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2M4A0079I 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 of a new design.

 Kreg Automaxx is a new line of work-holding clamps. Along with a 3″ and 6″ face clamps that automatically adjust to thickness of your workpiece as you clamp (great for pocket screw work), the company introduced a bench clamp system in which you can use a 3″ or 6″ bench clamp to hold your workpiece. These bench clamps also automatically adjust as you secure your work.

2M4A0080With a clamp plate installed flush to your bench top, you can hook either clamp via a small hex screw – that way your top remains flat and uninterrupted. With the clamp hooked into the plate, you have 360-degree clamping abilities. To watch a short video on Kreg Automaxx, click here.

Lee Valley’s new design utilizes existing 3/4″ round dog holes. The company introduced a toggle-clamp plate that fits into the holes. A Bessey auto-adjust toggle clamp is attached to the plate to provide a quick and strong solution to clamping along any of your existing dog holes. Or you can drill a new hole wherever you see fit. To watch a short video about the toggle-clamp plate, click here.

I’ll give both of these new designs a run once my bench is ready to go.

— Glen D. Huey


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Showing 5 comments
  • Cosmo

    I can’t imagine a reason why I would give up my Gramercy Tools holdfasts, With a scrap of 1/4 plywood to protect the work piece, I can securely hold work pieces over 5 inches. They are simple and elegant and doubt that they will ever break.

  • gumpbelly

    Not all such clamps are new, maybe not as old as holdfast`s, but they been around a few years.


  • cagenuts

    The unit with the Bessey clamp is half the price of the Veritas Surface Clamp. I prefer the brass look and feel of the Veritas but the new Lee Valley system has its merits. I just wonder if the hole spacing on the mounting plate will match up any existing toggle clamps (non Bessey for example) one may have already purchased.

  • David Cockey

    Veritas / Lee Valley had an even newer holdfast design at Handworks. It looks like a bent rod type holdfast with a hinge and locking lever added. Drop it in place with the lever up and push the lever down to lock it. Pull the lever up to release.

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