Vacuum Hold Down Templating


The fastest manual templating system.

To repeat a shape or component accurately is traditionally a very time consuming business - usually involving pinning your workpiece to the template or double side taping the two together, then holding the two components down to your bench before routing. This method also means unnecessary time cleaning up or even filling the holes in the component.

profile of router templating using a vacuum hold-down workbench
  1. Mark out and cut out the component or shape you wish to copy from a
    nonporous material i.e. melamine chipboard, veneered/sealed MDF. The ideal
    thickness is 18mm or 1/3 ² inch.
  2. Ensure that the edge of your template is smooth for the cutter bearing to
    run on. Any irregularities could otherwise be copied onto your workpiece.
    Time spent on preparation of your template is always a wise investment.
  3. Apply a single strip of self-adhesive gasket material (supplied) round the
    edge of your template 2-3mm from its edge.
  4. Drill an 8mm air extraction hole through the template
  5. Position the template on your workpiece, draw round your template and
    rough cut your workpiece to within 2-3mm of your template line. (Band or Jig
    saws are ideal)
  6. Position the template on your Mach covering as many cells completely as
    possible ensuring that the air extraction hole is directly above an active
    cell. This allows the air to be sucked from beneath the workpiece and the
    template locking them together. Check that the workpiece position allows for
    an overhang on every side.
  7. Turn the vacuum control tap ON and press the workpiece onto the template
    holding them together for a second or two allowing the vacuum seal to form
    and the air to be removed from between the two components.
  8. Prepare your Router - fitting a bottom bearing trimmer cutter and setting
    the depth stop to allow the bearing to run along the centre of the template
  9. Before starting your cutting pass re-check that the template and
    workpiece are secure
  10. Slowly route round the workpiece, a single cutting pass should be
    sufficient unless you need to trim of an overhang which exceeds a few mm¹s
    in which case a second pass may be required

This new method allows work to be held exposing the full edge profile of the board for full-edge moulding, even work that could not be held directly onto the Mach can now be secured.

As with normal workpiece, templates or jigs that overhang the Mach platen should be supported.