Tools for Working Wood
Holdfasts by Gramercy Tools
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Code: MS-HOLDFAST.XX
 One Holdfast. ($19.95) In Stock
 A Pair of Holdfasts (two holdfasts). ($34.95) In Stock
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Before the advent of the modern vise, holdfasts used to come in all sorts of sizes. Workbenches were covered with holes top and side for clamping work everywhere. The holdfast was sufficiently important to rate almost half a page in Moxon's Mechanicks Exercises (1678 - the first book on woodworking in English). But by the middle of the 19th century, as regular vices of all sorts of designs became more popular, the holdfast disappeared from view. It may be that the old ones were all hand forged and forged locally - to the best of our knowledge we have never seen a forged holdfast listed in any tool catalogue in the 19th century. But we digress. We have been using holdfasts of one sort or another since we started woodworking and our bench has also been drilled with 3/4" holes for this purpose. But the only holdfasts we could get were cast ones, which aren't very good, or really expensive hand forged ones, which can be quite nice, but also variable and expensive. So about a year ago, after getting a shipment of cast holdfasts that were so brittle as to be totally useless (though inexpensive), we gave up and started thinking about solutions. We ended up designing a tool ourselves: a modern holdfast, made of modern formed wire, in a modern factory. They work great, are pretty inexpensive, and have a low profile that won't get in the way of your woodworking.

The best part of holdfasts is how fast they work. You hit them on the top of the arm to lock them and on the side of the stem to loosen. In general they are used (and work even better) in pairs.

The holdfast is designed for 3/4" hole in a workbench top of a 1 3/4" thick or thicker. 6 1/2" reach. Maximum clamping 7 1/4" in a 2" thick benchtop. Patented. Made in USA.

Note: we have discovered that while the holdfasts work great they will work even better and in more benches if you just rub a little 150 or 220 sandpaper around the stems (not up and down, round and round)

"Holdfasts that really work...The masterminds at Tools for Working Wood have patented a process for making a holdfast that works extraordinarily well for an equally extraordinary price - Buy a pair. It will change your workholding for the better - instantly. (5 out of 5 stars)."- Popular Woodworking

Finally! A holdfast which works and is priced reasonably." - Frank Klausz
  
Customer Reviews:

Can't live without these

By: Jim McVicar (Aug, 2014)

I bought one of these holdfasts and only had to use it once to realize I needed a second one. No more messing with on the edge of my bench. One hit with a mallet and it's solid. A tap on the back and it's loose. Thanks to the team at Gramercy for this very well made, traditional gem.
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Great service

By: Tom Clifford (Aug, 2014)

Just a note to say thanks for the quick service. I received my holdfasts in four days plus a nice note from Marisa. Great service and nice touch too! Thanks Tom
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I Should Have Bought These Sooner

By: Jon Not John (Aug, 2014)

After years of clamping projects to my bench, I finally pulled the trigger on two of these. What a revelation! These fit perfectly in a 3/4 inch dog hole and tenaciously hold onto whatever needs holding! My bench top is 2 1/2 inch thick southern yellow pine (though I live the land of Douglas Fir) and these work wonderfully. Don't think twice about purchasing a set; you will love the quick, simple, and amazing holding power.
I own this product.

Hobby Woodworker

By: Craig Miller (Aug, 2014)

I purchased two of these holdfasts about a month ago and I absolutely love them. My bench top is 3 1/2" thick and I have no problem getting them to hold or removing them. Prior to purchasing these I was clamping everything to my workbench which took an exorbitant amount of time, now it takes just a couple of seconds to clamp wood to the bench. Great job Gramercy.
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Holdfast Variation

By: michael spexarth (May, 2014)

Best holdown going. Since you have gone to this effort, would it be possible to simply extend the leg, machine flat the palm of the arm, and make a handscrew fitting similar to a standard pipe clamp? Thus we would have a good 24" or so handy shop clamp, as well as a holdown.
I own this product.

Smokin' good holdfast

By: John Passacantando (Mar, 2014)

Bought two of these holdfasts after my second cheap cast one broke. These are terrific. Ancient design but nothing in my shop holds like these. Recommended on the Chris Schwarz Xmas list. I had to modify my bench as Gramercy recommends in the video, if your bench top is thicker than three inches, you have to widen the hole the holdfast goes into from underneath up to the 3 inch depth. Easily done with a foster bit and a piece of 3/4" dowel to center the bit. Will be back for more Gramercy tools when needed.
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Hold Everything. Well.

By: Brad White (Feb, 2014)

Having searched for a classic hold-fast (and going through at least one dramatic cast hold-fast failure), I was about to purchase a ductile iron model. I then stumbled upon the Gramercy hold-fasts and in that process, discovered TFWW itself as a bargain. I ordered a pair, the price could not be resisted. (These I use for the usual mortising functions, to hold dead-stops for planing and to hold down jig assemblies. Nothing exotic.) At first, they came loose without much side pressure. Re-seating did not make much difference. But then I read some of these comments and, indeed, the stems do need to be scuffed up a bit. I used a 60x sanding disk I had lying around, others said 80 grit, I suppose not enough difference. It did the trick! The work conventionally, tap-down to tighten, back-tap to release, fast and easy. The right amount of "spring" too, without fear. A spare set of over-sized old holes at the back of the bench make for handy storage in my case. As one refinement, I used Barge Cement (contact cement) to glue a pad of leather to the seating face to forestall marring. That or a block of wood will suffice, but I wanted to try something "attached". Seems to work just fine but time will tell. I recommend these highly, for performance, strength, looks and price, all in one package.
I own this product.I am the manufacturer of this product.

GREAT Holdfasts

By: Joe Beaton (Dec, 2013)

Best damn Holdfast I've ever owned!! Depth, length, strength, etc. = OUTSTANDING!!!
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Can't beat them

By: Guy Lautard (Dec, 2013)

My current benchtop is a 7-1/2' length of MicroLam, 1-3/4" thick. I drilled 3/4" holes in it for threaded rods for big hold-down fingers I made from 2x4's. They work, but the Gramercy Tools Holdfasts are faster. Can't beat the price, and they'll last several lifetimes. I bought 4. Got to make a mallet for whackin' 'em, now.
I own this product.

Mr

By: Gerald (Nov, 2013)

I have designed and built my own very basic Roubo-style bench. Money, time, skill and tools were all in short supply so I built the whole thing out of construction grade 2X6 studs using only 90 deg cuts and an old, dull D12 saw. The top is 5 1/2 inches thick. I do not have the money right now to buy any kind of decent vise so I thought I'd use holdfasts on the side in addition to the top. I am using the holdfasts from Gramercy and drilled nine 3/4 holes 10 inches deep alongside of the top. The problem is that the holdfasts will not clamp down to the side no matter how hard or at what angle I strike them. I've used them successfully in my sawbenches that are built out of 2X4s. One good whack with the mallet on top sets it tight, another whack on the side and a pull up frees it. The only thing I can think is that the 3/4 inch (slightly larger) holes don't allow the holdfast shaft to angle out-of-square enough to create enough torque or whatever. Otherwise they're great and well worth the money. Any advice or information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
I own this product.

Shop owner

By: WC Harris (Oct, 2013)

Recieved a pair of these holddowns yesterday - FINALLY something that actually does what it claims...Rockler selling cast holddowns for $14 which will not match these for longevity and/or function. I will be returning to buy in the future - Thanks - Bill
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Holdfast.... fast in both senses

By: James Pargiter (Oct, 2013)

Quicker than clamps or vises and they hold just as strong. BANG! you're clamped! BANG! you're free! Exceptionally well made. I've got a 4" bench top and 6" legs with dog holes. Clamps down well on both. I'm not exaggerating when I say mine are among my favorite tools.
I own this product.

Mr

By: Richard Andrew Law (Oct, 2013)

I don't know how any woodworker manages without a pair of these babies.
I own this product.

Professional woodwoodworker/ cabinet maker

By: Danny Hellyar (Oct, 2013)

I've had these Gramercy holdfasts for a couple of years now and just wanted to let you and others know how I love using them. So much faster and easier than other methods of clamping to the top of my workbench. Although I'm recommending users glue a piece of leather on the contact point to avoiding marring your wood. I haven't been able to find any other holdfasts of this quality any where near this price. Definitely one of the best values in my wood shop !
I own this product.

Great workers

By: Brian Hugo (Sep, 2013)

Works perfectly in doug fir 2.5 inch thick laminated bench top.
I own this product.

Excellent product and service

By: Greg (Aug, 2013)

Just got my holdfasts and they perform exactly as advertised. My brother in-law was visiting NYC but couldn't make it in to the store so I had it delivered to his hotel. The package arrived at the hotel the next morning and the cost was very reasonable.
I own this product.

Mr

By: Mike Aikens (Aug, 2013)

They hold tight, let go when told to. Don't cost much. As good as it gets
I own this product.

These are Fantastic!

By: Chris Griggs (Aug, 2013)

I can't believe I waited so long to buy these! They are hands down the best work holding device I have ever used. The fact that pair only cost me about $40 shipped is the icing on the cake. In terms of cost to usefulness there is no question that these are one of the highest value woodworking purchases you will encounter. Many thanks to Joel and the gang for producing such a excellent and so well priced item. I couldn't be happier with my purchase.
I own this product.

Work for me too

By: Dave B. (Jul, 2013)

Just got a set and (after some 150 grit) they hold great in my 3" thick bench. I also have holes in a 5" thick leg and they don't work there....yet. I think I have to relieve the back of the holes about 1" x 1" and then they will work great there too.
I own this product.

Super Duper Holdfasts

By: Judge E. (Jul, 2013)

I've had these since they first came out, seems like 5 years now. They are great, form, function, and tremendous holding powers. Love them and all the Gramercy products I own.
I own this product.

Top notch at a bargin price

By: Travis S. (Jun, 2013)

I have a pair of these for my 3 inch thick woodworking bench and they have awesome holding power after a few passes if 80 grit sandpaper. They have been in my garage for almost a year and they are the only metal item in it that I haven't had to clean rust off of. The metal is high quality and they look cool too! I will be buying more.
I own this product.

Mr

By: James Pring (Jun, 2013)

iThese are amazing. I don't have a split top roubo, only a cobbled together bench but these still work amazingly well. I am no longer chasing the work piece and my work is safer.
I own this product.

Mr

By: Geoff King (Wales,UK) (May, 2013)

I couldn't get anything like these in the UK but found these via a WEB search. They are wonderful tools which work extremely well - speeding up my work enormously. The service provided by the Brooklyn store (from Jocko Jorrin) was superb. I bought two but am about to order more.
I own this product.

What else can you say!

By: Thomas Priest (May, 2013)

Simple, Gramercy, TFFW. Built like a rock, nice pads, drop-whack-work-smack...nothing to it. Perfect function, expertly made and easy on the wallet...what else can you say...Keep up the great products TFWW, thanks for being a great American Business!
I own this product.

mr

By: Tom Dickey (Apr, 2013)

Great tool. Cost is good, they hold great. Shipped fast.
I own this product.

Holdfast Review

By: Rick (Mar, 2013)

These are the only holdfasts that work as advertised, and can handle repeated pounding with a wooden mallet. Other brands I have used have cracked/broken with repeated use. You can't go wrong with a pair of these
I own this product.

By: Tom Erbaugh (Mar, 2013)

Like all the other reviewers say, these hold great! Just pay attention to the instructions about the holes and the suggestion of using a leather patch. What REALLY impresses me is that you, Joel, figured out what was the essential feature of holdfasts, and then found a manufacturer to make them to that specification in the USA for the price you sell them for. Outstanding!!
I own this product.

"Magic"

By: David B. (Mar, 2013)

These work great in my 3" Doug Fir bench. I showed my six year old how they hold. He asked if they were "magic". I told him no, but I think yes.
I own this product.

Great Product

By: Kyle B. (Mar, 2013)

Just received a pair yesterday. They shipped quickly and with a quick wipe down they were ready to use. I have a 2" thick bench and they hold and release great with a moderate whack of the mallet. No more clamping to the bench with hand clamps!
I own this product.

Mr.

By: Brander "Badger" Roullett (Mar, 2013)

These are great to have in the shop, I use them quite a bit for work holding. I use them on my bench top which is 2x12 construction grade doug fir, with a 3/4" hole drilled where appropriate. It works just fine, and holds like the dickens. You'll want to have a beefy wooden mallet for whacking the back of the holdfast to get it loose, and for setting it. I find that having some small scraps of pine to rest on my work before whacking really helps with my thinner bench top, as it elevates the head a little. Recommended.
I own this product.

By: Mike in Tenn (Mar, 2013)

I don't have experience with other holdfasts but I don't think others could work any better, especially at this price. I should buy another pair. I can't get the 5th star highlighted all the way
I own this product.

Mr.

By: Pete van der Lugt (Mar, 2013)

I have four of these holdfasts. My bench's top is 3" thick. They are simply amazing. Not only do these work Perfectly, but if you have never used holdfasts, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. And you won't find a more economical set to try the process with. If you do hand work, these will very simply speed up your work, by offering a consistent and rigid way of holding your work. I can't speak highly enough of them.
I own this product.

Great holdfast!

By: Art Kieres (Mar, 2013)

Why did all previous standard style holdfasts disappoint so badly? These work great, hit to hold, hit to release. I use them every day and I've never had to barbarically beat on them to get them set like some other brands. Another wonderful Gramercy product.
I own this product.

The BEST holdfast value!

By: Jeff Morton (Mar, 2013)

I purchased one pair of the Gramercy Tools holdfasts and have put them through their paces. They are extremely well made and strong, yet work like a champ. I heartily endorse them and plan to buy another pair soon,
I own this product.

The Standard for Holdfasts

By: Adam Welker (Feb, 2013)

These holdfasts are elegant, functional, and you can't beat the price. Who knew it was so easy to make a great holdfast? I own four and use them everyday. I am adding a second bench to my shop and will get Gramercy holdfasts for it as well. Best on the market!
I own this product.

Great Job

By: Walt B. (Feb, 2013)

Just got holes drilled in my 3 & 1/2 inch hard maple bench top and the holdfasts work great. Was somewhat mentally hard to actually put holes in the bench, but have seen these in use too often on Roy Underhill's show. Really like them and having seen prices for blacksmith forged ones, really find the price exceptional. Great job.
I own this product.

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