Even the best bench vise can’t properly hold every workpiece for every task without a little help. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Even the best bench vise can't properly hold every workpiece for every task without a little help. That's why you need a few accessories to work in conjunction with—or sometimes instead of—a vise. Here are a few of our favorites.

Gramercy holdfasts (pictured above)

no. MS-HOLDFAST.XX, $38.95 per pair
Tools For Working Wood
800-426-4613, toolsforworkingwood.com

These old-school accessories still deserve a place in today's shops for one simple reason: They work well. Made of 34 " steel rod that anchors in bench-dog holes, these Gramercy grabbers secure almost anything—especially workpieces a vise won't hold. A tap or two from a mallet on top secures them, and a sideways tap on the stem frees them.

Veritas planing stop

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934 " stop, no. 05G23.01, $24.50; 1712 " stop, no. 05G23.05, $29.50; 2514 " stop, no. 05G23.07, $34.50
Lee Valley
800-871-8158, leevalley.com

These stops effectively prevent boards or panels from scooching forward while hand-planing. Two posts on each stop anchor solidly in 34 " dog holes. Sold in three sizes, the stops adjust to fit your bench's hole spacing. Posts on the small stop can be spaced up to 9" apart; the middle model up to 1634 ", and the larger up to 2412 ".

Bench Dogs: Best of Show

Pop-up vise dogs

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2-pack, no. 05G10.22, $27.50
Lee Valley
800-871-8158, leevalley.com

These spring-loaded "prairie dog" stops fit into the vise's outer (movable) jaw. When you need them, just press down and they pop up ready to use.

Aluminum bench dogs

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2-pack, no. 163086, $10
Woodcraft
​800-225-1153, woodcraft.com

These lightweight stops hold stock well, and simply slip below the benchtop surface when not in use, so they're always at the ready.

Plastic bench dogs

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4-pack, no. 64256, $10
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware
​800-279-4441, rockler.com

Short of making your own bench dogs, these stops offer the lowest buy-in. They hold workpieces securely, but can get misplaced because they don't self-store by dropping below the benchtop when not in use.