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Man's best friend in the shop: Bench Dogs

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Your first decision: round or square
Flat board with a metal  form in front of it
Enlarge Image
Planing Stops, a type of bench dog,
come in various lengths to provide
firm support along long edges

Your first decision: round or square

WOOD® project designers/builders Kevin Boyle and John Olson differ in their preferences for dogs that require round or square bench holes. Kevin likes dogs with round shanks for their versatility. "You'll find a tremendous variety of dogs and other bench accessories, such as hold-downs, that fit into 3/4" round holes," he says. "I really like Veritas' Planing Stops (shown right, in 9 3/4-25 1/4" lengths) because they provide a wide edge to prevent parts from twisting." Kevin also finds that round holes provide greater flexibility as woodworking needs change. "I can quickly drill more round holes if I need them," he says. "Making new square holes takes a lot of time and effort."

On the other hand, John prefers bench dogs with square shanks. "They can't pivot," he points out, while admitting that attribute can be a detriment when working on pieces with curved edges. "But, I'm almost always working on square workpieces, and I prefer knowing that my dogs won't move at all." He crafts his own bench dogs from medium-hard woods -- such as mahogany, cherry, or walnut -- that will not damage his projects.

Continued on page 2:  To spring or not


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