Holdfast Holes: Where Should They be Located?

You don’t need a lot of holdfast holes to hold most work on your bench. In fact, I’ve found that somewhere between eight and 10 holes is more than enough for most work. And if I used a tail vise, I probably could get away with just two or three holdfast holes. The topic...

Holdfasts of a New Design

I need to get busy on my workbench top so I can decide how many of the different work-holding designs to use at my bench. At this time at my home shop, I’m using a pair of Gramercy holdfasts, but earlier this year a couple of companies, namely Lee Valley and Kreg, introduced holdfasts...

The Holdfast in Your Backyard

We have iron planes and wooden planes. Iron vises and wooden ones. Iron clamps and wooden ones. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that you can have a wooden holdfast. But it does. Carpenter and researcher Jeff Burks passed me this clipping from a 1930 edition of Popular Mechanics, which discusses the “barilette,”...

Gramercy Holdfast

Gramercy Holdfasts-the Real Story

Way back in 2005, I wrote an article for issue #4 of Woodworking Magazine about holdfasts. At the time, very few woodworkers knew what a holdfast was, and the article reviewed available manufactured holdfasts, as well as a few blacksmith made ones. We recently put the original holdfast article online, and included a link...

That’s Not a Holdfast

Christopher Schwarz and Lucy May are pleased to announce the newest addition to their family. Length: 18”. Weight: 9 lbs., 4 oz. Birth date: Feb. 15, 2012. Delivered by: Peter Ross, blacksmith and white smith. After more than seven years of searching, I have finally found a bench holdfast that works effortlessly with a...

Improved Phil Koontz Holdfasts

  It seems I have more holdfasts than internal organs. And yet, when I was dropping something off at Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick’s house this week, I was struck by two holdfasts in her bench that were familiar and yet different – like an old friend who had lost weight or gotten implants. The...

Authentic Holdfasts from Peter Ross

The first time I taught at Roy Underhill’s school in Pittsboro, N.C., Roy made sure that I met Peter Ross, a blacksmith who worked at Colonial Williamsburg for 25 years. We all ate dinner at gas station in Saxapawhaw – probably the best gas station food ever made on this planet. Seriously. Check this...

Tool Test: Holdfasts that Really Work

By Christopher Schwarz Page: 85 From the December 2005 issue #152 Buy this issue now Holdfasts are something of an obsession of mine. They’re an almost-vanished tool that does an amazing job of quickly securing your work with just a mallet tap. Sadly, the only ones that really work these days are those made...