Holdfasts: Forge your own

That has been a rather long period without new posts. I sincerely apologize, but I have been busy with a lot of non-woodworking stuff. Also, a cradle has been added to the to-build list..

My new workbench hasn’t seen much progress in the last three months. However, I am now the proud owner of two brand-new holdfasts, forged by me, myself and I.

Again, I took a class at the “Haus der Eigenarbeit”, where I previously took the handtool woodworking class; this time, it was an introduction to forging (or blacksmithing? I’m not 100% sure about the right word here). Basically, we spent a day in a blacksmith’s shop, under the guidance of Marten Schmid.

My holdfasts were produced from a piece of round 18 mm diameter (that is slightly less than 3/4 in) mystery steel. Forging a holdfast actually is not too difficult, even I managed to do it with satisfying results. Provided you have access to a massive anvil, a forge and some hammers, that is.

First tests show that the holdfasts hold remarkably well – and because they are forged, they hopefully won’t break.

And now, please excuse me – in the last months, billions of blog posts waiting to be read by me have accumulated. I hope I will have more time for woodworking in the next months, some projects are waiting…

Thanks for reading!


~ by Michael on November 7, 2010.

4 Responses to “Holdfasts: Forge your own”

  1. Awesome work, I’ve forged a holdfast too, I have to fiddle with my design to get it to work on a 6 inch thick workbench. I’m going to take another stab at it soon.

    As for your terms, both are interchangeable. My assumption is that forging is a more “industrialised” term for blacksmithing.

  2. Very cool! Now you can be the village smithy! Congratulations on the workbench, the holdfasts, and needing a cradle!

  3. Thanks for your kind comments, Trevor and Steve! My holdfast design evolved from two contributions: firstly, the well known TLAR-approach (that looks about right), and secondly and more important, my very limited blacksmithing skills. Nevertheless, both holdfasts, which look quite different, work far better than I expected.

    Steve, I’m not quite sure if village smithy is the right job for me – it’s far too physical.

  4. Very nice, this is what finally convinced me to forge my own holdfast, not that I have but I will soon. how long was the steel bar when you started and how big a holdfast did you end up with. Gramercy holdfasts are just a tiny bit small for my bench, and I’m wondering how much steel I should get.

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