Drilling dog holes

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Forum topic by spclPatrolGroup posted 08-23-2014 02:31 AM 3744 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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233 posts in 3072 days

08-23-2014 02:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill-driver

I am at the point in my bench build I have to contemplate how I am going to drill the dog holes, I plan on using 3/4” round dogs. I am not confident in my ability to drill a straight hole in 4” thick material, I’ve just finished drilling 3/4” holes to pin the stretchers in the legs and the results weren’t as good as I would have liked, I used this bit linked below which pulls itself through quite fast and its hard to control because once it gets going it goes fast. I am wondering if there isn’t another way to get more control, or a jig I could make, or a different bit that would make things easier. I also wonder if using a brace with an auger wouldn’t slow things down to where could concentrate on keeping things perpendicular. Your thoughts?

28 replies so far

View Mosquito's profile


9500 posts in 2470 days

#1 posted 08-23-2014 02:42 AM

I don’t like those bits for anything I care about. They work, yes, but they go quite fast, and then you have to worry about blowout on the exit side (with the dog holes).

I just used a standard 3/4” spade bit for mine, and a drilling jig from Rockler It worked alright for me, in my 3” thick top, but I’m not sure if there’s enough depth to get the drill bit off the wood while having the base still on the bench top, though.

Bit and brace would certainly work too, if you’re willing to spend the time, that is lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Rayne's profile


1091 posts in 1717 days

#2 posted 08-23-2014 02:45 AM

I’ll save you some headache…I’m at the exact point you are and tried various methods as well. Don’t use the Speedbor bits until you have a hammer drill and even then, keeping it straight is quite difficult. You could drill some pilot holes that could force the Speedbor’s to drive in straight, but I don’t have a hammer drill, so I’m not so sure on that. What I’m about to do, after a few successful tests, is use the Harbor Freight drill guide, make a template, screw in the guide in the template so I can clamp it down into the bench, use a standard 3/4” Spade Bit, and drive it through. If you want accurate spacing, I suggest in your template, drill a hole equal distance to your next hole, so after you drill your first, you can use an existing Bench Dog, to plug in the new hole and align the template to your next location and so forth. You can also use a Forstner bit, but the Spade bit gave me the same clean hole at a faster pace. I hope that helps out as that’s my next venture tomorrow after I secure my drawer box frame to the bench.

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233 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 08-23-2014 03:08 AM

Good advice thanks guys, I think I will try a spade bit and some sort of guide, Rayne please report back your results. I thought a bout a forstner bit but the ones I have are not long enough. I think clamping a backer board should prevent tearout.

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


10117 posts in 2629 days

#4 posted 08-23-2014 03:09 AM

My bench will also use 3/4” holes. I made jig to work with a 14” brace and a Jennings pattern bit. Same idea as Rayne’s, one hole to guide and a second hole with a 3/4” dowel to make uniform spacing as well as fence to keep the edge spacing correct.

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

View Rayne's profile


1091 posts in 1717 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 03:23 AM

Sure, I’ll post some pics of the before and after.

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233 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 08-23-2014 03:30 AM

I’m copying that jig

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3148 days

#7 posted 08-23-2014 03:34 AM

Please don’t waste your time on those drill guides that you chuck into a hand held drill.
They are useless. I’d give you mine for the shipping costs if I could find where I pitched it.
I can freehand a more accurate hole. In all honesty, they might work for small holes, but not a 3/4” hole.

Colt used to make a drill bit they called a double land, brad point bit in a 3/4” size.
That bit was perfect for using with a guide like theoldfart just described.
Don’t think he mentioned it, but you need to drill the holes in the guide block on a drill press.
Using a drill press to make the guide holes you can use a forstner bit.
That’s how I finished up making my dog holes.

I don’t think Colt still sells that double land bit; at least Woodcraft quit selling them, and I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else.
A ship auger bit would be my next choice.

Another way to go about this is to chuck up a 3/4” end mill in a plunge router. Plunge a starter hole as deep as the stroke of the router, then finish with a hand held drill with an auger. The plunged starter hole acts as your guide. Go slow, and when the screw point comes through the bottom of the bench stop and back it out. Then finish by drilling from the bottom up. That avoids blowout.

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10117 posts in 2629 days

#8 posted 08-23-2014 10:49 AM

This is a bit that the Schwartz recommends

and for the record Mike, i bored this holes freehand!

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2112 days

#9 posted 08-23-2014 12:36 PM

I bored mine freehand and it was just short of a disaster. I like crank’s idea of using a plunge router then finishing with a drill. This is the reason I am going to use rectangular holes on the next bench. Good luck, I hope you find a good way to do it

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2671 days

#10 posted 08-23-2014 02:07 PM

I used a plunge router with a 1” bushing. I cut the first hole with a 1/2” spiral bit because I didn’t have one in 3/4”. Then I went back and re cut them with a 3/4” fluted bit. It didn’t go quite all the ay through the bench top, but I was able to finish it up with a auger bit in a hand held drill, the existing hole guided it the final 3/8” or so. A bit of work, but I got perpendicular holes.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 1908 days

#11 posted 08-23-2014 02:27 PM

I can say I used that Irwin bit you linked on my 2×4 benchtop, and had nothing but trouble. This was with both a manual brace, and an electric drill driver. It split out on top, and on the bottom. I tried sharpening it, but it didn’t cut the fibers so much as tear them out of the way. It’s probably a combination of my lack of auger bit sharpening skills, the soft wood I was drilling into, and the bit itself.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on ebay for a better auger bit set, but haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. Hopefully something here from this thread will help us both.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15659 posts in 2796 days

#12 posted 08-23-2014 02:40 PM

I think you’re overthinking this…

Almost four years ago I drilled a row of dog holes across the top of my bench with a Forstner bit and an el-cheapo B&D cordless.

Held a piece of scrap underneath to offset some of the blow-out, have had no issues with the holes failing to accept Veritas dogs or steel dogs or hold-downs because they may not be perfectly straight. Everyone wants perfection, that’s admirable, but these are dog holes. It’ll be fine.

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

View shampeon's profile


1860 posts in 2361 days

#13 posted 08-23-2014 05:02 PM

I used an old Irwin brace bit for my dog holes, but used one of the large SpeedBor bits to drill the holes for my leg vise screw, using a 12” brace, and it was easy and smooth. No blow out, since I reversed it once the screw tip went through (I do that for any hole I’m boring with a brace, if I can).

Here’s the jig I made for my dog holes.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 2133 days

#14 posted 08-23-2014 06:22 PM

Ian that brace bit is freaking gorgeous! I’m liking all the suggestions above.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3176 days

#15 posted 08-23-2014 07:13 PM

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