I am taking a short break from editing video I shot recorded during the Woodworking in America hand tool conference. It is time to make some wooden bench dogs for the large Sjöbergs bench.
Why? The bench came with two metal dogs. As a result, I fear I might hit the cutting edge on a chisel, or the iron on a hand plane, on one of the dogs. This became obvious as I started complimenting my power tool work with hand tools. At least one of the hand planes has already kissed one of the dogs…
With time I noticed it got old pulling out one of the dogs when I changed to a longer (or shorter) workpiece, moving it to a new location, and resuming work. The bench is designed such that the dogs can be buried completely out of the way. As I needed (wanted, really) several in a hurry, I could not wait for the mail.
Solution: Make them.
An explanation is necessary at this point: I normally don’t like to make things so that I can then start making things. That is the reason I never built my own workbench. But, in this case, it represented a nice change from hours of editing and rendering video.
Here is the final product (click on the images to enlarge them):
And the reason I wanted to have more dogs on (or in???) the bench, being able to bury them out of the way – an instantaneous disappearing act. Also, note the slight face angle off the perpendicular, which helps hold down the workpiece on the surface of the bench:
How I made them:
- I used red oak, milled to the same thickness as the stock bench dog, traced out the outline, and cut on the band saw close to the line.
- Then I used the belt sander to sand all surfaces smooth, and to the outline.
- Next I create a bevel near the bottom on the inside face – this can be done quickly with the belt sander. I varied this angle from about 4° to 7°, and all dogs worked fine. Your workbench may require other angles.
- I finally glued up the body to a “spring” piece 1/8″ to 3/16″ thick – if much thicker than that, the dogs may not fit properly in the hole, or may be difficult to insert and remove in the dog hole. About 1-1/2″ to 2″ of long-grain to long-grain glued surface works great, without the need for any fasteners:
Cut the grooves on the face using the band saw – make sure to keep your fingers well out of the way. I used a large spring clamp and a 1/8-inch blade:
I also tried two different patterns on the faces – I have no idea if these differences will give me different results holding the work piece:
Refine the shape on the belt sander:
Now I was finally ready to use the new bench dogs – excuse me while I plane this board – with apologies to The Village Carpenter, as I did not have the roses, or the wine to do this little job:
THAT is all there is to it! I made three bench dogs in about 45 minutes – no ordering on the phone or on the Internet, and best of all, ready-to-use in a short time.