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Gramercy Holdfast

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Review by TheGravedigger posted 1334 days ago 5327 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Gramercy Holdfast No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This article was originally posted on the Little Good Pieces blog on September 25, 2010.

This one definitely comes under the heading of “why didn’t I do this sooner?”. Let me say up front that this recommendation is completely unsolicited and uncompensated.

I had read for years about the usefulness of holdfasts, Everyone from St. Roy to Christopher Schwarz had sung their praises, but somehow I never got around to them. Most of the ones I saw were the old cast ones, and they just didn’t look quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but they didn’t look like they would work as advertised.

Then, one day, I stumbled onto the ones made and sold by by Tools for Working Wood. These holdfasts, made from heavy wire, LOOKED like they would truly work. I put a pair on my wish list and settled down to patiently wait.

Finally, two weeks ago, I gave up on ever getting them as a gift and just ordered a pair. I was amazed. They locked with a tap and released just as easily. Gone were the days of using F-clamps to hold boards down on the bench. It was a revelation. My only modification was to add leather pads for cushioning. The one problem that I’ve noted is that the holding power decreases somewhat as the head is extended further out of the hole, as when holding thicker stock. When hand mortising the edge of a board, for example, the holdfasts tend to work loose as the piece is manipulated. Using two holdfasts helps with this, but keep your mallet handy for a quick cinch-down. Hey, it’s STILL faster than F-clamps!

If you aren’t already using holdfasts, I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’ve become my holding method of choice if I don’t need access to the entire top of the board (planing, etc), and have made mortising and dovetailing more efficient. Give ‘em a try!

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog: http://littlegoodpieces.wordpress.com




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TheGravedigger

963 posts in 2622 days



14 comments so far

View PeteMoss's profile

PeteMoss

203 posts in 2068 days


#1 posted 1334 days ago

I’ve always wondered. Thanks.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View DrewM's profile

DrewM

176 posts in 1597 days


#2 posted 1334 days ago

Thanks for the review, I guess I need get around to drilling dog holes in my bench and get some holdfasts.

-- Drew, Delaware

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2372 days


#3 posted 1333 days ago

Thanks for the info. Might have to hurry up and put these on my stocking stuffer list.

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Hawkins's profile

Hawkins

5 posts in 2425 days


#4 posted 1333 days ago

I had some cast ones, they didn’t hold very well, and one of them broke when I set it. The Gramercy ones are amazing!

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#5 posted 1332 days ago

I was raised with hold fasts.
I had my local blacksmith made me three of them for $10.00 each and they work perfectly.

-- Bert

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TheDane

3650 posts in 2261 days


#6 posted 1332 days ago

Good review … convinced me I should make the leap, so I just ordered a pair!

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#7 posted 1332 days ago

“There are also the ones from Harbor Freight for something like a buck each. I bought four, they work perfectly in 3/4 bench holes and I have yet to break one. For the life of me I cannot find them on their site under “hold fast.””

At first I had a very good experience with them but then I broke each one of them because they are made of cast iron.

Gerry, the hold fast I had made were working so-so at first ( they were holding OK but they were difficult to get loose and to remove) but then I enlarged my 3/4 holes in the bench to 15/16”, they now work much better;they hold better and they are much easier to remove.

-- Bert

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TheDane

3650 posts in 2261 days


#8 posted 1332 days ago

Bert—Thanks for the feedback. I had thought about ordering the HF versions myself (glad I didn’t based on your experience), but the shipping cost on them dampened my enthusiasm (no local HF store).

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#9 posted 1332 days ago

“no local HF store”
Lucky you.
I am addicted to HF

-- Bert

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b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#10 posted 1332 days ago

“15/16” ” be careful about this dimension, in fact I think that it is 13/16” ,one size bigger than 3/4”.
Sorry for the mistake.
Bert

-- Bert

View BigEd's profile

BigEd

43 posts in 2036 days


#11 posted 1330 days ago

I just got a pair of the gramercy holdfasts myself. I too don’t know how I got along without them. They work well and are made in the USA.

-- BigEd, sawdust maker in Ohio

View Neightdogg's profile

Neightdogg

48 posts in 1623 days


#12 posted 1329 days ago

Seems like a real frustration saver

-- Nathan

View Tim29's profile

Tim29

307 posts in 1748 days


#13 posted 1307 days ago

I have a pair of Jorgenson hold fasts that I love. I would like to have a pair of these simply because they look so neat.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

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