When I wanted to saw smaller pieces with my table saw and crosscut sled, or with my miter saw, I always want to do this in the safest way possible.
In the past, I helped myself by clamping the small parts with a piece of wood or when possible with my hold down clamps.
In order to work faster and safer, I designed and made this hold down stick.
Why should you make a hold down stick?
First, and most importantly, for safety. A rotating saw blade is razor-sharp and cuts through everything. You want to keep your fingers as far away as possible, don’t you?
But there is more than just safety.
The force that you exert on your workpiece via the hold down stick prevents the workpiece from shifting during sawing. This way you always have accurate cuts, but you also prevent kickback, which makes it safer again.
A third advantage of the hold down stick is that you have a stable grip and a good overview of your workpiece.
This hold down stick is super easy to make in just a few hours. You no longer have to make your own design because you can just copy my design. In this blog, I offer you free plans that you can download.
Based on the photos, I will show you step by step how to build this hold down stick.
Ready? Let’s go!
What do you need to make a hold down stick?
To prepare you for building this hold down stick, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this table saw safety tool.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for this hold down stick
(power)Tools I used for this hold down stick
Watch the video here & learn how to make a hold down stick
Here you can watch the video and see how to make the hold down stick.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this table saw safety tool yourself.
How to make a hold down stick step by step
Building this hold down stick was one of the simplest woodworking jigs I’ve made to date.
You can already make this hold down stick with a minimum of tools and materials.
I will first show you how to make the hold down fingers. After that, I will show you how to make the handle.
Step 1 | Hold down fingers
You start with transferring all dimensions to your workpiece. Use the free plans that you can download on this blog.
I used my digital angle finder to draw the sloping side. The sloping sides have an angle of 75 degrees.
I made the inner circle with a Forstner drill.
This is much faster than when you saw the circle with a jigsaw. Moreover, this way you get a much better end result.
I cut the sloping sides with the table saw and the crosscut sled.
You can make the inner cuts by clamping the workpiece at the correct angle against the fence of the crosscut sled.
When I make cuts like this I always start by lowering the saw blade, making the cut, and only then raising the saw blade until I have reached the correct cutting depth.
Do you want to make the same crosscut sled as mine?
Check out the step-by-step instruction blog where I show you how to make this crosscut sled.
There are free building plans available on this page, to help you to build this sled.
Don’t miss this!
To finish the curves perfectly, I sanded them with my drill press drum sander.
This is ideal for finishing round edges and achieving a perfect end result.
The last step is to make a slot. The handle will be placed in this slot later. The slot blocks the handle which prevents it from spinning.
The slot can be made about 5 mm deep.
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Step 2 | Handle
Making the handle seems difficult due to the curved lines, but it actually isn’t.
I’ll show you a handy trick to make perfect curved lines every time.
A first step to make curved lines is to make a fixed anchor point on the ends of the curved line. I did this by driving two small nails into the wood.
What you then need is a flexible rail or piece of wood.
Place this against the 2 anchor points and push the middle of the flexible rail away until you reach the desired curve.
Then you draw a line and your curved line is ready.
To make this hold down stitch you have to do this step twice, each time with different anchor points.
So be sure to download the free plans where you can see the dimensions I used.
Now you can cut out the curved lines with the jig saw.
After cutting, I updated the edges with the drill press drum sander.
To keep this hold down stick close to me whenever I work with the table saw, I want to be able to hang this hold down stick on a hook under my table saw. That’s why I drilled a hole at the end of the handle.
I like nicely finished pieces, so I trimmed all the edges with the router and a chamfer router bit
In order to have a good and pleasant grip on the hold down stick when I work with it, I have the part where the stick is held complicated with self-adhesive friction tape.
The last step in making this hold down stitch is to attach the two parts together.
I deliberately didn’t use glue for this, but a screw.
If the hold down fingers should get damaged, I can replace it that way.
Before installing a screw, be sure to pre-drill even with a drill that is just a little smaller than the diameter of the screw.
How to use this hold down stick
Super simple of course!
Place your workpiece on the crosscut sled or miter saw and place the hold down stitch as close as possible to where the cut will be.
Always make sure that the hold down stick is stable. When stability cannot be guaranteed, it can tip over with all the consequences that entail.
So be sure before you start cutting. Safety is your responsibility at all times.
Push the hold down stick downwards to increase the pressure on the workpiece and make your cut.
Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this information on how to make a hold down stick was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.
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It will be much appreciated.
I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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