Pro Woodworking Tips.com
No need to feel pressured...
My Introduction To Vacuum Systems
My first exposure to vacuum systems came at a woodworking trade show. My partner, Bruce
Driscoll, pointed out a booth to me and said, "now that's what we need in our shop, a vacuum system"! I had
never even heard of such a thing! And he's telling me to "go ahead and buy it, you'll like it". The system he
was steering me towards was about a $ 1,200.00. After looking at him like he had two heads, I saw that look in
his eye. Like a kid in a candy store.
Me being the sensible one thought, oh boy, a new toy. (I have a toy problem too). Well if we
need it, we need it! About ten minutes later we were finished loading it into the truck. That's when I asked
him, "what's it do"? Now he looked at me like I had two heads. (he's always had a bad attitude, and I've been
meaning to talk to him about that)! "What's it do? It does everything". "Oh, okay". Turns out, he wasn't too far
off. We do use it in our shop, all the time. In fact we have several systems now, for different
These devices really are incredible. Whether it's for veneering, or clamping, or creating curved
parts, or cutting fifty identical parts, it's the right tool for the job. My work bench is a nice bench, which I
take good care of, and treat it like fine furniture, (almost), and I had no problem with drilling a series of
holes in it, to allow me to "pipe", it for multiple uses. The end of the bench has a manifold of valves on it so
I can easily switch from one process, to another. The "piping", consists of nylon tubing, and fittings. All
available at your local home center. And very cheap! The holes drilled in the bench simply require a barbed
fitting, that's pushed into the hole, and the nylon tube is slipped onto the barbed fitting. No clamps needed!
It can't leak because the vacuum seals any leaks you might have!
There are also quick connect fittings available for quick set up to shop made clamping jigs,
etc...There's a hole drilled in the center of the bench top, which allows me to take a template, also with a
hole in it, and foam self stick tape on both sides of it, (top and bottom), around the perimeter of the
template. This template is set over the hole, and a rough cut blank is laid over the template. At this point
it's a matter of stepping on a foot pedal to start the vacuum, and you can see the rough blank suck down tight
to the template, and bench. You can't move it if you try. Now with pattern bit in a router, it's a simple matter
of routing the blank to the shape of the template. When it's done, release it by stepping on the foot pedal
again. Making a hundred identical pieces is easily accomplished.
Another very valuable aspect to a vacuum system, in conjunction with your bench, is the ability to
mount a cabinet door, or a plank to the edge of the bench. Another hole in the edge of the bench, with the same
foam gasket material, makes it possible to hold a door to the edge of the bench, step on the foot pedal, and viola.
The door's stuck to the bench. You can hinge the door, plane the edges, route the edges, all with no clamps or set
up time. You could actually drag your bench around the shop, by pulling on the door! That's how well it's
When is comes to VAKuum pressing there are a lot of questions that need to be
answered. We realise that sifting through all the information is time consuming and sometimes confusing. So we
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