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This summer I have made two changes to my Roubo-style workbench that I built in 2005 that have made the bench even more effective and easy to use.

First up, a real-deal antique French holdfast, sent to me by a colleague in France. Clearly blacksmith made, this holdfast is sized somewhere between the monster holdfast that blacksmith Peter Ross built for my daughter’s workbench and the typical modern style.

It works like crazy, even in a full 4”-thick benchtop. The sucker sets itself so easily that I have to release it on occasion when I didn’t mean for it to cinch down.

Here are some statistics: The holdfast weighs in at 5 lbs. 6 oz. The shaft is 17” long. The neck has a 7” reach from the centerpoint of the shaft. The pad is 1/4” thick x 1-9/16” wide x 1-7/8” long.

Why does it work so well? My guess is that it’s the shaft. It measures about .985” in diameter all along its length.


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