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  • T-Track versus Bench Dogs

    I'm presently building a new workbench. The top is constructed of four layers of 3/4" thick MDF. I have attached a vise to the front edge and am at the point of drilling a series of holes for bench dogs to use with the vise. I am wondering if T-Track could be used in place of bench dogs. I have used T-Track in dozens of other applications, but never incorporated it into a workbench. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

    Mechanically, I would think that bench dogs would offer significantly more strength than T-track. T-track (in my mind anway), is great for applications where you might want to lightly clamps an object such as feather boards, limiting stop blocks (as in router table, drill press, cross-cut saw operations), etc.

    With bench dogs, you're looking at some real holding power, most always with a significant amount of pressure from a vise of some sort. I would think that you could literally tear out a T-track with enough pressure from a vise. Likewise bench dogs/vise is often used to hold a project for chiseling. Repeated blows would subject the T-track to similar stresses.

    T-track is screwed into the surface every eight inches or so (not near my shop at the moment, so can't measure), using flat head screws that are not particularly long. If you mounted the T-track into your MDF top, I think you'd only amplify the problem as there really isn't a lot of integrity to MDF.

    My opinion anyway... I hope it is helpful,

    CWS

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    • #3
      Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

      You brought up some very good points. My other T-Track applications aren't getting much stress, which I forgot to factor in. I was thinking more along the lines of clamp downs for cabinet faces, and not so much about what I might do with a hammer in hand. I'll go with the bench dogs, but I might still incorporate some T-Track elsewhere on the bench top. Thanks for your help.

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      • #4
        Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

        Do some of both!

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        • #5
          Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

          they are both designed for different applications... each is designed with a different excerted force applied to it:

          Bench dogs are design to sustain perpendicular force (~90 to the benchdog surface) - it is inserted through the entire thickness of the workbench, and at that has a tremendous amount of pressure it can take in that direction.

          T-Track is (almost) surface mounted. and is mainly designed to sustain clamping pressure against itself (parallel), such tension will not cause any tension between the T-Track and it's host surface (work surface track is screwed/glued to) which will work great for it, with no long term fatigue issues.

          you could use T-tracks for "benchdogs" but if you have the option to choose either - for hand planing action, and the likes - use bench dogs, for holdfast applications - you can use t-tracks. if you could - go for both? I personally would go for benchdogs as they are more versatile on the workbench surface. and T-tracks for other things.

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          • #6
            Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

            CWS touched on the integrity factor of MDF. You may find that with moderate clamping pressure and if you plan on doing any hand planing or chiseling the dog holes may start to oval. If this happens you may want to consider inlaying a strip of Maple of other hardwood for the dog holes

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            • #7
              Re: T-Track versus Bench Dogs

              Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
              CWS touched on the integrity factor of MDF. You may find that with moderate clamping pressure and if you plan on doing any hand planing or chiseling the dog holes may start to oval. If this happens you may want to consider inlaying a strip of Maple of other hardwood for the dog holes
              Thanks. I'll keep the maple inlay idea in mind should the dog holes start to show wear. Although I'm building a workbench, it will be used more for project assembly and sanding than hand planing or mortising. I'm basing this on my prior use of my original workbench and style of woodworking I do. With that in mind, I'll incorporate both bench dogs and T-Track.

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