28 November 2014 at 11:16 am #121573
I have some holdfasts waiting to go in, and was wondering if anyone here uses them with a pine bench? I’m concerned that the holes will wear too quickly and render the holdfasts useless in little time.
I’m toying with the idea of letting in tapered hardwood blocks and then boring through them, but it’s a lot more work than just drilling a hole so if it’s not necessary I’d rather not.
My bench top is also thinner than the PS spec, at 2in.
Any advice gratefully received.
Southampton, UK28 November 2014 at 11:32 am #121574DaveParticipant
I’ve been using holdfasts (the kind you hit with a mallet) for a few years now and haven’t noticed any issues with them. My bench is about 3 in thick.
-Canada28 November 2014 at 12:56 pm #121576Eddy FlynnParticipant
i’d use them and if the bench holes becane to big i,d just set in some hard wood rings to bring the size back to the required size, the rings could be made easy enough with a hole saw attached to a drill/driver
Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
,30 November 2014 at 7:58 pm #121655
Thanks for the replies guys.
I tried putting a couple of holes in my narrower end apron, 4in, to start with, and found that it didn’t hold well after a few uses and became completely useless pretty quickly. I think contamination on the outside of the holdfasts transferred to the inside of the holes, so I’ve cleaned them off, but it’s left those two holes unusable.
Before drilling any more holes I’m going to do a few more thorough experiments in scraps than I did to start with, just in case the hole size/depth is a problem too.
Southampton, UK30 November 2014 at 8:33 pm #121656David PerrottParticipant
I just bought a pair, from tools for working wood. If you look at their website, they have a video showing how to use them. toolsforworkingwood.com30 November 2014 at 9:21 pm #121658George BridgemanParticipant
I’ve been using holdfasts in my bench top for a while and haven’t had a problem but my top is 3 1/2″ thick.
There’s a trick to get holdfasts gripping better in really thick benchtops but it might also work for thinner tops. Might be worth a try. Have a look here:
"To know and not do is to not know"1 December 2014 at 1:37 am #121668Frank JosephParticipant
I have used hold fasts for 40+ years never a poor hold. If the wood is soft pine it can deform, or if its to thin . Tops need to be about three inc. Plus if you do not have three in. You can glue and screw a thicker section along the dogs row. Also as George is showing you can add grip to the hold fast. Dimple it or run cuts around the shank. Care given not to over do it its a little goes a long way thing.
George good to see you back your wisdom was missed.
In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.1 December 2014 at 7:54 pm #121679
Thanks for your advice everyone.
I swiss-cheesed a bit of scrap pine today to work out what was going on. Turns out that, for this particular set of holdfasts, my 4in apron is too deep. Optimum thickness seems to be about 2-2.5in, where they grip really well. Thicker than about 3in they don’t hold at all. I’ve drilled out one old hole oversize and let in a 2in oak block through which is bored the right sized hole, and it works really well.
Having cleaned the shanks off to eliminate contamination as the problem, my best guess is that the comparatively lightweight shank (10mm) flexes too much for the deeper holes, though I will admit to having limited understanding of the mechanics involved.
Southampton, UK1 December 2014 at 8:00 pm #121680
Here are a couple of photos in case that explanation wasn’t clear.
Southampton, UK1 December 2014 at 10:42 pm #121695Charles ClelandParticipant
Matthew, it appears to me that you are going about this the hard way…I would suggest that you drill a small (1/4″?) pilot hole through the entire apron so you have a reference on top and bottom of the apron. Drill the appropriately sized hole for holdfast from the top to about 3 inches depth (or another dimension that allows the holdfast to work). Then from the bottom drill an oversized hole until it meets the correctly sized one, in effect reducing the thickness of the apron as far as the holdfast is concerned. I have seen this recommended in several places to remedy the situation you are in. I have not noticed any deformation in my 3″ thick Douglas Fir top, but I have mostly converted to the PS “clamp in a vise method” and don’t use my holdfasts too much anymore.
Washington State, USA
My own humble blog:
http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/1 December 2014 at 11:40 pm #121698
Hello Charles. Yes, this was a faff, because I wanted a hole in the same position as the one I mentioned earlier that had been contaminated. Hence drilling out and the new block.
I will be using the method you have suggested for the new holes where necessary, though as most of my benchtop is 2in I should just be able to drill the one hole straight through.
Southampton, UK3 December 2014 at 3:48 pm #121769hhcraftParticipant
i have 3″ pine bench top and i use holdfast reguraly without any problem3 December 2014 at 4:04 pm #121771STEVE MASSIEParticipant
I have been using them in my HD wood ( 2 X 4’s laminated on edge ) Paul Sellers style bench for over a year now with no issues.
Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US3 December 2014 at 7:15 pm #121793
I’ve drilled the back row now and they’re working very well. Just got to work out where I want my front row and drill it, then I’ll be a full convert.
Glad to see so many members here use holdfasts, it’s such a quick, effective and time-worn way to hold work and deserves a strong following. It’s also nice to know they weren’t wasted money.
Southampton, UK3 December 2014 at 7:52 pm #121794mikalParticipant
My 2 (euro) cents:
I don’t have holdfast even though I’d like to – don’t even have long enough clamps to use as clamp-in-a-vise, nor a tail vise. Long list of tools I want, I’m a hand tool beginner.
But last summer I did some building outdoors, and used all kinds of imporovised & temporary benches. There I often used this wedge-vise, that was super simple and worked well. Time-tested too, I read somewhere it was used by ancient Romans too!
Now I use it indoors too on my bench, and I like it.
, except that I don’t bother with the tapered edges, my pieces are smaller, and I just use small dowels to keep the pieces in place.
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