Holdfast boots

18/5/2015

As self-proclaimed leader in the field of woodworking haute couture, I would like to introduce the next frontier in menuisier fashion. Last week the four Gramercy Tools holdfasts that I ordered arrived  after 5 weeks of traveling across time zones, an ocean and the equator. Holdfasts work like a charm, but tends to mar your work unless you stick a bit of scrap between it’s fangs and your stock. It can be a bit of a hassle so I thought of a way to address this particular issue.

I like to do leather work from time to time and it made sense to use this skill to alleviate the problem. As you can see in the pictures below, I custom-fitted these stunning Almond-toed leather booties to the business end of the holdfasts. I used two layers of Skeleton Coast seal skin for the sole and free range Namibian cow’s hide for the upper. It would not look out of place on a catwalk in Milan (says he), but I am not sure whether the common adage used to describe particularly sexy boots would necessarily apply. Apart from the obvious visual appeal, it has real functional advantages as well. It improves grip, protects your stock and cuts down the time spent fiddling with bits of scrap wood.

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I also took to the shaft section of the holdfasts with a rasps to improve it’s grip. It works like magic.

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Below you can find some examples of the boots in action. The pictures also provide ample evidence to support my decision to ignore Monsieur Schwarz’s Commandment to stick to very few dog/holdfast holes.

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Here are a few examples of a saw bench modeling the trend-setting footwear.

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My bench holdfasts live here.

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So there you have it, once again the best of tres chic woodworking. Only at Je ne sais quoi Woodworking.

6 thoughts on “Holdfast boots”

  1. Gerhard,

    Those are fantastic! That is soooo much better than the leather patches that I cemented onto my Gramercy hold fasts. Nice work!

    I have been having a little trouble getting my holdfasts to grip, so I’m going to try your rasp trick.

    Jonathan

    1. Thanks Jonathan, Gramercy Tools recommend that you use coarse wet-and-dry sandpaper, but that did not make much of a difference in my case. The rasp treatment certainly did. The other thing to keep in mind is that holdfasts do not tend to work that well in bench tops over 4″ thick. I drilled out my dog/holdfast holes from the bottom of the top to 1″ diameter making the effective ¾” diameter hole only 3″ deep. It really works well. I am sure you already know this and did it on you bench, given how thorough your research are on every aspect of your work (even if you don’t always follow the advice from the experts just like me), but just mentioned it in case.
      All the best.
      Gerhard

  2. That is a great idea, I have 2 gramercy hold fasts that came in not too long ago that I will do that with. I dabble on the side with leather and can sew those up on my industrial machine in a few minutes.

    Did you hand sew, they look fantastic.

    1. Hi Mike

      Thank you for the nice comment. Yes I hand sewed it as I have very basic tools for leather work, but it works fine for these small jobs. I really hope it works well for you, so far it works like a charm in my shop. Will go and have a nose around your site, can’t wait.

      Kind regards
      Gerhard

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