Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hold Fast With Style

One of the simplest tools I know is the hold fast. An invaluable tool for holding wood to a workbench.  I have seen many of these over the years and not all work correctly. The really good ones are forged from tool steel and can be hard to find. The new chair makers bench I am in the middle of building has made me realize the importance of finding a good hand made hold fast. 

In the past year I have been introduced to an incredible artist and blacksmith named Anthony Martin from Fairview, Tn. His company is called "Red Tail Forge" and he specializes in 18th century reproductions. 
I contacted Anthony and he has agreed to make the leaf type hold fast like the one you see below. Today I went and bought some 11/16th O1 tool steel and Saturday afternoon will see these transform into 6 hold fast. I'll post some pictures of the process later.
Upon digging in the pole barn through many piles of walnut I have discovered some clear 12/4  air -dried walnut that should laminate into a nice workbench top.
The leg stock has been machined and glued up.
I decided to make the top about 26 3/4'' wide. No tail vise and bench dogs on this bench. It will be two piece to allow for movement of the top. The top will also be only 4' long. The base will be 3' long. Tomorrow I will start assembly of the base and leg vise.