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Do hold downs work for you?

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Forum topic by crank49 posted 11-18-2011 08:22 PM 1387 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crank49

3458 posts in 1661 days


11-18-2011 08:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question workbench accessories work holding

I guess this is a dumb question, but I got some cast, 3/4” hold downs at Woodcraft a while back and they don’t work for me.
My bench top is 4 layers of 3/4” plywood with a sacrificial top of 1/2” MDF and 1/8” hardboard. The total thickness, thanks to the magic of undersized plywood, is 3-1/2”. I drilled my dog holes 3/4”.

When I try to set a hold down with a good rap with a mallet (or hammer) it either dents my workpiece or just sits there, free as a bird. I never seem to get that wedge effect.

Any suggestions what might be wrong?

Would forged steel hold downs be better. I can see where they would have more spring than cast ones.
I work for a steel fabricator/general contractor and could make my own quite easily from steel rod.

Is it my bench top? Too thick? Too thin? Too soft?

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H


6 replies so far

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2614 days


#1 posted 11-18-2011 10:41 PM

I have a bench that is 2 layers of 3/4” Plywood and have no problem at all. The holes must be at a perfect 90 degrees. I am using hold downs I bought from Veratas only they are a bit expensive.. I always use a thin piece of scrap wood or leather to prevent marring my work because even if no marks are visible it compresses the wood and you may see it when applying the finish.

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CubsFan

26 posts in 1704 days


#2 posted 11-18-2011 10:58 PM

I just got mine from Gramercy. They seem to work pretty well in a top which is 4 layers of 3/4” MDF. Though, I will need to find some leather or something to make sure they don’t hurt the wood.

View BobLang's profile

BobLang

101 posts in 2090 days


#3 posted 11-18-2011 11:05 PM

Are these made my Jorgensen, or a generic import? Jorgensens work well, the imports tend to either not work, or break when you hit them.

Your top is likely too thick. These things can be fussy, you might dry different thicknesses of stock to find what works. If you can, counterboring from the bottom side will effectively making the top thinner.

Bob Lang

-- Bob Lang, http://360woodworking.com/

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BobLang

101 posts in 2090 days


#4 posted 11-18-2011 11:05 PM

Are these made my Jorgensen, or a generic import? Jorgensens work well, the imports tend to either not work, or break when you hit them.

Your top is likely too thick. These things can be fussy, you might dry different thicknesses of stock to find what works. If you can, counterboring from the bottom side will effectively making the top thinner.

Bob Lang

-- Bob Lang, http://360woodworking.com/

View AlbertaJim's profile

AlbertaJim

47 posts in 1119 days


#5 posted 11-18-2011 11:09 PM

Two possibilities.
1. Check out Gramercy’s site for information about how to use their holdfasts. http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com//Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=NEXT&StoreCode=toolstore&nextpage=/extra/blogpage.html&BlogID=251 a. They recommend only a 3” top. Counterbore the bottom to make it 3” to give the holdfast room to grab. b. Also use coarse sand paper perpendicular to the shaft entering the hole. This gives a rougher surface to grab into the hole.

2. When I started using my holdfasts in my three inch top I noticed that I have to smack the holdfast toward the verticle peg. If I do it with my hand in this way it holds pretty well.

-- My Boss was a carpenter

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#6 posted 11-18-2011 11:22 PM

I have the Gramercy hold-downs and they do a fine job for me. About 2 good raps with a mallet is all it takes.

My bench is Douglas Fir with a 3/5” thick top … when I drilled the dog holes (3/4”) I used one of those Wolfcraft Drill Guides to make sure I was going in at 90-degrees, and a masonite template to make sure I got the hole spacing where I wanted it.
Click for details

—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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