Holdfast recommendations?

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Forum topic by ynathans posted 03-12-2015 10:28 PM 1914 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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55 posts in 1501 days

03-12-2015 10:28 PM


I recently finished my first workbench (woohoo!). The top is 2×4’s turned on end.

I am getting ready to drill holes for the benchdogs and was looking at holdfasts. I was thinking about getting a few of the classic metal ones that you whack with a mallet. The benchdogs I ordered need a 3/4” inch hole and I wanted to get holdfasts that require the same hole. I found a : small one on woodcraft, it says the shank is 11/16” but that you should drill a 3/4” hole but a lot of the reviews say they drilled a 3/4” hole and it doesnt fit right. They also carry a large one but it wants a 15/16” hole.

Am I wrong to hope to drill one set of 3/4” holes that will fit both my benchdogs and hold fasts? Does anyone have a link to a quality hold fast that will fit a 3/4” hole?



19 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


7718 posts in 2582 days

#1 posted 03-12-2015 11:08 PM

These are the best and they fit 3/4” holes. Click the image.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View SPalm's profile


5300 posts in 3666 days

#2 posted 03-12-2015 11:21 PM

I will second the Gramercy holdfasts. They are great.
You can glue a leather pad to the end if you want some dent protection.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


14730 posts in 2402 days

#3 posted 03-12-2015 11:33 PM

I have them, use them, highly recommended.

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

View Mykos's profile


102 posts in 1579 days

#4 posted 03-13-2015 03:30 AM

The grammercy ones are the best you’ll get without having an actual blacksmith make some for you. At least the best striking ones. I’m sure the Veritas ones with the screw knob work well too.

View Pat3's profile


104 posts in 1663 days

#5 posted 03-13-2015 03:41 AM

Nathan, I have the Veritas surface clamps, they fit in 3/4” holes and work great in place of a holdfast, though not as fast as a holdfast.

Question for Steve & Paul: Does that Gramercy Holdfast work in a bench top that is 6” thick?

View WaylonWillie's profile


2 posts in 1038 days

#6 posted 03-13-2015 03:46 AM

Those grammercys work great, and take 3/4 holes, as others have said.

Go ahead and get the pair, it is really handy to have two.

View bondogaposis's profile


4399 posts in 2135 days

#7 posted 03-13-2015 04:08 AM

Black Bear Forge makes some nice ones.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View shipwright's profile


7718 posts in 2582 days

#8 posted 03-13-2015 04:10 AM

Pat3, my benches are 4 1/2” and 5” and they work well in both of those.
Your bench is a beast but at worst you might have to counterbore the bottoms of the holes a bit. My guess is that if they work in 5” , they will work in 6”.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View JayT's profile (online now)


5414 posts in 1995 days

#9 posted 03-13-2015 11:14 AM

+1 to a pair of the Gramercy holdfasts. Love ‘em. I put some leather pads on them to help prevent marring of workpieces.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View ynathans's profile


55 posts in 1501 days

#10 posted 03-13-2015 02:05 PM

Thanks guys, the Gramercy holdfasts it is. I came across the Jorgensen ones in my research but there were several complaints on Amazon that they shattered with the first blow of the mallet.

Thanks again.


View Pat3's profile


104 posts in 1663 days

#11 posted 03-14-2015 05:56 AM

Thanks Paul, appreciate the feedback.

View BikerDad's profile


298 posts in 3385 days

#12 posted 03-20-2015 07:01 AM

Another vote for Gramercy. I don’t know about the Jorgies (love their clamps), but my experience with cast iron holdfasts was “subpar”. The one I had would not hold. Period. I ended up getting so angry with it that I shattered it attempting to drive it through my bench.

After that, I swore would never get another cast iron holdfast. I’ve got the big honking Veritas holdfast, and two of the Gramercy holdfasts. Both types work well in my 3/4” holes, the Gramercy’s are simpler to use. (They weren’t available back when I got the Veritas.)

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View Oughtsix's profile


42 posts in 959 days

#13 posted 03-20-2015 08:19 AM

Not a holdfast per se but I use these a lot and love them! No mallet required.

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 961 days

#14 posted 03-20-2015 12:45 PM

Popular Woodworking had a positive review of the Gramercy holdfasts here

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Tim's profile


3599 posts in 1745 days

#15 posted 03-20-2015 06:14 PM

Yeah there are still hand forged options like the one Bondo mentioned if you like the hand crafted thing. Also if you need more holding power you can use a punch to create indents on the holdfast as in this video:

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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