Dog hole size/ spacing

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Forum topic by Philip posted 09-16-2012 06:44 PM 13900 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1277 posts in 2539 days

09-16-2012 06:44 PM

I am building the top for my bench, and can not seem to decide on the holes for bench dogs. 3/4 inch or 1 inch holes? I like the festool add ons and would like to use my bench top as a clamping/ holding surface… Is there any reason I should use 3/4 holes vs 1” holes? 3/4 seems kind of small. I also plan on spacing there fairly close and on the entire surface. Any thoughts?

-- I never finish anyth

19 replies so far

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2111 days

#1 posted 09-16-2012 06:56 PM

I used 3/4” holes on 6” spacing. I went with the 3/4” because I could get brass or plastic (Rockler) dogs, or I could use /34” dowel that I have to make my own.

I have no experience with Festool other than to know they are expensive.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2914 days

#2 posted 09-16-2012 07:01 PM

3/4 is far from small and seems to be the most common used, AFAIK.

Spacing is usually dictated by your use of hold-downs and clamps, with them reaching maybe 1/3rd the way between holes(this is NOT a rule). Too many holes and your bench can look like Swiss Cheese and be a pain to use. One school of thought is to drill the minimum amount of dog holes to begin with, THEN add dog holes AS YOU NEED THEM. I think mine are spaced at ~12in intervals. FWIW, I love my Veritas dogs and surface clamps.:

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2577 days

#3 posted 09-17-2012 04:13 AM

I used 3/4’ holes and put them only in front of the face vise.
No complaints. 3/4” holes will work fine.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 09-17-2012 05:51 AM

I’m not sure why you’d want to use anything other than 3/4”. Most of the commercial bench accessories are made to fit this size. Veritas hold down and wonder dogs are two good examples of why you want to stay with 3/4” IMO.

-- John, BC, Canada

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2370 days

#5 posted 09-17-2012 12:20 PM

I used 3/4” holes as well. I have a twinscrew tail vise with two dog holes in it; I drilled my bench with two rows of dog holes (in line with the end vise) spaced about every 4” the length of the bench. This way I don’t have to spend much time running the vise in and out when I need to use the holes. I also drilled a few more holes about 18” spacing down the center of the bench. So far I’ve had a hole wherever I’ve needed one. Have not had any problems with too many holes.

3/4” fits the Gramercy holdfasts (excellent), Veritas holdfast (very nice), as well as most common round dogs and the Veritas surface clamps pictured above (very nice also). I’m not sure I ran across many 1” work holding devices.

Having said all that, I find I do most of my planing with stops, instead of clamping with the end vise and the dogs. I primarily use the dog holes with the holdfasts, so I probably could have gotten away with fewer holes. But, I figured while I was drilling, why not. I still don’t see much of a downside to having ample dog holes.

-- John

View StumpyNubs's profile


7592 posts in 2800 days

#6 posted 09-17-2012 12:52 PM

I think it depends on how big your dog is. I have an Australian Shepherd that would require a much bigger hole than the mini-beagle I also have. Personally I think it’s better to just keep them off the bench than to worry about it.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 09-17-2012 01:48 PM

LOL. Funny, Stumpy. I have an ex-racing greyhound. He pretty much just speeds right over the holes.

-- jay,

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2539 days

#8 posted 09-17-2012 05:10 PM

Good advice… Too funny.

-- I never finish anyth

View BigMig's profile


439 posts in 2613 days

#9 posted 09-17-2012 05:16 PM

Dog hole spacing can also be dictated by the “run” of your vise. If the vice opens 11 inches, then you don’t need to have holes every 4 inches…9 or 10 would be sufficient.

Likewise – with a smaller vise with a 7 inch throw you might space the holes 6 inches apart.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2776 days

#10 posted 09-17-2012 05:23 PM

Not to steal this thread, but I think this may be pertinent. I have heard that it is better to make the holes using a jig and plinge router….anybody know who makes the router bit and which method is better?

-- Mike

View bandit571's profile (online now)


20013 posts in 2683 days

#11 posted 09-17-2012 05:27 PM

Just a drill bit and a….

And I’ll make my own square doggies, thank you very much….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2370 days

#12 posted 09-18-2012 12:05 PM

I used a HSS 3/4” router bit from MCLS for my bench; it wasn’t too expensive. Used the router to get the holes positioned and started (very quick). I then finished the holes with an auger type bit from Irwin (I believe). One problem I ran into was that, although they were all 3/4”, they were not actually all the exactly the same diameter. Specifics in my workbench blog if you’re interested.

I agree that you can space the holes based on end vise travel, I spaced then more closely than I had to to minimize the amount of time I spent running the vise in and out (not an issue if you have a quick release vise though). I figured the extra 10 minutes I spent boring holes during the build would be more than paid back over time.

Square is a very nice way to go; quite a few advantages, but harder to make the holes after the bench is built.

-- John

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2539 days

#13 posted 09-27-2012 08:49 PM

Good advice. vice, vise…my workbench is not going to be amazing hard maple that is 4” thick with square dog holes…we can save that bench for later perhaps.

My thought is that I will use it to clamp boards using wedges, those strange cam clamps, as a steam bending table, marquetry press, etc…it may look like cheese with a lot of holes when I’m done with it but we will see if the versatility I get out of it is worth it in the end…

-- I never finish anyth

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#14 posted 09-27-2012 08:52 PM

I went with about 6” spacing and I wish I’d gone closer. I use
3/4” holes and Veritas round dogs and flush clamps. I don’t have a
tail vise, though I had one installed for awhile.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15353 posts in 2618 days

#15 posted 09-27-2012 08:57 PM

I used a brace and bit for some 3/4” holes, and a spade bit in the cordless for others. All got a routered cove cut along the top inside edge of each hole to prevent splitting. Spacing of the ‘line’ of dog holes no more than 4” to 6” unless you like messing with your end vise to make it travel. The rule of thumb I heard is just more that half the travel of your vise dog.

Either way, ditto that too many holes just ain’t right in a benchtop. :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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