Hold down stick for table saw safety | FREE PLANS

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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.

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!

Watch the video here

Before we start building this hold down stick

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first! protect yourself!

Materials I used for this holddown stick

(power)Tools I used for this hold down stick

Building the 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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

Tip:
Be sure to watch my blog and video how I made my crosscut sled: The perfect crosscut sled? Accurate | removable zero clearance insert

There are free plans available to make this awesome crosscut sled yourself.

You can make the outer cuts by placing the workpiece flat on the crosscut carriage at the correct angle.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

Now you can cut out the curved lines with the jig saw.
After cutting, I updated the edges with the drill press drum sander.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

I like nicely finished pieces, so I trimmed all the edges with the router and a chamfer router bit

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS
Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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.

Hold down stick for table saw safety FREE PLANS

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I know because I was there too. Thanks to the ultimate small shop, I gained better insights into building a workshop not seen anywhere else.
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9 Comments

  1. Great safety item. I purchased a couple of “10 Million Dollar Sticks” from FastCap a couple of years ago.
    One is at the table saw and another is at the miter saw. I wouldn’t be without them.
    I like yours because if something happens I can easily replace it.

  2. Hi There!
    This is a great piece of safety equipment! I tried downloading the plans, confirmed email but not receiving the second mail containing the plans. Please help! Thank you!

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for your interest in the plans.
      I have just checked the system and the email has been sent.
      Be sure to check your spam box or filters. Sometimes emails happens to end up there.
      I hope I was able to help. If you have any more questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Always willing to help.
      Greetings

        1. Good morning
          I would love to have access to a couple of your free plans. One for myself and another to help a fellow woodworker. I don’t seem to to be able to access the plans at the moment and would appreciate if you can help. Thank you
          Regards
          Barry McIntosh
          Greymouth
          NZ

          1. Hi Barry! Thanks for your interest in the plans. Just fill in the form at the bottom of this blog, and you will receive the plans in your mailbox in minutes.
            Greetings

    1. Hi Bob,
      There is a download form at the bottom of this blog where you can download the free plans.
      Just enter your email address, and you will receive the plans in minutes.
      Be sure to check other blogs with free plans too.
      I hope this will help you.
      Greetings

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