Holdfast Drilling Jig(s)

When making traditional-ish workbenches one of the considerations is making the holes for the holdfasts.  I might have said “To holdfast or not, that is the question,” but in my experience a woodworking traditionalist either decides to incorporate holdfasts from the start or comes around to using them eventually.

As a general rule the hole for the holdfast is a smidge bigger than the shaft of the tool so that when the top is pounded to induce flexing tension the holdfast grabs the bench top firmly.  As a practical matter virtually all of the holdfasts I know are available now use either a 3/4″ or 1″ hole.  Getting the holes perpendicular to the bench top on two axes can be a nuisance some times, and in the past I have made a couple of drilling jigs on the drill press.  However, over time both of these versions became wallowed out and somewhat less than fully helpful.

After returning from Arkansas where my older jigs got a serious workout I set to making another more robust and precision jig for fitting the Gramercy Tools holdfasts that I am so fond of.  My main modifications for this were to lift its base up off the workpiece with plywood feet to provide exit for the chips, and bronze bushing sleeves fitted to the 3/4″ drill bit.

I drilled the hole for the O.D. of the bushings, then epoxied them in place.  Finito.