We received this note from plane maker, BBQist, and speed skiing expert Brian Buckner a few days ago. We remember seeing this is Landis' "The Workbench Book" (now almost 30 years old!). Handy little buggers, and looks like they work great with our Tail Vise. One addition we'd suggest to the design. Lengthen the width of the jaws between the dowels for holding narrow stuff. You'll get the functionality of an open-front, moving-block tail vise, without any of the disadvantages.
I wanted to share with you the recent additions I've added to my Shaker bench (outfitted with your leg and wagon vises) that I built based loosely on the one that Ron Brese built and Benchcrafted published plans for. These additions are called "Bench Puppies" or "Edge Dogs" depending on the source. I built mine based on a recent article in Fine Woodworking that was written by a student of James Krenov. It seems that these holding devices are popular at Krenov's College of the Redwoods school. Also, these devices are mentioned in Scott Landis' "The Workbench Book" (pages 108 & 109). He even shows some "store bought" versions (but I've never seen any myself).
In short these simple devices are fantastic! They hold items very securely and really broaden the holding capacity and versatility of my bench's wagon vise. Certainly well worth the meager time and materials required to build them. I used scrap and about an hour of time building mine.
The FWW article presents and discusses them in the context of a bench equipped with a traditional tail vise. Since the wagon vise is a close cousin of the tail vise (but much better in my opinion) I thought I've give them a try. I was at first a bit curious if they would work in a wagon vise since they would have to span and ride along the fixed benchtop front laminate. I was a little concerned that they might be prone to binding. In use this has not been the case.
A couple other concerns I had included the suitability of using a round peg in my square dog holes. I had considered making a special square dog that would have a round hole for the device's "peg". I'm glad I didn't waste my time pursuing this as the "round peg in the square hole" seems to work just fine. I was careful to turn the dowels to a close fit for the bench dog holes since a smaller peg would just introduce "slop" and might cause some problems. I was also wondering if the 2 degree forward lean that is built into each of the existing dog holes would have a negative impact. I was pleased to find that it does not appear to affect the functionality of these devices in any way.
I followed the basic construction techniques shown in the FWW article but digressed in a few places. Rather than glue the heel block on and then fit the peg as the article shows I chose to reverse the steps. I first fit the peg into the body of the device then placed that assembly into the dog hole of my bench. This allowed me to then ensure that the clamping face of the block was perfectly perpendicular to the front laminate. I clamped the body in place and then glued and clamped the heel in place. I've been wondering if it might be advantageous to cant the clamping face a degree or two out of perpendicular (leaning inward towards the front laminate) as this might increase the holding power of these devices even more.