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Holding Lumber

First off I want to wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for many, many things but foremost is my family. 

I have been relatively busy in the shop but I can’t write about that because I’ve making Christmas gifts so I’ll write about that at a later date. Although I was sick last week, I recovered just enough over the weekend to tinker a couple of hours in my shop. It’s therapy and a way to get back on my feet I suppose.

I had ordered some Jorgensen holdfasts from Klingspor’s but they were on back order for about a month. They finally arrived and I was anxious to see how they were going to work with my bench. I knew that I was going to have to drill larger 3/4″ diameter holes for just about any standard commercial clamping device.  My bench also have drawers on one side so I decided to add 3/4″ holes (versus enlarging the existing holes) on the far side. I paid very little for these holdfasts and I am not an expert but I am a satisfied consumer. They came with a very shiny and slippery black finish which I felt was entirely inappropriate for “holding fast” so I scuffed them up with sand paper. I also added a piece of cork to protect the work-pieces being clamped. For the money, I am well pleased.

Jorgensen Bench Holdfasts

I also added another work-holding addition to my bench, a planing stop. I’m sorry that I can’t properly credit the author that gave me the idea. I thought it was one of those “shop tips” where I first noticed the idea but the guys at Fine Woodworking Live  mentioned it also. So if you have a free edge on your bench you can mount a planing stop that can be raised and lowered easily. This is all done simply with two bolts and a couple of wing nuts. Put two vertical slots in your stop and you can raise and lower the stop to any height that is needed for planing. I’m particularly cheap so I used a piece of scrap plywood that already fit my bench without modification.

Simple Bench-Mounted Planing Stop


Once I marked the beginning and end points of each slot, I started by drilling a 1/4″ hole at these points. I then setup a 1/4″ straight cut bit on the router table and made light passes between the holes until the slot was continuous. We’ve had some problems in the past but recently me and my router table are beginning to get along a little better and I’ll be making a few tweaks and improvements on its homemade fence system. The system basically works it just needs a few small improvements to get things working more smoothly and precisely. One problem I’ve had with it are the clamps have been harder to operate and if not set, the fence slips which is an absolute no-no. I worked on the clamps and will next improve the zero clearance fence openings.

Planing Stop Mounting Detail


So that’s all I have to report for now. Between being sick, work projects and getting ready to cook and host Thanksgiving dinner that should be sufficient 🙂

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

  1. November 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Firstly, Happy Thanksgiving! Secondly, I was wondering how you like the holdfasts. I have the holdfasts from Gramercy Tools (Tools for Working Wood) and I cannot be happier with them, both in cost and performance. In fact, I very nearly ordered another pair just to have. I like your plane stop. I’ve considered one, but never actually got around to putting it on the bench.

    • November 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Regarding the holdfasts, I really can use more ways to hold workpieces other than my single tail vise. The Jorgensen holdfasts are very likely not the top of the line but I’ve not seen better pricing than these and I was already placing an order with Klingspor so I jumped on them. They seem to work and I’m glad I bought them. I may drill more holes for them but thought I would wait to see what I really needed rather than make Swiss Cheese of my bench trying to guess.

      I’m giving serious thought to a front vise, either commercial or perhaps a home made Moxon. The latter could be fixed or portable and give me a project. Also considering another planing stop with dowel feet that could fit the dog holes that could give some additional holding options as well.

      I don’t own any stuff but I am quite impressed with Gramercy Tools and would like to own some stuff from them.

      Happy Turkey Day!

  2. November 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I like the Moxon vice, but I don’t “love” it. I would say that it is worth making but not purchasing. If you saw a lot of dovetails it is a great vice. For sawing tenons, a face vice works just as well. I’ve come to the conclusion that I only need a leg vice, 8 dog holes, and the holdfasts for almost all of my clamping. But we all work a little differently.
    Have a great Thanksgiving!

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