Two-Part Hold-Down Makes Routing Safer
This versatile two-part fixture uses sections of PVC pipe to hold the workpiece against the router table and the fence to reduce the chance of kickback and to make a cleaner, more consistent cut.
To make the fixture, cut two pieces of 3/4-in.-thick plywood 4-1/2 in. wide and as long as your router table. On the vertical hold-down piece, rout two 3/8-in. adjustment slots. Now, use a drill press and Forstner bit to make four 1-7/8-in.-dia. through-holes, aligning the bit so that it will overlap the edge by about 7/16 in. Drill three holes in the horizontal hold-in piece, centering them between the holes in the vertical hold-down.
Cut the 5/8-in.-wide rings on the tablesaw from a 1-1/2-in.-dia. schedule 40 PVC pipe. The rings should be slightly thinner than the plywood; otherwise, their freedom of action will be impaired when the hold-down is clamped in place. Next, use a bandsaw to remove a 1-1/4-in. section from each ring. Insert the rings with all the openings facing the same direction. Holding a Phillips-head screwdriver in the opening at about 45° to the bottom edge, rotate the PVC ring to pinch the screwdriver shaft (see drawing) and mark the inside where the tip touches the PVC. Drill a 5/32-in.-dia. hole through the PVC only and then attach it to the plywood with a 1-in. self-piercing lath screw.
To use the fixture, place the stock flat on the router table under the rings of the hold-down. Push the hold-down onto the workpiece so that the rings deflect slightly, roughly 1/32 in. Do the same for the hold-in.
The pressure the rings exert on the workpiece helps keep it against the table and the fence, and will prevent the stock from kicking back. Use moderate feed…