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How do I drill straight dog holes?

Q:

I drilled 34 " holes for bench dogs in my workbench that, unfortunately, aren’t spot-on perpendicular to the top. As a result, my shopmade dogs—made with 34 " dowels—don’t sit flat [Photo above]. How can I fix this?
—Manny Rivera, Austin, Texas

A:

That’s tricky, Manny, because redrilling the holes to correct the angle might help the bench dogs sit flat, but could create a sloppy fit. Try this before plugging the holes and drilling new ones, or starting over with a new top.

Send your woodworking questions to askwood@woodmagazine.comFirst, you’ll need to make a jig from scrap MDF or plywood, long enough to reach from the edge of your workbench to the holes. At your drill press, bore a 1" hole in the jig to ensure it’s perpendicular to the face. Install a 34 " guide bushing and 12 " straight or spiral bit in your plunge router. Center the jig’s hole over a dog hole [Photo B] and clamp it in place. Then, slip the router’s guide bushing into the jig hole, and plunge the bit in 14 " increments as you rout around the hole [Photo C]. You’ll likely rout away so little material that the dogs will still fit snugly and finally rest flat on the surface.

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