Holdfast for bench

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Project by duckmilk posted 03-19-2019 10:46 PM 1061 views 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This holdfast was made for the 2019 Spring Swap which was a surprise swap that I didn’t join in but followed closely. When time for the reveals was getting close, EarlS, running herd over the swap, contacted me and asked me to make something for PoohBaah (Neil). Earl was afraid Neil wasn’t going to receive anything from his sender. I had previously offered my services to Earl for just such an occasion. Now I had just a day and a half to get this shipped.

The next morning, I went on a search for 11/16” round bar which would be just right to fit in a 3/4” dog hole, no luck. All I could find was 3/4” unknown steel so I had to reduce the diameter of the shaft to make it fit, which I was doing in pictures 2 and 3. Then I started shaping the foot (flat part) and next the bend for the springy part. I actually made two, but one wasn’t going to work.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures but I haven’t found a way to take them while holding hot iron with one hand and a hammer with the other. Action shots were taken by my wife whenever she happened to pass by.)

The next morning, I decided the one I was going to ship needed some more work, so I re-heated it and refined the curve and straightened the foot. I wish I could have spent more time on it Neil, but had to ship it out to you that afternoon.

Now, on to the one that wouldn’t work. The bend was not in the right place and was twisted. The day after shipping, I went to work on it. First heating:

Then into the vise for straightening the twist:

Next, it was on to putting the bend in the right place and thinning it a bit to make it more springy:

On this one, I drew down the upper part of the shaft to make it smaller in diameter:

And here is the result after final shaping, it measures 6 1/2” from the shaft to the tip of the foot:

My thanks to Earl for running a great swap and I’m very happy to have been able to contribute a little bit.

P.S. The gas cans in the background were in no danger, and, yes, it takes a lot of propane to run that forge ;-)

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

21 comments so far

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4137 posts in 1418 days

#1 posted 03-19-2019 10:51 PM

I like that little forge Duck. It’s bigger than mine. The double burner is nice but mainly I like the wide front opening and the option to slide something in the side like you did.

Excellent job on the holdfast too! I’ll have to find some steel and make a couple for myself. I have the Gramercy ones from long ago before I had a forge but using homemade ones would be pretty awesome.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 03-19-2019 10:58 PM

Solid gesture of your time and talent, Duck. That is some nice work. I’m sure he is happy with that.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View jeffswildwood's profile


4337 posts in 2656 days

#3 posted 03-19-2019 10:58 PM

Duck, you are the Man. Wood work, metal work, you seem to do it all. Really nice job on the holds. Also thanks for stepping up!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4809 posts in 1261 days

#4 posted 03-19-2019 11:01 PM

Excellent work under pressure, Duck! Kudos!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View duckmilk's profile


4026 posts in 2003 days

#5 posted 03-19-2019 11:04 PM

Thanks guys! Dave, most of my useful information came from Dave Switzer’s you tube videos (Black Bear Forge) which are a wealth of information and where I learned that 11/16” round bar works the best. Here .I think he buys his from McMaster.

I’m still pretty new to this game and my shoulder hurts, but I’ll keep on. I actually like a combination of forged work married to wood work and will explore that some more.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View bearkatwood's profile


1815 posts in 1690 days

#6 posted 03-19-2019 11:36 PM

Very nice work, first rate hold fast.

-- Brian Noel

View duckmilk's profile


4026 posts in 2003 days

#7 posted 03-19-2019 11:51 PM

Thanks Brian, kinda rough but it holds in an oversized hole.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View theoldfart's profile


11238 posts in 3130 days

#8 posted 03-20-2019 12:20 AM

Duck, solid work buddy. I have two of Dave’s Phil Koontz style hold fasts and the 11/16’s shaft works exceedingly well on my bench.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View EarlS's profile


3597 posts in 3027 days

#9 posted 03-20-2019 12:52 AM

I’m glad you posted this for everyone to see. You went WAY beyond the call of duty on this one. Those are some great action pictures. My shoulder, arm, back, legs, and everything else are sore just looking at all that work.

Thank you for helping out with the swap. I’m sureNeil is thrilled with the holdfast. Hopefully, you can participate in the BBQ Swap. Hat’s off to you and a big THANK YOU!!!!!

P.S. Like the cowboy hat

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View duckmilk's profile


4026 posts in 2003 days

#10 posted 03-20-2019 01:00 AM

Thanks Kev and Earl! I was worried because when I started this post, there was a warning that if it was not made of wood, it would be deleted, hence the word “bench” was added to the description lol

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Lazyman's profile


4812 posts in 2066 days

#11 posted 03-20-2019 01:10 AM

It is a woodworking tool Duck. Looks like fun and great last minute entry to the swap. You may have to change your LJ handle to ducksmith.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View HokieKen's profile


12842 posts in 1817 days

#12 posted 03-20-2019 02:37 AM

This is sweet awesomeness Duck! Let me know when you start selling these puppies. I’ll take two!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ToddJB's profile


8628 posts in 2809 days

#13 posted 03-20-2019 05:59 AM

Duck, awesome job, man! Glad that blacksmithing set up is earning it’s keep.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View PoohBaah's profile


521 posts in 2219 days

#14 posted 03-20-2019 10:54 AM

Yes I am grateful that you took the time to make me an awesome tool.

-- Neil, Indiana - Instagram: neilsalomon

View doubleG469's profile


901 posts in 1123 days

#15 posted 03-20-2019 12:04 PM

Solid work as always Duck!

-- I refuse to edit the photo orientation for this website any longer. It’s an issue they should address and correct. Gary, Texas

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