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Hold downs and augers

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Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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There is a technique to using augers in hard wood that I would like to pass on.

What has this to do with hold downs? Well, I have two Gramercy hold downs, and they are great. I also have a single Veritas hold down, and have wanted another as I think that they are the best. But I kept putting off buying one as the Australian Dollar has gone to Hell and they are now really expensive. But, about a week ago I came across two being sold extremely cheaply - the seller was really offering them as a gift - and I was the first to respond. Now I have three!

Storing the Gramercy hold downs has been easy enough. They simply slot into holes in the bench leg ...



The Veritas hold down is more of a problem. They cannot go into a leg like this as they project too far. As a result, the one I have lived in a dog hole on the bench ...



This is not ideal as it takes up wanted real estate. The bench is just 80" long.

I came up with a solution to drill holes in the bench leg, but on the outside, so they face inwards ..



Two issues here: the first is that there is a sliding deadman to consider. This is about 1 1/4" thick Jarrah, as seen in the first photo, and the 3/4" holes must not interfere with it. The second is that, while the holes for the Gramercy hold downs went through 3" of leg, the Veritas holes will need to clear 5" solid Jarrah.

The method here is used by all augers. I have Russell Jennings, Irwin and, as used here, Wood Owl, a Japanese make. The Wood Owl are the best I have used. They have 3 cutting faces verses the 2 on other augers.



The hex shank is, I believe, 7/16" across. This fits the 10" Stanley 2101 Bell brace I am using here.





If you have ever tried to use a brace and auger in hard wood, you will hear recommendations to get augers with fine lead screws (and that coarse lead screws are for soft wood). In my experience, it really makes no difference what you use in really hard woods. For interest, the Jarrah here came from roof trusses rescued when we completed a renovation 15 or so years ago. They had been baking in the West Australian sun for 15 years prior to that (yes, 30 years ago, West Australian home builders were still using Jarrah to build roofs!). Trying to drill through this wood requires a huge amount of down force and forearms like Popeye.

Enter the pilot hole.

The idea is to drill a hole slightly smaller than the lead screw ...



Once this is done - noting that my drill bit was 1" too short to clear the leg - you can begin using the bit and brace ...



The pilot hole provides the lead screw with enough side wall to grip, without also making it create a hole to enter. The force now needed to drill is a tiny percentage of that otherwise need. Below I am just balancing the brace and turning the arm. It feeds itself through the leg ...





Keep drilling until the tip of the lead screw just peeps out the other side ...



Then drill back from this side ...



This prevents spelching (blow out).

The holes are actually very clean. This is the worst - any damage here was actually caused by pulling out the auger bit ...



The edges were chamfered ..



For interest, I used this large chamfer bit from Lee Valley, which was also used 7 years ago when I added some round dog holes to the bench ...



Final result ...



Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Phil Pascoe

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I have found that when finishing the holes from the back it can pay to run the bit backwards for a few turns to score a line before the bit bites - there isn't much wood left and sometimes it tears. Sometimes that alone will cut it through.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Thanks Phil. That's what I did. The Jarrah is hard and brittle. Edges are vulnerable . I should have emphasised that there was no signs of spelching, per se.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Andy Kev.

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If I may be permitted a relatively trivial observation to this very useful thread: I don’t know how anyone can get on with holdfasts projecting away from the front of the bench as in the first pic.

I lasted about a week with that but deadlegged my thigh so often that I now keep the holdfasts in dog holes.
 

Inspector

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Derek when I want to drill a hole like that I take a block and drill through on the drill press. I clamp it and drill until the chuck stops me from going further. At that point I remove the guide and finish the hole without, there being enough drilled to guide the bit the rest of the way. I find it way easier than eyeballing along squares and such.

With the space you have between the legs you could have drilled a block with several holes on the drill press and attached the block between them.

I wish there was nice wood like that growing here instead of the Birch, Aspen, Spruce, Pine and a lot of grass. :wink:

Pete
 

Max Power

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I've also got two of the larger and one of the smaller veritas hold downs and can vouch for their usefulness. I bought mine years ago when they weren't as expensive, but they're certainly worth getting.
 

Bodgers

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I have the Gramercy hold downs as well. They seem to be the best value around, even in Europe.

I used a Japanese Star M F-Type 19mm bit from Workshop Heaven to cut the dog holes. The quality on these things is incredible for the money. The edge they leave in Beech hardwood is flawless. I'm not sure how they would get on in a hand brace though.

Dieter Schmid link:

https://www.fine-tools.com/bohr3.html
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Bodgers, Star-M manufacture the Wood Owl used here.

In addition to the awls used in a brace, I also have Star-M augers for the drill press. They differ by not having a lead screw ...



Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Bodgers

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Bodgers, Star-M manufacture the Wood Owl used here.

In addition to the awls used in a brace, I also have Star-M augers for the drill press. They differ by not having a lead screw ...



Regards from Perth

Derek
Interesting, thanks!

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