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Holdfasts....how many?

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Forum topic by Chairmaker14 posted 08-09-2021 10:28 AM 1024 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chairmaker14

15 posts in 1767 days


08-09-2021 10:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: holdfast gramercy holdfasts workbench clamps

How many holdfasts should one have for your workbench? Can you get by with 2, or should one have 3 or 4 or more?


43 replies so far

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SMP

4840 posts in 1152 days


#1 posted 08-09-2021 01:06 PM

really depends on what you are making and how many other vises and clamps you have, and the design of your bench. I have 2 but usually only use 1.

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Robert

4744 posts in 2727 days


#2 posted 08-09-2021 01:17 PM

If you mean bench hooks, as many as you need.

I have one and pretty much only use it for chopping dovetails.

Don’t drill any holes until you start working, then figure the optimal location(s).

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Tony1212

608 posts in 2981 days


#3 posted 08-09-2021 01:26 PM

I have two. I usually only use one at a time, but I’ve used both for longer pieces that can rotate around a single clamp point. I also have a face vise and bench dogs to help hold things in place.

If you have holes in the bench for holdfasts, you can use them for bench dogs. In that case, I think 2 would be plenty. But I’m sure you will run into a case, once every 10 years, where having a third holdfast would be beneficial.

You can just buy one and once you’ve used it for awhile, buy more if you find that you need them.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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Lazyman

7990 posts in 2633 days


#4 posted 08-09-2021 01:34 PM

A lot of people don’t use them at all and simply use dogs, hooks and stops in ways that allow them to not need them. Probably 90% of the time you will only need one but a second will help when you are working on a piece that is badly warped so that the dogs don’t work well. I think it would be very rare that you need more than 2 and you could probably just pull out a clamp in that rare occasion and clamp along the edge of the bench for a particularly difficult and large board.

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

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

17534 posts in 3864 days


#5 posted 08-09-2021 02:34 PM

I have three… two of the ‘whack them’ types and one that is the veritas hold-fast.

I don’t recall ever using all three at the same time, but I do think having to veritas tool is a great option to have at times.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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theoldfart

12870 posts in 3697 days


#6 posted 08-09-2021 03:03 PM

I have two and use both frequently.

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

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Chairmaker14

15 posts in 1767 days


#7 posted 08-09-2021 03:05 PM

Thanks for all the great replies. There seems to be a shortage. I managed to find one holdfast, but with a 3/4” shaft which apparently means I need 1” holes. I’ll go with the advice on not drilling til I figure out where I need one.

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HokieKen

19393 posts in 2384 days


#8 posted 08-09-2021 03:13 PM

I have two and use them together often. I have specialty vises and tools like miter saws that are mounted on boards. I set them on the bench and use both holdfasts to hold them in place and prevent rotation. Of course there are many ways to skin a cat and I could use bench hooks instead. It’s just easier to store stuff for me when it sits flat.

Basically it boils down to one holdfasts can hold most things down but you need a second constraint, a second holdfast or a hook or dog etc. etc., to prevent it from rotating as well.

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

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SMP

4840 posts in 1152 days


#9 posted 08-09-2021 03:30 PM



Thanks for all the great replies. There seems to be a shortage. I managed to find one holdfast, but with a 3/4” shaft which apparently means I need 1” holes. I ll go with the advice on not drilling til I figure out where I need one.

- Chairmaker14

there may be a shortage of the nae brand makers. but if you look on Etsy plenty of blacksmiths there sell them. its basically a bent piece of 3/4” steel bar, so doesn’t need any special skill really.

as for placement, Chris Schwarz offers some good recommendations in his Anarchist Workbench book. the pdf is free and searchable.

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controlfreak

2908 posts in 847 days


#10 posted 08-09-2021 05:04 PM

I bought two of the iron ones made and sold on Amazon but never got a good bite. I bought two from Gramercy and after roughing up the shafts a bit, love’em. I often use two but never found myself wishing for a third….yet. I placed one row of 3/4” holes in the bench that line up with the wagon vise and planed to add more when needed but never found the need yet. The holes accept both bench dogs and holdfasts.

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Johnny7

692 posts in 2336 days


#11 posted 08-09-2021 05:10 PM

2 hold fasts and a “doe’s foot”

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Thedustydutchman

84 posts in 153 days


#12 posted 08-09-2021 05:14 PM

I started with one and only drilled the holes as I needed them. I just ordered a second this weekend. I got mine from a guy on ebay out of New Mexico. Very nice blacksmith made and used a file to rough up the shaft and they work beautifully.

Oh and a doe’s foot is a PERFECT addition to the holdfast.

-- Jerry H - Holland Michigan

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Chairmaker14

15 posts in 1767 days


#13 posted 08-09-2021 05:21 PM

Jerry H.
Can you post the blacksmiths name?


I started with one and only drilled the holes as I needed them. I just ordered a second this weekend. I got mine from a guy on ebay out of New Mexico. Very nice blacksmith made and used a file to rough up the shaft and they work beautifully.

- Thedustydutchman

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Chairmaker14

15 posts in 1767 days


#14 posted 08-09-2021 05:22 PM

Thank you, never knew what a “does foot” was til today.


2 hold fasts and a “doe s foot”

- Johnny7


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gtrgeo

191 posts in 1676 days


#15 posted 08-09-2021 09:36 PM

I can’t speak for the the dustydutchman but I believe these may be the ones he is referring to. I believe this guy sells on both Amazon and Etsy.

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