A dog's life. Bench dogs let you use your vise to hold a workpiece by the edges. 1 and 2: bench dog and "pup"; 3 and 4: screw-clamp dogs; 5: plastic dog; 6: shop-made wooden dog; 7: metal dog; 8: mortised bench dog. (All from Lee Valley except 5, from Sjtibergs, and 6.)
excel at holding your work as solid as a rock—even large or irregular pieces. Two patternmaker's vises still made today are available from Lee Valley ($525) and AMT<$249).
If economy is a major concern, consider making your own vise. By supplying your own wooden vise jaws and doing the assembly yourself, you can equip your bench with a two vises for the cost of one commercial model. Vise kits (see bottom right and center photos, opposite page) are available from many mail-order suppliers for face, shoulder, tail and end vise applications. Each kit supplies all the necessary hardware-steel threads, guide rails, connection plates, etc.—as well as instructions for assembly and installation.
Even with a couple of great vises on your workbench, you still need some means of holding stock firmly to the benchtop for various hand- or power-tool operations. That's where hold-downs come in. Hold-downs are designed to handle workpieces in a wide range of thicknesses and sizes. You can mount them in the top or the side of the bench. And, for many situations, they're quicker and easier to adjust than a clamp or bench vise. (See photos, right.)
Some hold-downs require nothing more than a hole drilled in your bench-
top. Others require support brackets or other hardware in order to work. Price, installation details and holding capacity will be the major factors in choosing the hold-down that's right for you. (See "Bench Hold-Downs/' AW #38.)
Although bench dogs are made in different sizes and different materials, they all perform the same function—working opposite corresponding dogs on your bench vise for clamping stock of various sizes and shapes on the bench.
Square dogs are the traditional choice, but round dogs are just as functional. (See photo, above.) Unlike square dogs, round dogs pivot to make full contact with the workpiece—a plus when you're clamping round or contoured work. In addition, round dogs can Ix? quickly and easily installed in a finished bench by drilling 3/4-jn.-dia. holes. Toothed stops are another handy accessory on any bench. These are mortised into the top and can be adjusted with a thumbscrew to grip the work.
Bench dogs are available in metal or wood. Metal dogs, the kind supplied with most commercial benches, have a slight advantage in weight, strength and stiffness. Still, many woodworkers favor wooden dogs—they're much more forgiving to the stray plane blade.
Traditional hold-down. Forged steel bar adjusts with the tap of a mallet (Garrett Wade).
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