Hold fast

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For other uses, see holdfast (disambiguation).
A hold fast being used to affix a board to the benchtop for chiseling dovetails

A hold fast is an accessory used on a woodworking workbench and in blacksmithing to fix a workpiece to the top or side of the bench while it is being worked.[1]

A hold fast is shaped like a shepherd's hook. In use, the shank fits loosely into a hole in the top or side of the bench and the tip of the hook is pressed against the work. The hold fast is set by rapping the top with a mallet, which causes the shaft to wedge against the sides of the hole. It is released by hitting the back side.

A holdfast is also a plinth or pedestal, usually of concrete, to which an anti-aircraft or coastal battery gun was fitted. Holdfasts are often the only evidence for a weapon that survives.


  1. ^ Bealer, Alex (1989). Old Ways of Working Wood: The Techniques and Tools of a Time-Honored Craft. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 73. ISBN 0-517-69313-5.