamp. The more
ways it can be used to hold things or pull them apart
Another thing worth noting. Square dogs, once snugged
up against the piece can be tapped down to tighten them
up nicely. Since, unlike round dogs, they're long and
extend below the bottom of their holes, you can hit
them up from the bottom to loosen them quickly, without
having to turn back the vise jaw. Once the piece is
clamped in you can release it quickly, turn it around,
tap one of the square dogs down to tighten and you're
good to go. Round dogs don't usually go through the
bench top so they don't have this option.
A traditional work bench has all kinds of less than
than obvious little refinements which developed
over a long period of time - for a reason. Watch
Frank Klausz's video - "making a dovetailed drawer"
and you'll see his bench get a work out. If you go
with a traditional bench you may build in some
capabilities you may discover the more you use
Anyway, here's a link that shows a "square"
doghole and dog
And here's a link for "accoutrements" you may be making
in the near future.
Gives you more things to worry/think about?
It's ironic that having a traditional workbench when
one first gets into woodworking would make things
so much easier. But at that point one seldom has
the skills to make one.
I like the idea suggested by Stephen M and GJP: make my own dogs out
of dowels and wood blocks so that I can make the face with exactly
the right slope.
I want to thank all of you who have responded to my post. You have given
me some good info to think about.
This is a great newsgroup.
Problem is that the face of the vise and the benchdogs
ARE NOT parallel
Maybe use ROUND benchdogs that fit snuggly to keep them parallel to
the vise face??
On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 23:52:53 -0400, "Zaster Sap"
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.