Workholding Vote?

Hey all! Doing a little informal survey here… What’s your preferred work holding type and why? Vote for 1 or two in the poll below. Each poll choice has a link to an example.

wood screws

(sorry, I don’t have any of that fancy hardware)


Wood screws are a very acceptable workholding method!


I use hold down clamps a whole lot and also wood screws.

Screwing down some acrylic, ‘to a sacrificial 2’x2’ board’ held in place to the spoil-board with the clamps while the holes were drilled by the CNC.

Hold down clamps directly tot he spoil-board.

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I love my mitee bite clamps and t track. Vac pods and composite nails too. Especially with lousy unflat plywood.

What mitee bites did you use?

McMaster-Carr I use those, in custom wood carriers with a threaded insert for the 8-32 thread. You can see them in the vertical work holding thread from earlier.

I am a fan of the masking tape and crazy glue method. I find it holds better than double stick tape.


Blue tape/superglue, if I don’t have extra stock to screw into; otherwise i just screw into the spoilboard.
I have t-track and clamps on my table, but find that the clamps get in the way more often than not (mostly because of the bolts and knob size). If I can keep them out of the tool path, they’ll hit the dust boot… :sunglasses:
Simple always does best for me for some reason.
Both tape/glue and screws also allow me to ensure the workpiece is flat on the table. Depending on where my clamps land, that hasn’t always been the case.
Wish I could justify a solid vacuum system… :crazy_face:


is that a plasma cutter attached to your gantry?

Wood screws. I almost never use any of the others.

Have you tried the X-Fasten tape?

It’s fantastic.

I’ve also had this same experience which is why I mostly use these low profile ones now:

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That’s how I first started out. I even went so far as to use VCarve to peck drill places on my workpiece to put the screws so I didn’t place them somewhere that I would run them over when I went to cut.

T track and composite nailer I’m a Rookie so I haven’t tried every thing yet so the world is the limit!! …

Thanks for including links to examples. How would you do a full vacuum setup on an Avid machine? Would it just be MDF with holes in it for the vacuum and grooves to route rubber stripping?

Mine is based on the “black box” that was out several years ago. I used the machine to cut a grid pattern in the first sheet of 3/4" MDF, then the spoil board goes over that. (also 3/4" MDF, this lets me surface it several times) The grid is based on 4 quadrants all 2’X4’ . 1 each end across the table, and the other 2 in the middle, along the long (X for me) axis. I don’t have a pic of that here at work, but I do have one of my vacs. I have 4 valves that turn on the quadrant I want to use, so max vaccum is where I need it. I should add I have 48X96 Avid (CNC Router Parts) machine.

The four vacs are split into 2 groups, and run on an arduino timer. So one group turns on with the switch, runs for 15 mins, 10 seconds before it turns off the second group turns on, then the first group turns off. The second group runs for 15 mins and rinse… repeat.
I have had this system running for 6 years, with no issues.

The table vac works really great for flat pieces that are bigger than 16"sq. For smaller stuiff I made a T track board that is 16" X 48". I vac that to the table then clamp into it.
I do not have any seals between the spoil board and the grid. I do however put 2 coats of shelac on the edges of both sheet of MDF to stop air from coming in the sides.

If you want pics of the grid, let me know and I’ll post them tonight when I get home from work.


Same here - hold down clamps thru-bolted and sometimes screws. Composite nails whenever possible.

I use bolt down clamps on a grid of threaded inserts. Been using that method for the 3 machines I’ve had over the years.

Thanks for the reply Ray.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to see it.

That’s a nice box. I made one like that a bunch of years early in my routing days in my shop:

You can see the full gallery here

I called that the “V8 Vacuum” because it has 8 2x2 zones.

For those that don’t know how these work, it’s pretty simple:

You have a base layer of plywood. The middle layer has a bunch of channels cut into it, and the top layer is ideally LDF (Low density fiberboard). It’s basically really soft MDF.

You run pipes up into the grid attached to some vacuums. The suction pulls air down through the LDF and sucks your plywood sheets down.

This is what the Hurricane Black Box is really good for. I’ve seen people make some pretty good systems using Fein Turbo vacs too.

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