SYP Spilt-Top Roubo Workbench #5: Drilling Holdfast Holes

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Blog entry by grfrazee posted 05-12-2013 08:03 PM 6593 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Cost & Weight Estimate Part 5 of SYP Spilt-Top Roubo Workbench series Part 6: Plane Cabinet »

Happy Mothers’ Day everyone!

Finally got a chance to go back to my parents’ house for the weekend (i.e., the location of my shop). Went into the shop and this is what my bench looked like:

Looks like my dad has been at work in the 2.5 months I’ve been away. No surprises there.

I made a pair of holdfasts in a blacksmithing class last fall. When I made them, I tried to round them down to about 3/4”. Since they aren’t necessarily a standard size shaft, I had to do some experimenting to see what size hole I needed. Luckily I had a hunk of cutoff from when I made the bench that I could drill some holes in.

Turns out that 3/4” holes were the right size. I think the shafts are somewhere around 5/8”-3/4” round, but pretty irregular since I rounded down some 5/8” square stock. They hold pretty well.

I decided to drill the holes in the top using a bit brace instead of a power drill. I had bought a nice 3/4” Bosch auger bit for the task a while ago but decided against it. I figured I could get better control with the hand tool.

Once I got down to the bottom of the hole, I clamped a backer board underneath so the bottom of the hole didn’t tear out.

The first hole worked, on to the others.

Still going through. Luckily my 3/4” brace bit was sharp, the drilling went pretty fast.

And now the finished product. I think it took about 1.5 hours to do all the drilling and testing of the holes. Finally, I can use those holdfasts I made last year!


6 comments so far

View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 3437 days

#1 posted 05-13-2013 07:18 AM

very nice bench, just read through your blog. hoping to start on making me a bench but time constraints lack on usable work space atm has me on hold. I have a bunch of rough reclaimed lumber, mostly Oak that i plan on using, though i want to get maybe some nice Walnut maybe for my chop and “accents”.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3385 days

#2 posted 05-13-2013 01:56 PM

I had originally wanted to build this bench with reclaimed lumber but couldn’t find a source in my area. I hope we get to see your efforts on your own bench soon!


View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 3496 days

#3 posted 05-13-2013 02:02 PM

Love those homemade holdfasts. It adds another cool handmade touch to the bench.

-- Rex

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3385 days

#4 posted 05-13-2013 02:19 PM

Thanks Rex. They can be a bit finnicky at times, but definitely worth it.


View Kestrel's profile


1 post in 3084 days

#5 posted 05-14-2013 11:00 PM

Nice bench and holdfasts. Great opportunity and project for a blacksmithing class. I have a question about your
Moxon Vise, the screws, where did you get them? What are they called? Benchcraft has a set but $149.00, yours look like they would work great and probably less expensive.

-- Will, Moscow, Idaho,

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3385 days

#6 posted 05-15-2013 01:22 AM

Thanks, it was a good project for my blacksmithing class. More useful than making a railroad spike knife, anyway.

I got them from Lee Valley. I would direct you to the previous post in this blog for more info.


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