Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index

Bench Holdfast

It seems to me that bench holdfasts are a lot less common these days than they used to be. That's too bad -- they're really a great way to secure boards to a workbench. But don't take my word for it. If your bench has holes for bench dogs, you can build one for yourself. All you need is a common bar clamp, a scrap piece of bar stock, and a few minutes.

To make a holdfast, first remove the fixed jaw from the clamp by drilling out the rivet that holds the jaw to the clamp bar, as you can see in Figure 1.

Next, take a small metal strip and fasten it to the bar with a machine screw and nut, as shown in Figure 2. Then to complete the holdfast, you can "lock" the nut in place by crimping the threads of the screw at the end (Figure 2a).

To use the holdfast, just swivel the metal strip so it's parallel to the bar and slip it through a dog hole in the workbench. Then swivel the strip back to hold the clamp, as shown in Figure 3a.

I store my holdfast under the workbench so I don't confuse it with a regular bar clamp and so it's handy when I need it.

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