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Thread: hitting holdfasts with metal hammer

  1. #1

    hitting holdfasts with metal hammer

    Is this an ok practice? I have the gramercy holdfasts and the crucible lump hammer. If I use my weighted rubber mallet I have to really pound on it to get a tight hold. I suspect this has to do with geometry issues in the holes in my bench. I find myself just using the metal hammer, but I am always a little bit afraid of causing chips of steel to fly or breaking the holdfast or something.

    20200205_085214.jpg

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Is this an ok practice? I have the gramercy holdfasts and the crucible lump hammer. If I use my weighted rubber mallet I have to really pound on it to get a tight hold. I suspect this has to do with geometry issues in the holes in my bench. I find myself just using the metal hammer, but I am always a little bit afraid of causing chips of steel to fly or breaking the holdfast or something.

    20200205_085214.jpg
    tt
    Gunter,

    I've used lump hammers on holdfasts for years and the Crucible hammer once they were available with no problems. The bounce of a rubber hammer makes it difficult to set a holdfast.

    ken

  3. #3
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    I also have the Grammercy holdfasts and generally don't use a steel hammer to set them. This hammer is made by Estwing and is about $15 at the orange box store. It seems to be a good compromise between steel and rubber or wood.
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    Regards,

    Kris

  4. #4
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    That's the one I use on molding plane wedges. I keep one in each of the molding plane tool boxes, along with a little brass hammer.

    Vaughn makes a similiar red, and yellow headed hammer with softer heads than the Estwing. I use if for some tile work. They're sold in Lowes.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 02-05-2020 at 6:12 PM.

  5. #5
    I have the same concern. I used dead blow hammer with nylon head. No issue and safer

  6. I use the Crucible hammer to set my Gramercy holdfasts. I've had no issues. If your Gramercy holdfasts aren't holding very tight, something you can do its to roughen them up with some 80 grit sandpaper, primarily focusing on the outside of the shaft. You can also make some small dents in it like a hand stitched rasp.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7lnfW4iT6o

  7. #7
    I've had those holdfasts since they started selling them, while I use a shot filled carving mallet (because it happens to store nicely in my bench).. I'd not worry about hitting them with a lump hammer. They're spring steel.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  8. #8
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    My problem with setting them hard is the apron on my bench has split on the underside.

    My holdfasts were made by Harry Strasil, AKA Junior. They have a 5/8" shaft going into 18mm-3/4" holes.

    Most of the time just pressing them with my bare hands holds them in tight.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #9
    I tried the sand paper thing and that sort of worked on my Gramercy holdfasts. Rubbing a little bit of rosin on them worked better. You can buy rosin that is used for the bows of string instruments for a few bucks and a block lasts a long time if you apply it every month or so. I think I got the idea from Chris Schwarz’s gift guide from a few years ago or maybe somebody mentioned it on this forum.

    With the rosin, I can set the holdfasts by hand and they work surprisingly well, but I tap them with my wood is good mallet when I went them to really hold.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Is this an ok practice? I have the gramercy holdfasts and the crucible lump hammer. If I use my weighted rubber mallet I have to really pound on it to get a tight hold. I suspect this has to do with geometry issues in the holes in my bench. I find myself just using the metal hammer, but I am always a little bit afraid of causing chips of steel to fly or breaking the holdfast or something.

    20200205_085214.jpg

    Hi Gunter

    There are two issues here. The first is whether you will harm the Gramercy Holdfast using a steel mallet? The answer is that this will not do so.

    The second issue is whether you need to "pound it", as you state you do. The answer again is a negative - this should not be necessary at all!

    I made this short (2 minute) video to demonstrate how I use my Gramercy Holdfast since I can write these things, and still others do not believe me. If you cannot do as I do, then your set up is the issue. I hope my voice does not send you to sleep ...



    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post

    I hope my voice does not send you to sleep ...

    Derek
    Derek, glad to hear your accent has not been corrupted by that Aussie twang.
    "If you have all your fingers, you can convert to Metric"

  12. #12
    I use a wooden mallet on my grammercy holdfasts. It works well on my bench.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  13. #13
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    Derek, you just called me a big guy in another thread, but I think you’re the one. I’d hurt my hand whacking that steel bar.

    I’ve sanded my Grammercy holdfasts per their instructions. My beech bench is 2-1/4” thick with 3/4” dog holes. I was using a 373 g Japanese metal hammer, but I was denting the softer steel holdfast with it. I even raised a little sharp burr that drew blood when I idly tried to flick it off. Also, the loud PING when I struck the thing hurt my ears. I tried a cheap rubber hammer and both dents and noise were solved.

  14. #14
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    Here is an old video of my holdfast being set with hand pressure > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eCf7TTsp2E

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
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    I use my wooden mallet, because it's always there at the bench. It just takes a gentle tap for most things, but if I need a vise like hold, a good whack will do the trick. And then it REALLY holds.

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