Boring Dog holes through Nail infested Maple?

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Forum topic by Logan posted 01-29-2014 05:09 PM 1106 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Logan's profile


15 posts in 1654 days

01-29-2014 05:09 PM

Hi Guys – First time poster, long time creeper. Finally have room and a bit of time, so I am starting on my workbench. About 10 years ago, I was doing a lot of woodworking with power tools, but never hand tools. Recently, however, I have started down the slippery hand tool slope, and discovered that a bench was probably the most important tool of all.

So begins my adventure to build a roubo bench.

I picked up some reclaimed bowling ally off craigslist, at what I think is a great price. I did not realize until I went to look at it that the Maple sections were nailed together, every few inches (a 40” wide 8’ section, 2.6” thick). There is probably hundreds of 4” twisted nails through out the whole section. I do understand that in order to do this correctly, I should go through and pull all nails, and glue everything together, and that would eliminate all of my problems. Unfortunately, I am under a bit of a time constraint…Wife and I’s first baby is due in July, and the requirement for me to build a bench and buy a new table saw (hereby taking over my 1/2 of the garage) was that I finish a crib for baby. So unfortunately, I do not really have the time to go back and pull ALL of the nails.

Here is what I have completed so far: As I said, these sections are nailed together, and I can find no glue residue what so ever. Because they are nailed, the rigidity on the 40” width (which will be about 36” final dimension) is very poor – the weight causes it to flex very badly. To remedy this, what I have done is run a dado about 20” from each end that spans the whole width. I have then counter sunk 1.5” washers and a nut on each end of a 1/2” all thread rod running through the dado . Everything stiffened up very nicely.

My plan now, is to use a router leveling jig to flatten and level the bottom side, and laminate on at least 1, 3/4” plywood layer – possibly 2. After those are laminated on, everything will be flipped over and then I will skim the top surface with the router again to make sure it is nice and flat. Then it will be on to the base.

WHEW – After that book, I finally get to my question. While cutting the Dado’s (circular saw + Chisel) and boring the counter sunk holes for the washer/nut, a thought dawned on me. How the heck am I going to bore 3/4” dog holes through this maple, and how am I going to get past a nail if (when) I hit one? Does anyone have any advise on this? I was planning on boring holes spaced every 8” or so, but I am re-considering only doing dog holes along the front edge to work with the wagon vice. Thoughts? I will post pictures of my current progress later tonight!

5 replies so far

View theoldfart's profile


9699 posts in 2448 days

#1 posted 01-29-2014 05:23 PM

Try Wood Owl auger bits, look here and here should cut the nails as they bore.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#2 posted 01-29-2014 05:25 PM

I use bowling alley for my workbench as well, what I did was remove several of those laminations – took out the nails from those (left the majority of the rest as is), reglued the edge laminations not before I bored the dog holes in them using a drill press and a worry free operation.

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1932 days

#3 posted 01-29-2014 05:33 PM

Decent hole saws, like from milwaukee will eat through those nails. They won’t like it, but they’ll do it. I’ve watched people bore through stainless with those. Just use a corded drill and hold on tight. The hole saw will likely want to “bite” onto the nail, so you might have to sort of finesse it. That is my advice for someone who sounds like they are in a hurry and need the easiest and more importantly fastest way to do it.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Logan's profile


15 posts in 1654 days

#4 posted 01-29-2014 06:23 PM

Thanks Guys – I actually submitted this a few days ago, but because of my first post its taken a while to be approved.

Over the last few days, ive been contemplating this, and think I have settled on a hybrid of what Purplev suggested, and what theoldfart said. According to the drawings i sketched up, I’ve settled on the wagon vise holes being 4” from the edge, so I could work 8” wide boards. With a 8/4 skirt, that means im only puling nails from maybe 3 rows of lamination’s – not terrible at all.

After the row of wagon vise dog holes, I will only need maybe 6 dog holes for holdfasts, and im really liking the look of those wood owl’s!

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 01-29-2014 06:26 PM

that’s pretty much what I did on my workbench. a little work intensive phase to clear those nails, but less to worry about later on.

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

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