Vacuum Hold Down

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Project by woody57 posted 04-22-2010 06:47 PM 5743 views 24 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love simple and cheap. This is it. All you need is some scrap plywood or mdf and a few feet of foam rubber weather stripping with an adhesive backing. Just bore a hole for your shop vac. , peel and stick the weather stripping. I mounted the board on a scrap piece of 2×4 so I could clamp it in my vise.

I also included pictures of a profile hold down. I used this to rout the profile on the ends for this shelf unit in the picture. I rough cut the profile on the band saw, then put it in the vacuum hold down and routed the final profile with a flush cutting bit in my router.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

12 comments so far

View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 4236 days

#1 posted 04-22-2010 06:56 PM

great idea!, excellent tip, thanx!

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21704 posts in 4840 days

#2 posted 04-22-2010 07:07 PM

Great idea

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4706 days

#3 posted 04-22-2010 07:47 PM

will this not burn up the motor?

-- Childress Woodworks

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4591 days

#4 posted 04-22-2010 08:11 PM

I don’t usually run it for more than a few minutes at a time. I really haven’t thougt about how that would affect the motor.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View SteveMI's profile


1167 posts in 4458 days

#5 posted 04-22-2010 08:32 PM

Emmett – Great idea.

I used a similar vacuum setup on my CNC for couple years and did not kill any shop vacs. If you had a perfect seal and the shop vac design didn’t have any by pass it is theoretically possible to damage the vac. Normal shop vacs only pull 3.5” of vacuum (mercury) with the best only getting to 6”. An actual vacuum pump gets to upper 20” of vacuum.

Your wood will actually cause loss of vacuum. Use a vacuum gage on the shop vac with the tube end closed completely with rubber pad and then in the fixture shown above. You will never get the same measurement. Another test is to put a rubber seal on end of shop vac hose to if the hose actually shrinks in length due to the vacuum and then repeat with a piece of wood over the end.

Even with a shop vac it is incredible the amount of hold that is achieved, especially with the weather stripping to seal the edges. I have to think this is safer for pattern routing than a router table and you don’t have to attach the pattern to part being cut with tape or screws.

Very simple and inexpensive hose attachment. Wish I had thought of that before buying the overpriced plastic connectors.


View cannondale's profile


54 posts in 4228 days

#6 posted 04-22-2010 08:37 PM

That is a great idea. I use a similar set up for my wood lathe to finish the bottom of the bowls. It is important to have a small inlet on the vacuum side of the work to let some air in to cool the motor. It will not affect the strength of suction much. Most home vacuums have a sliding air bleed that is easy to open.

Your jig is so simple. Well done!


View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 4435 days

#7 posted 04-22-2010 09:28 PM

Great Idea – I believe I will give that a try…

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4238 days

#8 posted 04-22-2010 09:53 PM

I like this idea. I may try it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View wallkicker's profile


121 posts in 4318 days

#9 posted 04-28-2010 02:32 PM

I like it to . Gonna give it a try ! You had me with cheap and simple .

View Robsshop's profile


923 posts in 4139 days

#10 posted 05-12-2010 04:37 AM

So simple a cave man can do it !!! Thanks for the quick and cheap shop fixture idea, gonna give it try.

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4741 days

#11 posted 05-12-2010 05:46 AM

will it work on my cat ? LOL just kidding, cool idea


View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4837 days

#12 posted 02-11-2011 02:59 AM

Looks good!

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