Don't buy cast holdfasts

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Review by b1v1r posted 02-23-2019 07:47 PM 3382 views 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Don't buy cast holdfasts Don't buy cast holdfasts Don't buy cast holdfasts Click the pictures to enlarge them

As a part of my new workbench I bought some cast iron holdfasts. I really was not thinking when I bought these as cast iron does not flex as a holdfast must. In hind sight I should have bought forged or some modern hybrid.

Here is what I bought:

I also wrote up a review on Amazon as well, but these do not work at all. This came with two holdfasts. The first one worked well for the first few hits. Seemed not to lock well the first time on a new dog hole, but after a bit of wear on the hole if held well and released easily. However on about the 3rd or 4th time testing these it snapped clean in half. Thinking this was a flawed item, I tried the second one and it snapped in the same place on the first hit. Sigh. In hind sight it was a stupid purchase. Don’t make the same mistake.

If anyone has holdfasts that they like, please point me to them. I’m considering modifying my broken ones to do something like this from Veritas:,41637


-- Brian - Ellicott City, MD

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22 posts in 1456 days

25 comments so far

View ChuckV's profile


3370 posts in 4582 days

#1 posted 02-23-2019 08:45 PM

These are not cheap, but I have used them a lot and they are great!

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View EeerWoodworker's profile


24 posts in 816 days

#2 posted 02-23-2019 08:50 PM

I don’t really think it is an inherent problem that they were cast, but they were poorly designed and poorly cast.

Just to be fair to cast iron.

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Tim Dahn

1625 posts in 4619 days

#3 posted 02-23-2019 10:17 PM

Send those back to amazon.

Had these for several years $40 for a pair. Hit them as hard as you want, not going to break.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3027 posts in 1995 days

#4 posted 02-24-2019 03:12 PM

Chuck’s Gramercy holdfasts are a good recommendation, but order them from Gramercy Tools. Way cheaper.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Jacksdad's profile


249 posts in 1479 days

#5 posted 02-24-2019 03:14 PM

I did the same thing with ones I bought from the Woodworking Store, that was the name before it was Rockler

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186 posts in 3675 days

#6 posted 02-24-2019 04:25 PM

Can you tell where they are made?

-- Mother Nature always bats last.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3027 posts in 1995 days

#7 posted 02-24-2019 04:59 PM

The Gramercy Tools are made in the U.S.A :) Those cast iron holdfasts are probably made in China or Indonesia.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View therealSteveN's profile


7487 posts in 1629 days

#8 posted 02-24-2019 10:05 PM

Pretty sure “Yost” means cheap junk in Chinese. Always a fraction of what the good stuff they are made to look like go for.

Both the enclosed links are for the Gramercy brand, Joel sells good stuff, but LV may be a better spot to order from if they are having “Free Shipping”

-- Think safe, be safe

View JohnChung's profile


422 posts in 3129 days

#9 posted 02-25-2019 01:33 AM

I have used T-Deer holdfast from China. Using C45 steel. Works very well and does not crack.

View PlanBWoodworks's profile


174 posts in 1537 days

#10 posted 02-25-2019 03:31 AM

+1 on the Gramercy Tools holdfasts. I have a pair that have been fantastic so far!

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

View builtinbkyn's profile


3027 posts in 1995 days

#11 posted 02-25-2019 03:32 AM

I believe the Gramercy holdfasts at LV are from Gramercy Tools which is in Brooklyn, NY.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View HokieKen's profile


17296 posts in 2193 days

#12 posted 02-25-2019 02:34 PM

Another satisfied Gramercy customer here :-))

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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14 posts in 1363 days

#13 posted 02-25-2019 10:10 PM

I would highly recommend the Koontz-style holdfasts from Black Bear Forge. You can’t find the legendary Koontz holdfasts anymore but apparently he passed along his mojo to Black Bear. I have the heavy, traditional ones and they held perfectly from the first use. They have worked in anything from 1” to 4” bench tops. There is a bit of a wait as he hand forges them but it is also quite rewarding to support these old school blacksmiths.

View scopemonkey's profile


191 posts in 5218 days

#14 posted 02-26-2019 01:28 AM

I had the same problem with junk sold by Rockler. One whack with my mallet and they snapped in two.

-- GSY from N. Idaho

View gtrgeo's profile


158 posts in 1485 days

#15 posted 02-26-2019 02:45 AM

I had the same thing happen to one of those. I was to lazy to go get a mallet and hit it with a framing hammer. I figured that was the issue and my fault. I am not sure where I got it as it had been around the shop for years. One of my early purchases getting into the hobby. I think it was Harbor Freight but it may have been Rockler. Anyway being someone that always wants to fix things I lined up the broken pieces and drilled a hole straight down the shaft the correct size to tap a 1/4-20 thread. I opened up the hole in the top piece for clearance of the threads and screwed the longest 1/4-20 bolt I could to hold the pieces together. I have been pounding that holdfast for years and it hasn’t given up yet.


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