Making your own holdfast ...

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Forum topic by blackcherry posted 11-23-2012 02:01 AM 6700 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3251 posts in 2911 days

11-23-2012 02:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip

Just read this online on how to convert a bar clamp to a holdfast for your work bench…

12 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


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#1 posted 11-23-2012 02:47 AM

Cool idea. Thanks for sharing.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View RussellAP's profile


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#2 posted 11-23-2012 04:49 AM

That’s a great idea, you could do the same with round bar clamps too and you don’t have to drill, just put the end on and run it up tight.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Roger's profile


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#3 posted 11-23-2012 01:39 PM

Very slick. Thnx for the link

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


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#4 posted 11-23-2012 01:55 PM

Great idea.

View 489tad's profile


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#5 posted 11-23-2012 04:35 PM

Good tip. A couple of my clamps have removalbe heads.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View hhhopks's profile


637 posts in 1465 days

#6 posted 11-23-2012 05:15 PM

So, why are good traditional holdfast so expensive?
It seems to be just a 1/2” bar bent in shape with bent tip pounded flat.

Anything special about the steel?

Can someone share some light on the difference?

Has anyone actually made their own traditional holdfast?

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View blackcherry's profile


3251 posts in 2911 days

#7 posted 11-23-2012 05:46 PM

It a long process to make using carbon to heat up the cold steel and plenty of pounding….

View Howie's profile


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#8 posted 11-23-2012 11:08 PM

Looks good, think I better make a couple. Thanks for the tip.

-- Life is good.

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#9 posted 11-24-2012 12:14 AM

Well, if that ain’t the coolest idea I’ve seen in a while. Thanks for sharing.

-- "There are two theories to arguing with a woman....neither of them work"

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#10 posted 11-24-2012 04:31 AM


Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Dave's profile


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#11 posted 11-24-2012 09:38 PM

nice tip

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View jim_hanna's profile


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#12 posted 02-18-2014 10:19 AM

I was intrigued by the idea of using a batten with a birdsmouth notch to hold a piece against a single dog for planing after seeing a video demo ( at link. It looked really effective at holding the stock for diagonal planing, yet the stock can be lifted and flipped over very quickly.
An essential for using the birdsmouth batten is some sort of holdfast to clamp it down to the bench.
The large solid metal holdfasts which you fix with a hammer are too pricey for me as is the Veritas Bench holddown with the screw tightening.

Also all of the above have long stems which stick down below the bench when holding thin stock, I don’t really want to lose my underbench shelving.

I found this design using an F clamp with the head removed and a swivel added to the end of the bar. Unfortunately any F clamps I have with a decent sized throat are much too big to go through my ¾ dog holes.

Then I found the Sjoberg QSh holdfast, it doesn’t protrude below the bench and looks a bit like an F clamp with the head removed and a kink in the stem to wedge it in the bench.

To make something like this I drilled out the pin on a large F clamp to remove the head, then drilled out another hole further up the shaft offset enough to give me a kink something like the catalogue holdfasts.
I used a 4” long ¾ UNF bolt as the stem to enter the bench. After knocking down the threads a bit the bolt is a good fit in my ¾ dog holes, it locks down the work solidly in my 2 ¾” thick pine bench, total cost very little.

My holddown made from the F clamp and ¾ bolt was so useful that I’ve made a second one. The washer on the bolt is just a repair washer drilled and filed out to ¾. It’s nothing to do with the wedging clamping action, it’s only there to stop the end of the clamp bar dinging the bench when I push the bolt into the dog hole (DAMHIKT)

-- Jim

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