Vacuum Hold Down

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Project by woody57 posted 1581 days ago 3680 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 1696 days

#1 posted 1581 days ago

great idea!, excellent tip, thanx!

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14721 posts in 2300 days

#2 posted 1581 days ago

Great idea

-- "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 2166 days

#3 posted 1581 days ago

will this not burn up the motor?

-- Childress Woodworks

View woody57's profile


645 posts in 2051 days

#4 posted 1581 days ago

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


848 posts in 1919 days

#5 posted 1581 days ago

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


51 posts in 1688 days

#6 posted 1581 days ago

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


957 posts in 1896 days

#7 posted 1581 days ago

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

Thanks for sharing

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

View richgreer's profile


4522 posts in 1699 days

#8 posted 1580 days ago

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


107 posts in 1778 days

#9 posted 1575 days ago

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

View Robsshop's profile


809 posts in 1599 days

#10 posted 1561 days ago

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 repurposed wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2201 days

#11 posted 1561 days ago

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

-- Custom furniture

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13337 posts in 2297 days

#12 posted 1286 days ago

Looks good!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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