Metalworking Woodworking Workshop
DIY Pop-Up Bench Dogs!


Bench dogs. Bench cookies. It may sound like we’re eating at a summer cookout but these terms refer to two common workbench accessories. If you’ve ever noticed strategically-placed square holes around a woodworking or other workbench, those are called dog holes and they are designed to accept “bench dogs,” wooden, metal, or plastic pieces, designed to quickly and temporarily hold down work pieces, for sanding, routing, finishing, etc. “Bench cookies” are (usually) little, round, non-slip disks also designed to raise work off of the bench, usually for finishing or any other situations where raising the work is helpful.

In the above video, Carlos of Cactus! Workshop uses the spring mechanism in a ball point pen to create a series of small metal bench dogs that are flush with the surface of the table and pop up when you press on them. Pretty cool experiment.

The pop-up versions are a riff on an earlier project where he’d made reversible bench dogs where one side can has a flat edge, one side a rounded edge, and the dog can also be twisted to drop it down into the hole and be flush with with the workbench surface. He explains:

Here is how I made some dogs that can also be flush with the work surface. I only have a workbench and I don’t want to lose parts through the dog holes so I came up with this simple solution that works for all situations.

I made some of them to test the concept for planing wood, but I will use them as well with metal pieces or whatever comes down the road. You can always make them out of wooden dowels too. And I used the lathe because my hacksaw cuts less than a butter knife.

Since these are small and cylindrical, besides using them as bench dogs, you could also potentially use them as cookies for applications for light applications like staining.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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