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Hold-Down Clamp: To Use or Not to Use

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  • Hold-Down Clamp: To Use or Not to Use

    Another question from this beginner! Feel free to tell me to slow down with them -- I have lots of questions!

    I am wondering if there are advantages to not using the hold-down clamp beside greater visibility, being able to hold the workpiece closer to the blade, and for zero-tolerance work.

    I tried for the first time cutting without the hold-down clamp on Saturday, and felt like the work was "getting away from me". Is this because the workpiece wasn't dragging on the clamp, or was the blade perhaps too aggressive? It felt like it was cutting faster.

    I would like to go without the hold-down simply because at times it's gotten in the way of my fingers. I'm not worried about tangling up in the blade; I'm careful.

    Would very much appreciate knowing your experiences, preferences, and advice as to when the hold-down is best used or not used.

    Many thanks as always!

    Ann

  • #2
    In my opinion, the hold down isnt anything helpful, more of a nuisance. Though, I did find a use for it. On the dewalts, I turned it upside down in the holder,and it now holds the plug for me when I have to unplug the saw!! Otherwise, I wouldnt use that at all. It wont take you long to get used to not having it on, and you wont miss it one bit.The hold down dragging on the wood doesnt help control at all,and can help to peel off youir pattern if not glued on goodly. dale
    Dale w/ yella saws

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    • #3
      Yes, Dale, this is definitely one of the nuisance parts! Making my "Krazy Klock" precipitated my taking the thing off, because indeed it was peeling up the pattern at very bad times and places.

      Thanks for your reply. You certainly found an innovative use for your hold-down clamp!

      Ann

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      • #4
        ann on that dremel saw, the same as mine,

        i had quite a bit of trouble when i first got my saw i wanted to use it with all the gards in place.... yatta yatta..

        when threading the blade into the small holes for fret work the hold down foot is in the way even if its all the way up, and if you leave it all the way up the top arm hits it,

        once i had a really agressive blade in the saw upside down, becuse i didnt look close enough, and it was tough to keep the work on the table, the foot would have helped me... but i had removed it.
        Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster

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        • #5
          Ann;
          Those hold down guards are put on by manufacturers of all scroll saws sold in North America only for their own protection against them getting into trouble for not having enough "guards" and safety features.
          With that said, I would venture to guess that with about 99% of scrollers that is the first thing they take off and dispose of before they plug in a new saw or at least within the first week or two of using the saw..
          Some of us work within 1/16" of the blade when doing fretwork and those guards get in the way.
          W.Y.
          http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

          The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

          Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

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          • #6
            Another "take it off" vote. Toward the end of a piece, when the pattern is pretty much in tatters, the last ting you want is something scraping the pieces to check how well they are glued down. Some woods just don't adhere well without a lot of glue and you don't want to do that.
            -Andy

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            • #7
              My first scroll saw was one of those 3" blade units with a spring loaded hold down. The hold down would slip into an open fret piece and jam the work, resulting in a messed up piece and an unhappy scroller.

              Most scrollers remove the hold down. I don't think of it as a safety feature as much as a nuisance. If it gets in the way of blade changes then it is a pain.

              Some of the finer work can't be done with the holder in place.
              The scroll saw is undoubtedly the safest of all power tools.
              Remember it is a hold down, not a blade guard. If you are nervous holding wood close to the blade, you can always wear thimbles.
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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              • #8
                "Wearing thimbles" -- now that's a good one!

                Nah... I don't even like gloves in winter. Everything gets in the way! I'm not afraid of the blade and am just reasonably careful. Being a mom of 3 kids has brought me into a whole lot more danger than any scroll saw ever could, and there was no one to sue since I myself am the factory of those kiddos.

                And if I nick my finger, I wouldn't take the time to sue Dremel. "That's Outrageous!" as Reader's Digest would say!

                Anyway, great -- thanks for all the replies! I'll take off that hold-down clamp and see what fun use I can find for it. Could weld it to the end of a steel rod and use it for roasting hot dogs or marshmallows over the campfire.

                Better get myself to work! Everybody have a GREAT GREAT DAY!!!

                Ann

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                • #9
                  i put a plastic test tube in where my hold down foot use to be, made a dandy holder for my 5mm mechanical pencil to fit in...
                  Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster

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                  • #10
                    good tip Thom
                    CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hold Down

                      Ann....Just a quick side note. You will probably experience the dreaded "chatter" occasionally until you become used to working without the hold down. Especially with agressive blades or when making tight turns in thicker wood. It's happened to all of us at one time or another so don't be too startled.
                      If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

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                      • #12
                        Throw it out

                        Throw away your hold down. It just got in my way and couldn't see around it too well...so mine is history.

                        -Bill
                        -Bill

                        My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut

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                        • #13
                          So's mine (history!) -- I took the whole shabang off this morning. Didn't throw it away, though -- I put it in a ziploc bag and stored it with the documentation so if I ever give away/sell this saw to upgrade, the next beginner can at least feel he/she got the options to do whatever is preferred. Now looking at my saw, I like it even better and feel like a "pro". Ha... that could be extremely dangerous and detrimental, huh.

                          Ann

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                          • #14
                            I think mine was off before I took it out of the box, and I haven't seen it since. The manufacturers put it there to protect themselves.
                            When you make things idiot-proof, the idiots will prove you wrong everytime!
                            That's why we have the Darwin Awards and the Stella awards.
                            Fred


                            There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!

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                            • #15
                              The "hold-down" is, as someone has said, there to cover the manufacturer's rear. Most of them are ill-designed and worthless. The only thing they do that is even halfway usefull is keep the work from jumping up and down when combing a new sawyer and reverse-tooth blades. When a new sawyer forgets to keep the pressure on the workpiece and relaxes too much it can scare the bejayzus out of them when the workpiece takes off. My advice is to remove the thing and get it out of the way (or make a pen holder out of it as suggested).
                              Moon
                              Old Mooner

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