Friday, June 6, 2014

The Benchcrafted Hand Forged Holdfast

Based on an extant French holdfast, the Benchcrafted holdfast is hand forged from carbon steel. The holdfast is made in America. 

Made completely by hand using traditional blacksmithing methods, our holdfast grabs quick and releases just as quickly.

Design to work in a 1" hole, the 7/8" diameter shaft is 18" long (13" under the pad)  with a total reach of 8". The pad is 1-1/2" wide. Best used in thick Roubo-style tops.The bench in the video is about 5-1/2" thick. For any holdfast to work properly, the hole must be perpendicular to the top surface.

These are different than the holdfast described and illustrated in Roubo. The pad is more of a square shape, and the profile of the arm terminates in an angular facet on the underside. It's a cool, yet time consuming detail to execute. There are certainly less expensive ways to make a holdfast. We made these because our prototype worked so well, and we liked the look. Simple as that.

Many holdfast shafts are sized to be just a smidge smaller than the hole they were designed for. Our's is 1/8" smaller. Why does this work? The extra room allows the shaft to bite easily into the hole instead of just slipping in and out. Loose tolerances here are the key. A quick bite with rapid and free repositioning after a light tap.

As with all holdfasts, a non-smooth surface on the back and front of the shaft  aids greatly in helping the holdfast to hold fast. These holdfasts have one coat of shellac to protect against rust, and as such the surface is a bit slippery. You should remove the shellac with denatured alcohol, and perhaps scuff the surfaces with some medium grit (150) sandpaper before use.

Price: $199 plus shipping.

To order, send an email to State how many you would like, include your shipping address, and preferred Paypal address and we'll send you a bill.


  1. Can't wait till mine arrives. The final accessory for my Shaker bench.

  2. Now you need to offer a pilot drill to enlarge 3/4 inch holes to 1 inch

    1. Pound in 3/4 inch dowel then drill the one inch hole

  3. Glad I'm building a Nicholson knockdown bench then. I don't have to worry about being tempted. Great looking holdfasts though...


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