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 Peter West - Alternative to Spring Fence

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Dik Harrison


Posts : 233
Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Peter West - Alternative to Spring Fence   April 9th 2009, 2:09 am

This thread was originally posted on SMC by Peter West. It is here with his permission.

I don't have a spring fence, but for my router setup I have made a spring hold in which is simple to make and very effective.

It works very well. The idea of the double slot on the front edge is that as the material approaches it it will 'give' no matter the direction the material approaches it. The curved front allows the material to slide in without snagging, and exit the end smoothly because as the pressure is applied, the double slot allows it to flex at both ends of the contact face.

The two slots along the edges are to facilitate adjustable clamping as seen here.

It can be made easily from any material that will flex and not crack when pressure is applied, but I made mine out of 1/4" UHMW that I had lying around the workshop. (I have managed to apply sufficient pressure as to 'clamp' material firmly so it wont move - without it breaking the
hold-in. The wood shown on the front edge is is oak and is there to increase the height of the contact edge just to make the contact point a bit more than 1/4".

I have a couple of these as I attach them to a thin peice of MDF which spans the table top and is clamped to it either end. I place one in front of the cutter and one behind it, and that way if I want to mill the width of the material to make it narrower, or face the edge of a board, the back clamp still holds the narrower end firmly to the fence as it passes out of the back of the router bit.

Now I can set up the router, the fence and the hold-ins to the correct width, cut the board slightly oversize with the rail and then immediately face one edge it. Once I have done all the first edges, I adjust the router set up to the desired width and run all the boards to face the opposite edge.

This is so much quicker than the previous method which was to cut on the table saw and edge using a planer.

If anyone is interested, here is the template for making the hold-in - it can be printed to size and used to make a template out of thin ply, which can then be used with a 1/4" bearing cutter to make it.

NOTE: The one in the picture has a round cut out at the back - this isn't necessary. It's there because I made mine out of some UHMW hole cutting templates I had which I no longer

Michael Schwartz Posted:


Might make a nice feather-board on the table-saw as well.

Patrick Anderson Posted:

nice one there mate

Steve Felicetti Posted:

Great idea, and thanks for sharing!

Peter West Replied:

Thanks guys.

I used mine as feather boards for hold-in and hold down on the mitre saw,table saw, router table and drill press using simple boards attached to each of those.

I also used them for glueing up boards when my clamps were not long enough.

They are so cheap to make that I thought of making a dozen or so, attaching them to a long support and using them as board clamps. With a 'fence' along the front of the boards to be clamped, and another back fence behind the hold-ins, a hand 'cam' could be used against the back fence to apply pressure to the back of the hold ins forcing them against the last board - which would sandwich the boards between the holdins and the front fence. This would apply even pressure the full length of the boards being clamped.

Of course this would ony be practical if the boards being clamped were square edged properly - but thats now easy to do with the tunnel

Seumas McCombie Posted:

Aye trust an ither

Generous Aberdonian, slainte mhath macduff, alba mo dhachaidh

Michael Schwartz Replied:

Peter, you have a great idea with this design. Mabey you should look into patenting it and marketing it.

This design would be great for working with lumber with a rough edge. You wouldn't quite get the anti kickback protection of a the fingers, but it should provide all the presure you need. You might be able to increese the presure for things like gluing if it were made out of 1/2, 3/4 or thicker UMHW.

Thanks for posting the template, I think I will defiantly make a few of them.

Peter West Replied:

"Peter, you have a great idea with this design"

Thanks Michael.

"Mabey you should look into patenting it"

I thought about it, but I'm not familiar with the process, and it would be easy enough for others to slightly change it to get around any patent issues.

"and marketing it"

I am going to market it here in the UK (although experienced woodworkers could just copy it anyway) along with some other stuff. I am working on 2 websites at present
- a) to market some products,
- b) to start a co-operative site called (I own the domain name).

Watch this space.

"You might be able to increese the presure for things like gluing if it were made out of 1/2, 3/4 or thicker UMHW."

My original was 1/2" thick, but I reduced it simply to allow for it to be used on thinner material under the router in a tunnel setup. I still have the 1/2" one and as you say, that would be better for gluing up.

"Thanks for posting the template, I think I will defiantly make a few of them.


My pleasure - glad it was useful. Have fun with it.

Dino Makropoulos Posted:

Very nice Peter.
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