New workbench- Bench dog holes


WoodNoob
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Hi all,

I've just finished my first workbench (this one: http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/18985/still-dont-have-a-workbench-this-one-is-easy)

I don't have any vises yet, but I'm going to drill some bench dog holes anyway, as I can use them for butting boards up against for planing

But I'm a bit confused as to whether I need to make the holes through holes or not. My senses say no, but I see references to through holes in a lot of places. What are the pros/cons of both?

I figure I can always drill a hole through later if a non-through causes a problem.

For reference my bench top thickness is 54mm or about 2.1 inches and is three layers of MDF glued and screwed.

Also is there any collective wisdom of the placement of the holes?

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WoodNoob,

I'd recommend you drill them in line with where you plan to install vises when you finally do

Also, you may want to pick up a Veritas Wonder Dog to add clamping ability without a vise. Also, the Veritas dogs( are fantastic also.

The Wonder Dog can be found here: http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=31129&cat=1,41637,41645&ap=1

Finally, as for depth, I'd say go through. That will allow you to use standard bench dogs & hold downs.

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But I'm a bit confused as to whether I need to make the holes through holes or not. My senses say no, but I see references to through holes in a lot of places. What are the pros/cons of both?

Go with a through hole. If one of your dogs gets stuck in the hole it is a lot easier to tap it out from the bottom in a through hole than to attempt to get it out from the top. Additionally some tools like holdfasts require a through hole.

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You probably won't be sorry for waiting, but you might make some different decisions when vices are in place.

On the through vs not.. to a great degree that depends on how you will use the bench. Depending on the type of work and width of the bench, clamping can be an issue. As mentioned, holdfasts need through holes and there are also lots of other clamps that do as well. Without them, you end up with work-arounds like cauls or limited to clamping around the edges of the bench.

When I built my bench some years ago now.. the holes were drilled on an angle (not plumb). @ 2 degrees IIRC toward the likely opposing force (for in-line clamping). Purpose being to provide better grip on board since as pressure is added the dogs tend to straighten up a little because the bore is slightly larger than the diameter of the dog and eventually the wood fibers may compress a bit where the dog makes contact after a few hard clampings.

I can't think of any advantages to non-through holes but someone else may offer info on that.

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