Wednesday, April 13, 2016

DIY Clamping Bench Dogs

What is a bench dog?

A bench dog is an accessory used on a woodworking workbench to allow clamping of wooden items whilst being worked or as a planing stop. Dog in general is something which holds. 

At its most basic a bench dog is simply a peg which is installed in a corresponding dog hole in the top of a bench.

You can buy a commercially built work table that comes with Bench Dogs - but it can be very expensive.  The cheapest one I've seen is sold at Harbor Freight for $160 and to be honest, the quality doesn't look good in person.

And besides, I already have some work tables in my garage which are quite sturdy and cost less than $50 each.

But sometimes I have things I need to work on that are too far from my work tables' edges to allow me to clamp it down with regular bar clamps.  Below is a picture of my Rustic Sconces that I screwed down to my work table in order to route them (In the days before my router table).  Screwing holes through your work piece is not always a good option.

So I came up with a very simple method of clamping your work down involving toggle clamps.

The 2 clamps above cost me $6 each at Harbor Freight.  Next I used some scrap plywood and cut 2 pieces - roughly 8" x 8".

Then I screwed the toggle clamps along one edge, in the center.

Pretty simple, right?

But that's not it.  Last thing to do is drill some holes in each corner.

These holes are for drilling the Bench Dog to your work table.

You can also use clamps on the edge of your worktable - only you'll probably need 2 clamps per Dog, as opposed the the one showing it the picture below.

And that's it!  Put your work piece on the table and press down the toggle clamps.  These things will hold your piece in place as you work on it.

These took about 15 minutes (at most) to make.  I even used it the very same day to hold down a metal table I was working on.  I was removing some very tough grout with a hammer and chisel and the Bench Dogs held it in place just fine!

I then drilled holes and hung the Bench Dogs on the wall near my work table.

Very easy to make, yet infinitely helpful!

Thanks for reading!

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