Release the hounds!
All of my previous benches have had 2 (square) bench dogs - one in the tail vice and one in the main part of the bench. During the Shaker bench restoration, I had been in pretty close contact with Jameel and one of the questions he asked was if I was going to put a dog in each hole. I was really surprised by the question, but after talking about it for a while, he convinced me to have at least several dogs in various spots on the bench.
Because I had only ever had 2 dogs per bench, I always made them individually. In this case, I tried something new. Well... I am not sure if it is new - but it was new to me, and I thought it might be worth sharing a simple way to make a lot of dogs in one swoop.
I started with a few offcuts from the bench build and essentially made two, 4" wide dogs and then ripped individual dogs off that glued up uber-dog. Here is a quick series of photos to show how it went.
The 1/4" shoulder at the top of the dog was cut on the table saw using a cross-cut sled. The “spring” was ripped on the bandsaw. Remember to factor in the 1/8" thickness of the spring when calculating the overall width of the dog. You will end up ripping the spring twice in order to end up with an 1/8" thick spring (it is initially 1/4" with the first cut).
I planed off the bandsaw marks and planed both sides of the spring.
This photo shows how I planed the angle at the bottom of the dog. I used a longer plane and registered the sole of the plane on the top of the dog and planed the end until I had about a 1" area for gluing the spring. The arrow shows where the plane is resting.
A few spring clamps to hold it all together.
Once the glue has dried, plane the edges flat and square and proceed to the bandsaw to rip the individual dogs. Rip the dogs slowly - the spring is quite thin, and if you try to rush it, you could get tear-out on the backside of the spring. I cut them slightly wider than I needed so I could sneak up on the fit with a plane.
Here are the 4 dogs from the first batch. (the 1/2 dog in the middle was waste). A few plane passes on each edge and they were fitting perfectly. If the spring is a little too stiff and the dogs are hard to get in and out, use the same process for creating the angled glue area and remove some of the material where the spring starts to bend. A few passes can make a big difference to how easily the dog fits.