Ghetto Vacuum Clamping

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Established Member
18 Jan 2009
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London UK
I've been cleaning up a shed-load of teak finger-parquet blocks for a project, and thought the jig I came up with might be useful to others.

It's an offcut of 2"x6" with a shallow mortise the size of a single parquet block chiselled into the top face. A hole suiting my 35mm vacuum hose was bored in one side. Then, carefully poistioned and angled 12mm holes were drilled to connect the vacuum hole to the mortise. Another hole was bored all the way through, to so the vacuum isn't totally obstructed when a block sits in ther mortice.


I stick the vacuum nozzle in the big hole, drop a block into the mortise, and the vacuum holds it tighly in place so I can plane the face true. Every few blocks I can pull the hose out and hoover the accumulated shavings out of the plane before they overflow.


Initially I didn't have the extra hole to allow airflow to the vacuum, and it was extremely hard to remove the block without switching off the vacuum. I was also concerned about the vacuum overheating.


The outcome:
Use the technique in moderation as your vacuum motor won't be getting a great deal of cooling air.Trend used to sell a very handy zoned table for this kind of thing and it featured a fluted connector so that there was a permitted amount of air bypassing the vacuum zones and cooling the motor.Several competitors sold kits for them but they seem to have faded away,which is a shame as they were brilliant for holding down jobs while routing round the edges and with no physical obstructions in the way.
Better quality extractors use a "bypass" motor/ turbine. These have a separate intake for cooling air to the motor. A valuable feature especially when used with sanders that reduce airflow a lot.