Wooden Bench Dogs Workshop Projects

Like many others, my workbench has a row of square holes down one side that evenly spaced, and work with the wagon vise to clamp boards or other work pieces down to the bench. Bench dogs fit into these holes and are usually spring loaded to keep them in place. It’s handy to have more than one, to act as stops to support stock for certain operations.
Originally, I had a total of three that I made soon after completing the bench, but lost one in the move to my new shop. Since I wanted to make removable plugs for the open dog holes and refinish the bench top, I thought it would be a good opportunity to make a new one.

The first step was to cut a piece of hard maple to the right thickness. The holes in my bench are 1″ x 1″, so I cut the stock to just under that so that it would slip into the holes easily:

Next, I cut a thin strip from the offcut to be the wooden spring:

The ends of the plugs and bench dog need to be cut at a 5 degree angle, since the holes slope forward in the bench by that amount. Easy to do this on the miter saw:

I marked the cut lines on the new one by copying the old one and cut it out on the band saw. There are two important things to watch for when laying this out: first, the spring should project past the width of the dog, so that it will press against the side of the hole to keep the dog in place. Second, the spring needs enough space behind it to flex properly. Ideally, less than half of the total length of the spring should be glued to the dog, with the rest free to flex:

Since there will be significant pressure on this glue joint, it’s a good idea to leave it to set overnight before using the dog.

The new one on the left and the old one on the right:

I made these pretty short, since my bench top is only 2-1/2″ thick. They can be made from any hardwood, but maple is a great choice.

Ready to use. I also made plugs that use a simple method to keep them from falling through the holes, and there’s more detail on that in the video below:

In this video I make the bench dog, make the plugs for the remaining holes and refinishing the top of the bench: