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Buying Holdfasts in Australia?

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Forum topic by LumberZac posted 11-30-2020 01:18 PM 220 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LumberZac

27 posts in 53 days


11-30-2020 01:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: holdfast purchasing retailer australia

So I’ve done a quick google search and only managed to find a single retailer in Australia that sells holdfasts and sadly have to admit they looked pretty poorly made.
I don’t really need them urgently but does anyone know of a place I can get them?
Or possibly an affordable import that actually works and is of decent quality?

I guess there’s some historical reason holdfasts didn’t especially catch on here but I for one think they’re a great device; the best inventions are simple yet effective IMO.

-- I like to go against the grain, except when I'm planing...


7 replies so far

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Ocelot

2775 posts in 3607 days


#1 posted 11-30-2020 04:13 PM

The Gramercy holdfasts from ToolsForWorkingWood.com (Brokline, NY) are great. They are not cast, but made from 3/4” steel “wire”. Unbreakable.

Shipping cost to Austrailia is always a fright.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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SMP

3174 posts in 875 days


#2 posted 11-30-2020 04:23 PM

Maybe check Etsy? Quite a few homemade versions by home Blacksmiths that are everywhere since Forged In Fire. Maybe one that is nearby or is used to shipping there? Or maybe find/put out an ad in Craigslist? Its pretty easy for any amateur blacksmith to make, to bend a round bar and flatten the end.

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LumberZac

27 posts in 53 days


#3 posted 12-01-2020 01:53 AM


Maybe check Etsy? Quite a few homemade versions by home Blacksmiths that are everywhere since Forged In Fire. Maybe one that is nearby or is used to shipping there? Or maybe find/put out an ad in Craigslist? Its pretty easy for any amateur blacksmith to make, to bend a round bar and flatten the end.

- SMP

Ah, that’s a great idea.
You’re quite right; there are several available there. Still pricey but the ones I am looking at include shipping so really no more expensive at least.


The Gramercy holdfasts from ToolsForWorkingWood.com (Brokline, NY) are great. They are not cast, but made from 3/4” steel “wire”. Unbreakable.

Shipping cost to Austrailia is always a fright.

- Ocelot

I’ve heard Gramercy mentioned before, they sound reliable at least(as opposed to the cheap cast ones which I assume are too brittle for heavy or prolonged use).

Yeah, it’s the shipping costs that make it difficult. Buying anything ‘budget’ then spending half as much again for shipping feels like a waste.

If I use PostMate to get a pair sent through a proxy US address the cost comes out almost exactly the same as a pair of hand-forged ones that are 15mm thick rather than 19mm.

So my next question is how much that extra diameter matters?
I’m guessing the forged ones would still hold their own compared to the more pliable Gramercy 19mm but maybe it’s more of a factor than I think.
I’d probably go with the forged ones otherwise; they just have that extra character at the end of the day.

-- I like to go against the grain, except when I'm planing...

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SMP

3174 posts in 875 days


#4 posted 12-01-2020 03:34 AM

The diameter is more to do with the holes you make. In the US, its common to use 3/4” holes for holdfasts and bench dogs. 19mm is like .7486 inches so very close, whereas 15mm is closer to .59 inches. So a 15mm holdfast would need to have a 15mm hole, or maybe a 16mm hole.

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LumberZac

27 posts in 53 days


#5 posted 12-01-2020 09:12 AM


The diameter is more to do with the holes you make. In the US, its common to use 3/4” holes for holdfasts and bench dogs. 19mm is like .7486 inches so very close, whereas 15mm is closer to .59 inches. So a 15mm holdfast would need to have a 15mm hole, or maybe a 16mm hole.

- SMP

Naturally I would match the hole size but thanks for clarifying.

In terms of size I probably prefer the 19mm variety as a 20mm hole works quite neatly with decimals but I’m not actually going to measure using their span so the ocd part of my brain will just have to get over it.
The smaller size is probably more proportionate to the functional sawbench I’m going to build anyway.

I’m surprised the larger available size is for 3/4” actually; surely someone at some point said “screw it, I want a full inch thick holdfast!”

-- I like to go against the grain, except when I'm planing...

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paulLumberJock

55 posts in 168 days


#6 posted 12-01-2020 02:31 PM

I would buy a high quality commercially made one if I was you.
If holdfasts are not made right, they will slip.
I am sure some people on Etsy get it right, but others will not.
I would hate to see you spend all that money and get one that does not grip the dog hole well.

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SMP

3174 posts in 875 days


#7 posted 12-01-2020 05:06 PM

The smaller size is probably more proportionate to the functional sawbench I m going to build anyway.

- LumberZac

Keep in mind another key point of holdfasts is the thickness of the surface you are using it on. There is a sweet spot, usually a range. If its too thin it won’t hold, if too thick it won’t hold either. I have the Gramercy ones, my bench is about 1 7/8” thick and my saw bench is 1 7/8” thick and they work well in either.

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