26 June 2013

Going to the dogs!

These things horrify me...I can thing of nothing worse to hold a bit of wood securely on the bench top...sooner or later, you're bound to run the front of a very expensive plane into the top of them, with much mutterings of "tsk, tsk...look what silly old me has done now" or, in my case, something a little more profound and in the best traditions of Aglo-Saxon verbosity which would make Gordon Ramsey...

...sound like a pussy cat!

However, a couple of years ago,  I went to a woodworking 'doo'... in fact I'm going again next month as it's rather a good event and well worth attending... but I digress.  Whilst there, I happened to notice that there were plenty of round bench dogs which were conveniently 19mm in diameter (a common dowel size) that were kept in place in the said bench 'ole with a simple, if cunning little device...a ball catch.
I thought at the time that this was a stroke of genius and proceeded to make some (above) when I got back to the 'shop.

There is one, ever so slight Spaniard in the soup and that is...they don't work very well.  The bloody things keep on slipping down so there I am,  planing a bit of nice stuff and after a few passes, the front dog drops so that with the next pass of the plane, the timber rockets forward and me with it.


I decided to go back to my original Krenov style wooden ones and made a pair from an oddment of ash and walnut. The construction is pretty straight forward, but takes a little bit of fiddling to get 'just right' in the bench holes.  Essentially, there's a little taper worked at one end which throws the walnut away from the stem and it's kept in that position by a small spring purloined from a biro (another nice JK touch) so that in use...

...the bench dog will stay wherever it's positioned without slippage.  Easy to make and a vast improvement on those hideous metal things!


john said...

I'm just curious, wouldn't it be better to have the leaf spring on the working side of the dog rather than the compressing side of it? It would appear when you tighten your work the spring will be compressed. Perhaps it would stay springy longer if on the other side. John

Woodbloke said...

Never thought about that, but this is one of Jim Krenov's ideas (and appears in one of his books somewhere) but even better...it works and what's good enough for St. Jim is good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Those look great. Picking up on what John said, the more typical approach would be to put the spring on the other side. Krenov made them that way as well, judging from a picture of a few in his book The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking. But hey, if they are working for you, don't mess with success.


Woodbloke said...

Having consulted the relevant JK tome Eric...you're spot on, so apologies for leading the faithful astray! Whichever way it's done, both versions work very well and are easy enough to replace when they get mangled. The main point is that however they're done, they've got to a a 100% improvement on those hideous metal things.