Most of you know I don’t really care too much for bench dogs. Mostly it’s because i don’t really need them. I am not sure if it’s the dogs themselves or the holes needed to use them I dislike, but mostly I think it’s the latter really. I have never really had use for them because of the clamp-in-the-vise system I use, which takes care of 98.99% of my needs or more. I do have some at my tail vise and as it is with most dog holes I spend most of my time digging lost screws, nails and then shavings and chips before I can use them. When they go all the way through, my drawers and cupboards fill with junk. Anyway, as I don’t need them, I have no problem.
When I ordered the Juuma clamps Fine Tools in Germany mentioned in my last blog I also ordered a pair of Juuma holdfasts (above). Now holdfasts are not altogether my favourites either but only for the same reason as the dogs––too many holes. Mostly holdfasts need holes in a benchtop too and they go all the way through. Often it is because you must tap to tighten them. Holdfasts are most commonly used somewhere along the fore edge of the bench and then again somewhere quite near to where you work at the vise. I liked the Juuma holdfast because it has the advantage of the hand screw for tightening and can also be tap-tightened. So, whether you like holes in your bench or not these holdfasts may be an answer provided you have a decent bench vise.
By clamping the holdfast stem in the vise with the pad of the screw hovering above the workpiece in the adjusted position you can lock the vise and then use the hand screw to cinch down on the work. There is more than enough pressure from the hand screw to hold the work being worked on.
To increase versatility I added another dimension you might like to use too. I drilled a series of 3/4″ holes through a 3″ by 3″ section I could lodge in the vise. The holes can extend beyond the vise width by a few inches as you can see. The holdfast tightened readily using my Thor 712 with the nylon face best and of course you can use this with any holdfast. Anyway, tap tighten gets quick anchorage and more taps increases pressure or you can just turn the handle. Oh, and you can reverse pressure by tapping the heel of the holdfast as with the old blacksmithed models or turn the handle.