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Thread: Holdfast?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Charlotte, MI
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    Jamie, my main bench is 4" thick birch. The holes started out as 3/4", but they've been reamed out a bit since the bench was new, so they are probably closer to 7/8 by now. The Grammercys grab just fine in all the holes in that bench (excepting a 1" hole that was done as a test, that ones a gamble and doesn't always grab tight), and in my 2" thick Continental style bench (which was my first woodworking project years ago). I've even used them in the square dog holes on the Conti bench, they work fine.

    I started out with the cheap cast iron holdfasts from Woodcraft, they do not work at all in either bench.

    I look forward to trying the Williamsburg holdfast and will post about it once it arrives.
    Last edited by Zach Dillinger; 01-15-2013 at 11:45 AM.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

    Ask me why I use hand tools, and I'll tell you

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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    65
    [QUOTE=John Coloccia;2038793]I wonder if Harry is still making holdfasts? QUOTE]

    Harry?

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    9,458
    Quote Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
    I wonder if Harry is still making holdfasts?
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Ross View Post
    Harry?
    Harry Strasil Jr. made a few batches of holdfasts in the past. My biggest regret was not buying two pairs back when I could afford it.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Philly 'burbs
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    132
    Question for you holdfast guys: How do you size one of these? I want one, but seems like they'd be sized specific to hole size and bench thickness...
    It's better to be a spectacular failure than an apologetic one...

  5. #20
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, MI
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    Scott, they are ideally sized to bench specs, but most of them will work in a wide range of tops. Like my example. The Grammercys works in my 4" thick top. They also work in my 2" thick Continental bench, including in the square dog holes. They also work in my 1.5" saw bench. I'm sure the Williamsburg one will work as well in a wide range of tops.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

    Ask me why I use hand tools, and I'll tell you

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Posts
    65
    Well I did it... Their out of stock till the end of the month, but I went with the Grammercys for $35 a pair. Since I don't know much about holdfasts, i went with what had the most good reviews with a good price. Thanks!

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    488
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Ross View Post
    Well I did it... Their out of stock till the end of the month, but I went with the Grammercys for $35 a pair. Since I don't know much about holdfasts, i went with what had the most good reviews with a good price. Thanks!
    They should serve you well, and at a very reasonable price. They don't have the traditional look of the (justifiably) more expensive hand-forged ones, but on the other hand won't break like the brittle cast-iron ones made in Taiwan.

    You may want to add some leather to the pads to protect your work. An old tip I picked up from someone here.

    George discussed why hitting them with a metal hammer is not really a good idea. He uses a wooden mallet. I use a deadblow mallet.

    If your workbench top is of a wood that likes to splinter, you may want to chamfer the holes. Or just go after them with a small rasp or file to ease the edge.

    holdfasts.jpg
    gentleman woodworker
    vicarious tool collector

  8. #23
    I had a couple from Taiwan .Broke with first couple blows of mallet.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    PA
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    10,438
    I've broken the cheap ones, same as mel. Coarse grained things when you look at the break. Ordered the gramercy spring steel versions like some above, and really like them. Like Zach said, I haven't yet put them in anything where they don't grip.
    That Rug Really Tied the Room Together, Did it Not....

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central CT
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Ross View Post
    Well I did it... Their out of stock till the end of the month, but I went with the Grammercys for $35 a pair. Since I don't know much about holdfasts, i went with what had the most good reviews with a good price. Thanks!
    I'm not sure if someone has brought this up already, but Joel offers some tips for using the holdfasts in one of his older blog posts. (link)

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, MI
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    1,194
    I got my Williamsburg holdfast and it is quite nice. It truly looks 18th century, although I'm sure that's not a surprise to anyone. I'm having a bit of trouble getting it to hold tight in my 4" thick main bench, but it grabs up tight in the apron of the bench, which is 1.5" thick pine. I'm thinking the HF shaft might be just a bit too short to work well in such a thick bench. I will make a modification or to and try it again. Or I may just use it in the skirt and keep the Grammercy holdfasts in the top itself instead of switching them back and forth. Either way, the Williamsburg HF from The Best Things is a lovely piece.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

    Ask me why I use hand tools, and I'll tell you

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
    Posts
    9,344
    I have had no problem with my hand forged holdfast holding in a 4" bench top. But,it is a custom forged piece,not the Wmsbg. one you can buy. Does the Wmsbg. offering have too short a shank?

    I suggest taking a checkering file and filing some horizontal checkering lines on the back side of the holdfast shank,and on the lower front side where it grabs the bench. If no such file available,just use a bunch of triangular file grooves.
    Last edited by george wilson; 01-31-2013 at 9:52 AM.

  13. #28
    I glued leather to the pad of my Grammercy holdfasts. This works well to prevent marring the work piece.

    The other holdfast that should be considered, while non-traditional, is the Veritas. Excellent tool.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #29
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
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    9,344
    Leather pad is a good idea.

  15. #30
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    I have had no problem with my hand forged holdfast holding in a 4" bench top. But,it is a custom forged piece,not the Wmsbg. one you can buy. Does the Wmsbg. offering have too short a shank?

    I suggest taking a checkering file and filing some horizontal checkering lines on the back side of the holdfast shank,and on the lower front side where it grabs the bench. If no such file available,just use a bunch of triangular file grooves.
    I've done that to other holdfasts in the past, I just haven't had time to try to adjust this one to work for me, it just came in two days ago. One technique I've used in the past is to take very coarse (say, 60 grit) sandpaper and rough up the shank. This has worked for me and that is probably what I will do to the Williamsburg holdfast.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

    Ask me why I use hand tools, and I'll tell you

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