Ask WWGOA: Bench Dog Hole Spacing

Question:

I recently built a new workbench with a front vise and a tail vise. I purchased some bench dogs to use with my new bench, but I’m not sure how to space the holes for the bench dogs. I’m reluctant to start drilling holes into my new bench without some advice regarding the appropriate spacing of the holes. Any ideas?

Submitted by mderosby

Answer:

The center-to-center spacing of your bench dog holes should be slightly less than the travel of your vise. That way you’ll be certain that, regardless of the length of the material you’re trying to hold in the dogs, you’ll be able to catch it.

George


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Discussion
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21 Responses to “Ask WWGOA: Bench Dog Hole Spacing”
  1. 569 powell st.
    569 powell st.

    This is good info, thanks. I just bought a maple work bench top that needs mounting & my drill bits don’t even scratch the surface. Is there a recommended bit and blade to use when drilling/cutting maple? Is it better to use lags or through bolts to secure the top to the bench? Thanks.

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team
      WWGOA Team

      Hello, any good quality bit or blade should work fine on maple as long as it is sharp. Brad point bits are better for drilling wood than twist bits, and will leave a much cleaner hole than paddle bits. You will also need a drill and saw with adequate power. Most 110V corded tools will suffice, but don’t attempt this with a 9.6V drill or a typical battery powered saw. Maple is a hard and dense wood so you might want to slow down your RPM of your drill a bit if possible, and back out of the hole frequently to evacuate debris and cool the bit.
      In terms of lags or through bolts to secure the top, either will work. I’d suggest lag screws for this application to avoid having hardware penetrating through the top. There is little tensile strain applied to this hardware during normal bench use so it should hold fine.

      Reply
  2. john glenn
    john glenn

    I have just discovered the jaws on my 4 jaw chuck are not centered causing my work piece to be off center. What do I need to do to correct the jaws?

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team
      WWGOA Team

      I have a few suggestions for you to try:
      – Are the jaws/slots numbered? And if so, ensure that the jaws are all in their correct corresponding slot- If you have multiple sets of jaws, check to see that you have not installed jaws from different sets. – Sometimes the jaws can get off track if they are extended beyond their normal travel path, and when they are retracted they are not even with each other. If it is just one jaw that appears to be off, try removing and replacing that jaw to see if it can be reset in the same position as the others.

      Reply
  3. Luiz
    Luiz

    Hi, good morning, could you show me how this bench lift was made?
    Sorry if my translation is not correct because I’m translating for Google.

    Reply
  4. JP
    JP

    George – Axminster tools in England has a fantastic bench dog drilling system available – a little costly, but it’s brilliant, and it’s guaranteed square the way they do it. Video is on their site

    Reply
      • Craig
        Craig

        Can confirm the brilliance of it! According to a set of expensive calipers, over a length of birch ply 585mm, there was a difference of 0.08mm at either end! Well worth the investment.

        Reply
  5. GORDON
    GORDON

    I’m building a maple countertop for my daughter in law and she wants a 3” back splash made of maple attached to it what would be the best way to fasten them together? Both the countertop and back splash are made from 3/4” maple

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Gordon. You could use one of the following approaches:
      – Glue. With freshly jointed/planed surfaces, you could simply glue the back splash to the countertop.- Glue and screws. You could add some screws, running them up from the bottom of the countertop.- Install the backsplash separately. You could install the backsplash after the countertop is installed, nailing it to the wall and applying a light bead of caulk to seal the seam. This allows you to follow some irregularity in the wall for a perfect fit.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  6. Greg
    Greg

    How far from the front edge of the bench should I drill dog holes? I am going to use a Kreg inline bench dog clamp and round bench dogs since I do not have room to put a tail vice on my bench.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Greg. I would place them so that the outside edge of the dog hole is at least 3″ from the edge.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  7. Andrew
    Andrew

    Do you have plans for a jig/guide that we can use to make evenly spaced holes over the entire surface of our bench top ? Maybe something like a guide that has, let’s say nine 3/4” holes, that you first clamp to the corner of your bench. Next, you drill holes, move the guide, put pegs through guide into previously cut holes, cut more bench holes, move guide, place pins… etc etc. until you’ve covered your bench with evenly spaced dog holes kind of,like,the Festool MFT.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Andrew. We don’t have a plan for such a jig, but it should be pretty easy to build. You could start by taking a piece of 3/4″ plywood and tacking it to a piece of scrap lumber that will be used as your fence. Drill a couple 3/4″ holes as your guides, using a drill press to drill them so that you know they are perfectly perpendicular to the surface of plywood. Then to use, put the fence up against the side of your bench, drill two holes, move the jig so that the first hole through the jig aligns to the second hole that you drilled, slip a 3/4″ dowel through to hold the jig in place, and drill your next hole, etc.
      Thanks
      Paul-Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply
  8. William Babbitt
    William Babbitt

    The bench dog pattern is one issue, another is the angle of the hole to drill. One school promotes a true vertical angle (90-degrees from the benchtop). Another says to drill 2 to 3 degrees off vertical. Which is the best way to drill the holes? If off vertical, which direction from the front of the workbench should the offset be?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      I don’t use bench dogs regularly, and do not have them in my bench, so I might not be the best suited to answer your question. Having said that, I would likely drill them at 90 degrees.

      -Paul
      Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply