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Hold-Down Provides Controlled Cuts

Clamped hold-down There are several things to think about when cutting a thin sheet of material on a table saw. Not the least of which is providing enough downward pressure so the sheet won’t “ride up” over the saw blade, causing a potentially dangerous kickback.

End View To ensure a safe, controlled cut, I clamp an L-shaped hold-down to the rip fence on the table saw (see Photo). A different-sized rabbet in each edge of the hold-down forms a recess for either 1/8″-thick or ¼″-thick material (End View). As you make a cut, the thin sheet slides under the lip formed by the rabbet, preventing it from lifting off the table saw.

The hold-down shown here is made of ½″-thick stock, but plywood would also work well. Just make sure the pieces are nice and straight. Cut the rabbets to match the thickness of the material you’ll be working with most often. Then, after screwing the hold-down together, clamp it to the fence so the appropriate side is lying on the table saw.

Good woodworking,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

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