Greetings Earthly Dwellers,
This project is inspired by Veritas Prairie Dogs, these are pop up brass workbench dogs. They are too expensive for me, so I tried to come up with ways to make my own version. I recalled when I was 14ish there was a door that was magnetic and clicked open and close with a spring latch. The motion is exactly like that of the Veritas Prairie Dogs. I decided to search for a more powerful version of this "clicking system."
For $2 I found a single push latch at my local big box store, it was located in the drawer/cabinet hardware section. I am going to show you how to make a pop up bench dog system with a latch, a piece of dowel, and some spacers. You can click the link to see the video of me doing this project.
Step 1: Prepare Your Bench Top
A dowel of any size can be used depending on functional choices. I recommend 1/2" or bigger diameter for most woodworking applications. Drill a dog hole in your bench top, enlarge the hole with a file and a smaller dowel wrapped in sand paper. The fit should be tight, there should be <0.5 mm of wiggle room. If it is too loose it may damage your dog hole over time.
Step 2: Locate the Latch Under the Bench Dog Hole
Find a place to attach your latch. I added spacers to align the latch with the bench dog hole. See the video for a demo of how I did the alignment. If the latch is too high the pop up latch system won't engage properly. If it is too low then you'd need a longer dowel. *TIP if you made your bench dogs the same size then when you take them out you don't have to worry about which dog goes in which hole.
Step 3: Tips to Make Your Pop Up Bench Dogs Super Easy and Efficient
1. Build a model system to determine how and where to place the latch.
2. Add ~2 degree cut onto your bench dog; such that when you put force on the pop up bench dogs they have some "bite" to them.
Enjoy the project, check out the video if you want more detail.