Crucible Iron Holdfast

Item: CT-H

£175.00 inc VAT


Product Description

The Crucible holdfast. Made from ductile iron in an Illinois family foundry that’s been in business for more than a century. Based on a French design salvaged from a barn. The last holdfast you are likely to need.

Since Roman times, the iron holdfast has been an essential piece of workbench equipment for carpenters, joiners and cabinetmakers. Yet many of us struggle with holdfasts that work inconsistently or (in thick workbench tops) not at all.

This holdfast works consistently in benches from 2" to 8" thick for three reasons: a tight fit between the shaft and hole, a rough surface finish and the fact that its shaft isn't tapered. And because of these qualities, it also will clamp objects as much as 8" off the benchtop.

For the last 10 years Crucible Tool have studied holdfasts of various shapes and sizes and put them to use in workbench tops both thick and thin. They have made their own designs using wrought iron salvaged from beaches. Crucible Tool have commissioned blacksmiths to make traditional designs from 18th-century pattern books. And Crucible Tool have destroyed many modern holdfasts made from grey iron through normal everyday use.

After all this experimentation, the only holdfast that never failed them was a rusted and pitted French example that a friend salvaged from a barn. When it showed up, it did not look promising. But it immediately showed its true character, cinching down every time it was struck, even in benchtops 6" or 8" thick.

Crucible Tool took the best qualities of this French holdfast – especially its 1" untapered and rough shaft – to design their own version. Unlike blacksmith-made holdfasts, this one is made from ductile iron instead of scarce wrought iron.

Ductile iron is virtually unbreakable and has enough spring in it to clamp tightly and release crisply.

Crucible Tool ship their holdfast in its rough-cast state with no surface protection against rust or tarnish. In their experience, rust adds to the grip of the holdfast and has zero disadvantages. They recommend you allow your holdfast to tarnish and age. Never oil it. And never let oil get into the holdfast holes on your bench. Because each holdfast is individually made, ground by hand and textured to improve its grip, there is significant variation from tool to tool. Some variants include small casting voids and other artifacts of the casting process. These are not defects.

The Crucible holdfast weighs 5 pounds. The shaft is 17” long. The beak extends 6 5/8” from the shaft. It is designed to work in a 1” diameter holdfast hole that has been reamed to match your particular holdfast or holdfasts. Each holdfast includes instructions on how to precisely fit your holdfast to your workbench. Before ordering, Crucible Tool recommend you download and read the instruction sheet to make sure this holdfast is ideal for you and your workbench.

Made in the United States.

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