Bench Dog Holes

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Andraxia posted 11-04-2009 07:12 PM 8339 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Andraxia's profile


133 posts in 2930 days

11-04-2009 07:12 PM

I am about to go back to a long overdue project and came up with a problem you all might be able to help with.

I need to drill of bore some bench dog holes on my workbench. I was thinking of using a plunge router to get clean tight holds – what do people think?

I ask as I am loath to test bed this on what little scrap I have left of the bench top without first getting advice.


-- The wood slayer - Yes dear I did plan to make more kindling out of that wood I have been drying for the last year - honest!

13 replies so far

View gagewestern's profile


307 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 11-04-2009 07:37 PM


-- gagewestern

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 11-04-2009 07:43 PM

Assuming you’re using a 3/4” dog system this is a fairly substantial hole to route, especially if your bench top is 3” thick. You can do non-through holes, but dust and shavings will accumulate in them if they’re unused.

A pilot hole and a spade bit might be easier, but you’d need a drill guide which would run around another $30 from the typical sources.

A lot of how you do it depends on the capacity of your plunge router base and if you already have the mortising/up-spiral bit that can cut the desired size. If you have the monster bit you’ll probably run into the issue that the tip will be below your base before the plunge. The way around this is to drill a slightly larger hole through a piece of scrap large enough to support your base and be clamped securely. Once you’ve bored a deep enough hole to accomodate the bit you can remove the scrap piece to plunge to full depth. Placement is going to be key or you’ll have loose dogs.

The only other thing you have to worry about is screw/nail placement, depending on how you laminated the top. Consensus seems to be that a drill-bit is cheaper to replace if you hit metal, and a lot safer at the lower speeds of a drill.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 11-04-2009 08:26 PM

I think you got the right idea from the start – use a plunge router with a 3/4” straight bit (standard dog hole size). and use an edge guide to keep the router at a set distance from the edge of the workbench.

the only limitation this might prove is that the plunge router might not be able to go all the way through the workbench (depending on the workbench thickness) – in which case, after you have the holes made as deep as possible with the router- drill them all the way through with a drill and forstner/spade bit – the benefit of starting with the router, is that it creates started holes that are 90 degrees to the workbench surface, and easy to use as guide holes with the drill + spade/forstner bit. make sure you have some backer piece under the workbench so you don’t split the bottom of it – unless you don’t care for the esthetics of the underside of the workbench.

another approach would be to create a drill guide from a block of wood using a drill press or router (to make sure the guide hole is 90 to it’s surface) and use that as a template over the workbench, and just use a drill.

just make sure you maintain the dog holes at 90 to the workbench surface.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#4 posted 11-04-2009 08:33 PM

If you have a forstner bit that will the job fine with out a lot of bother. Just do a test in a scrap of the kind of wood your bench is made of first.

-- Custom furniture

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3239 days

#5 posted 11-04-2009 08:38 PM

I would use a plunge router with a 3/4” straight bit to start the hole, and then move onto the drill. This way, you get clean, deep holes that are perpendicular to the surface.

-- Thuan

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3640 days

#6 posted 11-04-2009 08:45 PM

I’m not sure how well these work, but it sure looks interesting and cheap enough:

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2654 days

#7 posted 11-04-2009 09:07 PM

I did mine by clamping a sacrificial piece of ply to the underside of my bench top, and drilled the holes with 3/4” forstner bits. The backer ply prevents tearout.

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View CaseMan's profile


17 posts in 2547 days

#8 posted 11-04-2009 09:11 PM

Check out the video podcast by Glen Huey over at Popular Woodworking on this. He shows it being done with a router and simple jig. If the top is thicker than 2-1/8, then the dog hole is finished with a standard 3/4 bit.

-- - CaseMan -

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3070 days

#9 posted 11-04-2009 09:15 PM

I have the drillbits Charlie posted a link to – they are GREAT for construction (which is what I use them for) – fast and easy,but they leave horrible exit holes…. not for ‘fine’ woodworking at all.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2902 days

#10 posted 11-05-2009 12:36 AM

Like Jim said, I would use a sharp forstner bit. My only concern would be to be sure the holes are drilled straight otherwise the dogs wont sit straight.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3113 days

#11 posted 11-05-2009 12:40 AM

Do you have shop brought dogs or have you made your own …..

Home made i would use sharp forstner bit …....

shop brought then plunge router them for tight fiting ….......

just my thoughts

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View bench_dogg's profile


63 posts in 2559 days

#12 posted 11-05-2009 06:01 PM

I had this same problem about a week ago. I ended up getting this drill guide and using a forstner bit:

The guide is not bad, but not quite as stable as I would have liked, but helps a good bit in lining up the hole to 90 deg.


View Andraxia's profile


133 posts in 2930 days

#13 posted 11-05-2009 08:19 PM

Thank-you for all the advise.

I am going to step down an old plunge routers speed and make a plywood guide, I will use a fostner bit.

I am lucky my father turns metal and will make me bench dogs to any specification.


-- The wood slayer - Yes dear I did plan to make more kindling out of that wood I have been drying for the last year - honest!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics