Usually a hold-down is used to clamp a workpiece flat against a benchtop. That’s okay for some work. But if you’re sawing, drilling or routing, it often requires clamping the piece so that it overhangs the edge of the workbench. As a result, it’s not adequately supported, which makes for a rough, less-than-accurate cut.
Creative solution. A more versatile solution is to make a set of bench hooks that hold the workpiece securely above the bench (main photo). This provides clearance underneath for bits and blades, letting you work directly over the bench.
Easy to use. As useful as they are, I’d have to say that these bench hooks are a bit unusual looking. So it’s not immediately apparent how they work — until you put them to use. To do that, simply set a bench hook on the bench and push it forward until the heel catches the edge of the bench (inset photo). Then place the workpiece on top and butt it against the stop at the end. Several of them spread apart can support any size workpiece.
To make the piece stay put as you work, just continue pressing it against the stop. A light touch is all that’s needed. And since the heel is engaged on the bench, this pressure keeps the bench hook from shifting forward. Small blocks attached to the sides of the body of the bench hook keep it from tipping side-to-side.