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Holdfast - what have you got?

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Fanous

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I'm closing on my workbech build, gonna be drilling 19mm holes for holdfasts.

I was looking online what's out there, and it's a mix bag, and I can't make my mind up.

I'm looking for inspiration, and some good experience with that you use, so I can decide what to buy myself.

I've done a quick search here, and no such thread posted yet. So here we go then. Please let me know what you got.
 

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thetyreman

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I have the simon james ones, very good, but I hardly ever used them and did try them for a while on my bench but ended up plugging the holes.
 

Adam W.

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Got those Simon James ones (very good). I've also got the Lie Nielsen ones ( I don't recommend those ) and the Veritas with the big brass knob (very good).
 

Fanous

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Thanks for the notes. I was also looking at Sjobergs holdfast, which looks appealing to me. But that's almost £70 for one, and I'd imagine having two is a minimum. Anyone uses that clamp?
 

Inspector

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I prefer the simplicity and speed of the type you hit with a mallet to tighten or loosen.

My father used one for decades that was nothing more than a short length of 3/4" pipe with a cap on the end and a maple "arm" that was curved/arched so only the tip touched the work being held. Hit the pipe cap to set and the back end of the maple to loosen. Not much cheaper around but it wouldn't work with your 19mm holes.

Pete
 

grumpycorn

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I’ve got a couple of gramercy ones which were great value for money - not sure if you can get them easily now post brexit. I’ve also got an auriou holdfast which is an absolute beast.

I tend to use the gramercy ones as the go-to as they are a bit lighter, and the auriou when I really want something to stay put.
 

Ttrees

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Got one of these but don't use it much, as it's a bit of a fight to get it undone
P1010049.JPG


These clamps are in that German supermarket tomorrow!
The largest type are the bees knees
They have quick threads, nice chunky handles, and are great for the job.
Might be worth getting a bunch of them, could save you drilling holes where you don't want.
SAM_3936.JPG
 

adidat

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2 I'm selling, but bigger than 19mm


Adidat
 

Cabinetman

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I don’t think you will beat Gramercy for quality and strength, not the most expensive either. I have two but to be honest I really only ever use 1.
The firm I got them from doesn’t/ can’t sell in the uk from the US, but a firm in Germany sells them.
What ever you do never buy cast ones! Ian
 

Orraloon

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Really for such a simple thing as a holdfast some of the prices asked are a bit like being mugged. I bought a pair of cast ones made in China or some place close and still doing fine after about 10 years and I use them a fair bit. If they break I will think of something else. They cost about $30 (16 pounds) for a pair. Gramercy would have been $130 a pair. Even wood ones work or make your own.
Homemade Holdfasts - $5 for Two - YouTube
Regards
John
 
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Trainee neophyte

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I cut a couple of lengths of rebar, bent them to shape, and to my astonishment they work really well. I ground the bar smooth where you hit it because it was marking my mallet, but I have taken to using a 1.5kg lump hammer to knock them in and out. The only downside is that they really mark the work, so you need an extra offcut for protection. Two taps to tighten them, and two to loosen them. It is part of my zero cost treetrunk outdoor workbench project - all seems to work for the moment.

Longer term, I plan to make a forge so I will be able to shape the ends a bit more "professionally". At the moment, they look like bent bits of rebar.
 

Gavlar

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I have the Sjoberg ST03, which are great and very economical at 40 quid for a pair. Easy to use, solid and no hammering involved.
 

Alpha-Dave

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I have a pair of Simon James holdfasts (forged bar), I mostly use them with a portable bench made from a 40 mm thick ash board. They are really good.
 

Droogs

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I have a pair that were hand made by Richard T late of this parish as do many members here. They were based around the Gramercy design and have been excellent in use and durability. If I remember correctly a couple of the UK specialist woody tools stockists even carried them after the initial runs were made. They may still be available as new old stock.


 

Argus

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Droogs beat me to it regarding Richard T's hold-fasts.

I have a pair that first appeared all those years ago that are still working well.
The only thing that I can add to this is that after a few years, a few of the bench holes that had the most use got a bit worn and glazed, which did mean a little slippage and repeated re-tightening the hold fast.

The fix was easy.
A few light centre punch marks on the back and the front of the neck where it was in contact with the hole adds some friction and solves all that.
 

Cordy

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Yes, I have a couple of the Sjoberg ST03; excellent !!
Bought a few years ago from Axminster

LINK
 

John15

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+ 1 the Sjoberg ST03 holdfasts. I have a pair that have been in regular use for a good number of years. They are very effective and no noisy banging!

John
 

Spectric

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You don's say if you are a powertool user or prefer to wield the mallet, in which case your requirements are different and the workbench more substantial.

As a powertool user, albeit envious of those skilled with the mallet I only need a less substantial bench and use a few dogs with microjig dovetail slots to meet my needs, a very good all round flexible solution for me.
 

Blaidd-Drwg

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I don’t think you will beat Gramercy for quality and strength, not the most expensive either. I have two but to be honest I really only ever use 1.
The firm I got them from doesn’t/ can’t sell in the uk from the US, but a firm in Germany sells them.
What ever you do never buy cast ones! Ian

I second this. I've had Gramercy clamps along with Rockler and a couple pair of holdfasts that don't have names. I use the Gramercy exclusively unless I need to use more than 2 at a time, then I'll choose one of the others.
 

Cabinetman

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Really for such a simple thing as a holdfast some of the prices asked are a bit like being mugged. I bought a pair of cast ones made in China or some place close and still doing fine after about 10 years and I use them a fair bit. If they break I will think of something else. They cost about $30 (16 pounds) for a pair. Gramercy would have been $130 a pair. Even wood ones work or make your own.
Homemade Holdfasts - $5 for Two - YouTube
Regards
John
I am in the states at the moment, just looked and Gramercy holdfasts are $40 a pair so I think somebody was trying to lift your leg! I haven’t looked but I think you can get them from Germany for about €45 a pair, no doubt there will be packaging and other costs on top of that. Ian
 

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