Tips & Tricks Issue 88: Dog Hole Cleaner

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This article is from Issue 88 of Woodcraft Magazine.

I was having trouble sliding my 3/4"-diameter metal bench dogs in some of my workbench dog holes. Upon closer examination, I found that a couple of the problematic holes were a hair undersized, and a few were contaminated with glue or paint drips. I tried cleaning up the holes with an undersized dowel wrapped in sandpaper, but with little effect. It seemed to me that I needed a reamer of some sort. An online investigation uncovered a 3/4"-diameter spiral flute “chucking reamer” for about $28. With its 7"-long shaft and 3"-long HSS cutter, it did a great job of reaching into deep dog holes and quickly shaving their sides to precise diameter. 

The only problem was the bit’s 5/8"-diameter shank, which wouldn’t fit in a standard drill chuck. My solution was to make a 3/4 × 1-3/4 × 4" wooden handle with a 5/8"-diameter hole for the shank. To lock the handle in place, I tapped it to accept a 1/4-20 × 1" machine screw. To use the tool, insert it from the underside of a dog hole, attach the handle, then pull upward while slowly twisting clockwise to slice through the choke points. 

—Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk, senior editor

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