Rockler Small Piece Holder – Keeping Fingers Safe At The Router Table

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Photo - Rockler Small Piece Holder

If you’re one of those people who prefer not to sustain serious injury, you may be familiar with a little thing called “safety”. We woodworkers encounter many “opportunities” for bodily injury. The router table is one such hazard: approach with respect and caution. Our friends in blue sent a Rockler small piece holder our way to review. It’s a safer way to rout small, parallel-edged parts without dipping your digits into a carbide toothed shark pit. The Rockler small piece holder is a measure of finger safety worth getting your hands on.

Rockler Small Piece Holder – Because Safety Really Does Matter

Safety first at the router table
This is a lot safer than tempting fate with that spinning bit.

One can only imagine how many easily avoidable workshop injuries have been ushered by a careless “It’s only one quick cut” attitude. It makes sense to be as safe as is feasible with every step of your project. The glisten of hemoglobin is best left to steaks on the grill (and the occasional slasher flick).

Rockler small piece holder
Rockler’s small piece holding jig is sturdy and easy to use.

Holding a workpiece with your bare hands is usually just fine when working at the router table. But smaller pieces pose more of a risk: your hands are closer to the bit. And having less to hold on to means the piece can more easily be snatched and thrown. And your hands can more easily be pulled into the bit if something goes wrong. That’s where the Rockler small piece holder comes in.

Holding wood with Rockler small piece holder
The small piece holder provides a firm grip and precise control, while keeping your hands and fingers at a safe distance.
Sacrificial backer
If needed, use a sacrificial backer (piece of scrap) to prevent tearout.

Get A Grip On Your Wood With Rockler Small Piece Holder

Grippy surfaces
Both clamping faces are lined with abrasive grit to keep your workpiece from slipping and sliding.

The small piece holder is a straight-forward, easy-to-use shop safety aide. You just clamp it onto your workpiece, adjust the hold-down pins and do what you need to at the router table. The holder is for use with bearing guided bits only. For non-guided bits, use your table’s fence instead.

Quick release - Rockler small piece holder
A quick release mechanism makes for super quick clamp adjustments.
Adjust the hold-down pins to make sure the workpiece stays flat against the table. Normally, you’ll arrange the hold downs diagonally from each other, but this workpiece is a tad too short to reach the rear position.
Rockler small piece holder
Tighten the threaded rod to clamp the workpiece firmly in place.

A Big Case For Rockler’s Small Piece Holder

Router table insert rings
I love the (now discontinued) Kreg-branded Woodpecker router lift, but I wish it included more intermediate sized inserts.

When I purchased my router lift, it came with three insert rings. But some bits are too big for the small inserts and too small for the large one. Actually, this very review spurred me to finally (four years later) order a set of inserts with more sizes. In the meantime, however, I’ve been making do with what I have.

Over-sized router table insert ring
I sometimes need an insert somewhere between the middle size and this veritable hula hoop I’m using.

I wanted to chamfer the end of this piece but the bit is too large for most of my insert rings. So I was forced to go with this overly large insert, which is the next size I currently have on hand.

Rockler small piece holder
It’s not ideal, but you can use the router like this, as long as your workpiece is held securely enough that it cannot tip or fall into the opening and is large enough that most of it is always resting flat on the table.

I’ll admit: I’m a chicken and would be a little nervous doing this without the Rockler small piece holder. Not that it’s grossly more dangerous than other routing operations (providing the above conditions are met); I just want to be extra cautious because of the sizes of both the piece and the gap.

The small piece holder gave me that extra level of security I was looking for. With it, I have complete control and my hands are plenty far from the danger zone.

Get Bigger With An Outrigger – Using The Rockler Small Piece Holder With Thicker Material

Routing taller pieces - Rockler small piece holder
Attach a riser to the outrigger when routing taller pieces.

The Rockler small piece holder can be used with wood ranging from about 5/8” up to 9” wide* (*Rockler’s website says up to 8-1/2” and the box says 8-3/4”. But the actual capacity of the one they sent us is 9”).

As for thickness, it seems the thinnest you’d want to go is maybe 1/4”. If you work with pieces thicker than 1”, screw a piece of scrap to the outrigger plate to prevent tipping (there are two screw slots, but you’ll have to provide your own screws/washers).

The Final Small Pieces

Nice large handles - Rockler small piece holder
The handles of the small piece holder are large enough for even the biggest of paws.

In a perfect world, we’d machine every piece of wood while it’s still large enough to handle with ease. And when we finish, unicorns would feed us bonbons and truffles as we soak in a bubbly beer filled hot tub. Reality, however, often dictates otherwise. That’s why we have Rockler’s small piece holder: it effectively makes your workpiece larger and gives you handles to grab on to so you can work safer and more confidently.

I have no complaints about the Rockler small piece holder other than the fact that there is no onboard storage for the included hex wrench that you use to adjust the hold-down pins. I get that you don’t want it stored where – if it comes loose – it could possibly fall into the router bit. Those large handles, however… You know how some old egg beater drills and hand vises have hollow handles with a screw off cap for storage? Yeah, that would be the perfect solution here.

Personally, I’d like to see the price come down a bit. Though many would argue that you can’t put a price on your fingers. They’re not wrong. All in all, the quality is there and you’ll love the ease of use, safety and peace of mind Rockler small piece holder brings to the table; the router table.

Get your own Rockler small piece holder for just under $60

Buy Now - via Rockler

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About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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