Workbench holdfasts

Looking for some advice getting workbench holdfasts to work right… I have tried two different styles of holdfast on my personal workbench and just can’t get them to work.

I drilled a bunch of 3/4" dog holes in my workbench, all the way through my ~4 1/4" workbench.
Both holdfast styles are around 5/8" thick, so there’s a fair bit of wiggle room once they’re in the dog hole. Seems like it might be too much wiggle room for them to work right, but I don’t know for sure. Can anyone provide some advice on what I might be doing wrong?

My assumption is the hole should be smaller in diameter

Rough up the shafts of your holdfasts (where they make contact with the walls of the dog holes) with a file. Traditionally they would have been hand-wrought, and mass manufactured versions lack the grip that hammer marks provide.

@JoeN the dog holes that I have drilled are the exact size of the dogs that I got, so I don’t think I could have made them smaller. Plus they’re drilled now, so I’m a bit stuck there anyway. :slight_smile:

@ewei I was a bit wary of messing with the holdfasts and then not having any option to return them, so I’ve been talking with the blacksmith who made these and trying to come up with a compromise. Looks like he’s gonna make some out of 11/16" bar and I’ll see if that works any better, and if not I’ll do the file roughing up and he also recommended a counterbore from underneath (although that’s really last resort from my perspective).

Thanks for the info!

You might also try putting a pad of something compressible like leather or cork on the pad of your holdfasts, this way when you hammer them in, they’ll spring back against your work and hopefully jam properly.

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