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Thread: Pronghorn Iron Works Holdfasts?

  1. #1

    Pronghorn Iron Works Holdfasts?

    Does anyone have experience with Pronghorn Iron Works Holdfasts? They seem attractively priced for hand forged (Gramercy + 20%). I prefer dealing with real people instead of large companies, if I can afford it.

  2. #2
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    I have a few of the Gramercy brand. They're made out of round bar stock, the same as the ones you're interested in. They've been bent and the tip flattened, not particularly labor intensive. The prices are not bad. If you like them, get yourself a set.

  3. #3
    As a side note, I wouldn’t consider Tools for Working Wood a “Large Company”…

  4. #4
    I recently got these, to replace some cast ones. Very pleased- a little roughing up of the shafts and they are working great. Can't beat the price.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/2940814...ed-woodworking

  5. #5
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    Are these made out of anything but A36 rod?

  6. #6
    I ordered two pronghorn iron works. For so reason I did not see the knight farm ones on etsy.
    I will see how they work, the front of my bench is 3 1/2" thick, the back is 1 3/4".

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick C Daugherty View Post
    I ordered two pronghorn iron works. For so reason I did not see the knight farm ones on etsy.
    I will see how they work, the front of my bench is 3 1/2" thick, the back is 1 3/4".
    Looking forward to seeing your review.

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

  8. #8
    Ok, the two Pronghorn Iron Works holdfasts showed up yesterday. Here are the results of a quick try out. The holdfasts are 5/8" dia. round bar stock bent with a hand forged shoe tip. I bought the regular length. Straight out of the package I tried them in the 1 3/4" deep dog holes on the back of my bench. They hold fast, firm, and tight on all the wood samples i tried from 3/8" up to 3 1/2" no problem, with what I would call a medium whack from my wood utility mallet..
    The front of my bench is double thickness (3 1/2") compared to the rest of the bench. The holdfasts would not grip a 3/8" piece of lumber in the deeper holes, as received. I tried roughening the surface with 60 grit sand paper, no improvement. The I roughened the surface with a medium hacksaw blade across the length of the holdfast. I tried several thickness of wood. In my bench, with my technique, I was unable to get the holdfasts to grip in the 3 1/2" holes.
    My next attempt will be counterboring the bottoms of the holes to get clearance. Plan is to drill a 1" spade bit up 1 1/2" from the bottom. That will leave a 2" deephole 3/4" in dia. sat the top of the door hole.
    After that I will glue leather pads to the bottom of the holdfast feet to keep from marring the wood, and see how that works
    More later.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the review Patrick.

    I tried roughening the surface with 60 grit sand paper, no improvement.
    Did you hold the shaft in the sandpaper and turn it? Going up and down on the shaft may not improve the holding ability.

    Though 3-1/2" is a bit of a stretch for a hold fast.

    My next attempt will be counterboring the bottoms of the holes to get clearance. Plan is to drill a 1" spade bit up 1 1/2" from the bottom. That will leave a 2" deephole 3/4" in dia. sat the top of the door hole.
    This will likely be a good solution. If you haven't already thought of it you might try centering a 3/4" dowel on your spade bit to keep it centered in the dog hole.

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

  10. #10
    I did apply the scratches from the sandpaper and the hack saw blades around the surface instead of along the axis of the shaft. I like you idea for keeping the spade bit centered better than my plan to plug the bottom of each hole with a short dowel that was center punched to aline the bit. Thanks

  11. #11
    Before you do anything permanent to your bench get yourself a piece of rosin. Just search amazon for violin rosin. Apply it to the shaft and see if it helps. Repeated attempts will also transfer rosin to the hole.

  12. #12
    My holdfast has no problem in a 4 inch bench. I made this holdfast 45 years ago when I barely knew how to operate a forge. The difference is that my holdfast has a tapered arm, not just a dinky little pad. The arm should have spring to it to work most effectively. Relying on a rough shaft is bad because it will chew up the hole long term.

    Roubo say that the holdfast should be very flexible and says the arm should gradually taper down to 1/6 of an inch (duex lignes). They hold in a 6 inch thick bench. One of my friends tapered the entire arm of a Grammercy holdfast so that it would work better.

  13. #13
    Finally got time away from my medical bffs. I counter bored one of the dog holes in the 3 1/2 portion of the bench. Counter bore was 1" +/- deep leaving a 2 1/2"long 3/4" dia dog hole. I have two holdfasts, one smooth as received, the other with roughed surface. The smooth holdfast would not hold even a little bit in the counterbored hole, but the roughed up holdfast held tight with no problem. So problem solved, rough up other holdfast and counterbore the rest of the dog holes.

    Here is where it gets interesting, after the smooth holdfast did not hold in the new hole, I tried it again in one of the 1 3/4" deep dog holes. Nope no hold what so ever, where previously it had held tight. Same mallet, same technique, only difference is the the bench and holdfast were at about 65-70 degrees F when first tested, and today because of the cold snap the bench and holdfast temp is about 45 degrees F. no other changes to either bench or holdfast. Trying to wrap my poor old age addled engineer brain around why a 20 degree temp would keep the holdfast from grabbing. The roughed one holds fine.

  14. #14
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    Trying to wrap my poor old age addled engineer brain around why a 20 degree temp would keep the holdfast from grabbing. The roughed one holds fine.
    Thinking more like an electrical engineer, doesn't resistance rise with an increase in temperature?

    Sometimes it seems wood is slippery in colder weather.

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post

    Though 3-1/2" is a bit of a stretch for a hold fast.

    jtk
    In my case, I have a 3 1/2" thick bench top, and Grammercy holdfast work without any modification. SOme years ago I was quite irked by a suggestion that they were poor designed, and made a very short video ...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OaI_E2Yv1O0

    If you struggle with standard holdfasts, and are willing to pay a little extra, the Veritas screw holdfasts are really excellent.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

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