Bench Dogs with Teeth

Things I've made and what making them taught me

Bench Dogs with Teeth

My workbench has 3/4″ round dog holes for surface clamping with my Veritas Twin Screw end vise.  Most of the time, I use short lengths of store-bought hard wood dowel as dogs.  This approach has been a little frustrating because with no spring to hold the dowels at a particular height before clamping pressure is applied, they’re either too tight or too loose and then often fall through the holes.

To solve the problem of too-loose dowels falling through my bench top, I made these bench dogs with flat caps.  They’re made by gluing and nailing a short length of dowel into a hole in a 3/8″ thick bit of scrap (walnut in this case).  I offset the hole in the tops so I can rotate them around rather than cranking my end vise so much.

To give these dogs teeth, I took a scrap and drilled a 3/16″ hole through it.  I clamped the dog top in my vise and used my brad nailer to drive 1 1/4″ nails through the hole.  This left the heads of the nails proud of the edge of the dog’s top plate.

I use these for clamping irregular rough boards, so the teeth give just a little grip to prevent the non-square ends of a board from sliding around.  It’s important when surface clamping a board for planing that you don’t apply so much force as to bow it upwards.

The clamping pressure this approach provides isn’t huge, and it will chew up the ends of your board a bit, but I’ve found it quite useful for surfacing rough lumber with a router.  I wish had thought of this a bit earlier.

Also worth noting, the heads of the brad nails got bent over pretty quickly under clamping pressure, but they still had the desired effect of keeping the board from moving around.