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Thread: Help with Gramercy holdfast technique - they are not holding

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Northeast MA
    So I messed arounf a bit and tried a few different things suggested here.

    THe one thing I did not try yet was to champfer the holes. I dont have a champfer that big and my champfer bit for my router is crappy.

    I did sand the shafts again and also dinged up the sides of the the shafts using the afore mentioned bigger hammer. That seemed to help the hold.

    I also roughed up the inside of the holes but that didn't matter mush seeing that it doesn't contact the sides of the holes.

    Phil mentioned the hourglass shape of his holes and as I kept trying things in the same hole it started to oval out in one direction which dramatically hlpe the holding to the point that if I pushed it down by hand it held really well.

    I may try the champfer later this weekend and I think I may ding up the sides a bit more with the bigger hammer.

    If all else fails I may try and get a holdfast created by a blacksmith, Flex Seal, or duct tape. ( Spare the duct tape, Spoil the job. Red Green)

    Thank you all very much for the suggestions.

    I will keep you posted.


  2. #32
    I made a holdfast out of round bar stock in 1978. This was even before Patrick Leach invented hand tools. I had access to a blacksmith shop so I thinned down the arm of the holdfast for a nice taper with some spring in it. I had seen the tapered Roubo holdfast engraving in 1973.

    One of my friends bought Gramercy holdfasts and ground them down for more spring. He posted pictures on another forum. I think they could be thinned more than this.

    gramercy holdfast.jpg

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Not a bad effort Warren, but still not traditional. You need that upset corner which is where the work comes in. I follow this guy on Instagram, he makes the real deal. A blueprint for anyone with a railroad tie, cross peen hammer and a way to make steel hot.

  4. #34
    I certainly agree.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Like most things in life, fast, easy and cheap is rarely best. That guy uses a trip hammer to make those holdfasts. Imagine how many swings of the hammer are required to replicate what he has done there.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    A suburb of Los Angeles California
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    Thanks for posting this. I was picturing thinning the wrong part of the holdfast.

    Since Black Bear Forge is not taking new orders, Pete's link is meh.
    AKA - "The human termite"

  7. #37
    Join Date
    May 2008
    A little off topic - I recently acquired one of these and have to say it is great,43845&ap=1

    An alternative to whacking with a mallet (albeit a very expensive alternative!)

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Stewie Simpson View Post
    Larry; I would recommend you view the following video.

    I was also going to post this video. I haven't had to do this to my Gramercy holdfasts yet, but I also used the Lee Valley 3/4 dog hole bushing, and I have found that the holdfasts usually take a good hit with the hammer to get them to hold. My bench top is 2 3/4" pine.

  9. #39
    I've used TFWW holdfasts for a number of years with zero problems. My experience has been like Derek's, the holdfasts have been a great product but I'm always open to a better way so I ordered two holdfasts from Black Bear Forge. I'll give them a go and report back on the difference if any.


  10. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    North Virginia
    I put some oil finish on my benchtop whenever I re-surface it. If any of that oil gets down in the dog holes, it can cause the holdfasts to slip. See if you can get a bottle brush and work the holes with a little mineral spirit.

  11. #41
    The Record and Woden screw top ones i have seen on Ebay have a barbed shaft. You could take a cold chisel and cut barbs; i have done this to slipping pipe clamps to good effect.


  12. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Hand stitching a holdfast's vertical post.

    Last edited by Stewie Simpson; 02-08-2019 at 12:48 AM.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    Did your holdfast need it Stewie? Were they not holding before? If so, any idea why?

    Note that I have demonstrated the holding ability of my Gramercy holdfasts, which have smooth, unblemished shafts and original heads. I wonder why they work and some others do not? Could it be something else, you think?

    Regards from Perth


  14. I used 80 grit sandpaper on my Gramercy holdfasts last night, and it made a lot of difference in their holding power. I imagine doing the hand stitching on them would improve them even more.

  15. I roughed mine up with some sandpaper as well. Found that they're a little weak, but always chalked it up to my bench being 2 1/4 spruce. What works best for me is giving it a good whack with my 2lb lump or my framing hammer, the wooden mallet never worked.

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