Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cat and Dogs

Well, I was hoping to post pictures of the completed woodstove fence, but I hit a snag. The snag is I haven't completed it yet. Really though, I am close...really.

So, in the meantime, I thought I would do a short post on the dogs that I use with my bench and vise. Gerald agreed to help out, and also suggested the clever title.

This shot shows three variations of my birch bench dogs. The dog in the back is the original design. It has a full length groove with a wooden spring to hold it in place in the dog hole. It works fine, but dust and gunk find their way down the groove and get stuck behind the spring, gumming up the works.

So I altered the design - changing the groove to a stopped groove, which solved that problem nicely. The front two dogs are of this second design.

The dog in the front, with its spring unscrewed, has been altered to function in the dog hole that somehow ended up over the vise hardware. You can see how simple the spring is - just a thin strip of birch, with a taper on the bottom end, screwed into the groove.

Here's another shot showing the spring in place. Notice how nicely the "cut away" dog allows you to see the spring. I planned that. Yeah, forget what I said about having to alter the dog to work around a mistake on my bench. That's my custom "demonstration" dog.

I also replaced the metal vise dogs with wooden dogs. They are much more forgiving on the occasional edged tool that wanders too close.

Here's the vise dog out of his hole. Just a piece of birch, sized to the hole, drilled and fitted with a threaded insert. I was careful to arrange things so that the thumb screw pushes the insert into the dog when things tighten up. It's a little beat up, including a split in the bottom, but it is still functioning fine after years of hard work. Good dog!


  1. Has Gerald ever considered a career in modeling? He has that "Blue Steel" look down pat.

  2. Kari - We did think about it, but gave up when it seemed he could only do it to the left...

  3. Dan- I am still working on my first bench. Just wondering what is the dimensions of the dog?

  4. David - The dog holes are 1" square. The dogs are 6" long, 1" wide (in the direction of the vise movement) and about 7/8" thick. That last dimension was the result of playing with the clearance needed for the spring. In theory, the dog could be 1" think and the spring would be forced completely into its groove when in the 1" hole. But I was worried about over stressing the wooden spring, and also didn't need, or want the dog to be that tight in the hole front to back. But, now that I use the dogs in a bench hook fashion when sawing, I'd like less play in that direction. I suppose I could redesign it one more time, with a deeper groove and a tighter fit...hmmm...


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