Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sjobergs hold down

One of my problems with my bench is that, like many other benches from Sjobergs, it has a skirt, which makes it had to clamp things down to the surface. It's a wide-ish skirt, so I can clamp close to the edge of the bench. But past 3 inches or so, there's a hollow, so my regular F-clamps don't register properly. I thought about flipping the bench over, and simply gluing in a few strips of extra wood. But that means either flipping it with the Emmert still attached, which is heavy, or taking the Emmert off, and it's heavy. And then there's the need to re-drill all of the dog holes, and hoping like hell that the new lamination doesn't cause the top to start warping again. That's the last thing I need... so far, it's been behaving itself. So I broke down the other day and bought the hold-fast that Sjobergs makes for the Elite bench.

I would rather buy a holdfast from Veritas... or from Gramercy, even. I have a couple of Gramercy hold fasts at home, they're great. But the bench has 1" holes, instead of the 3/4" that everyone else seems to like to use.  I suppose I could find someone to custom forge me a set of serious, old-school holdfasts... but that takes much more time and planning than an impulse buy.

The Sjobergs hold down is pretty stout, and the just-under 1" rod is actually solid steel, instead of a plastic filled pipe, like the smaller version they make for their smaller benches. It's pretty clear that the whole unit is designed to be bolted through a thinner surface, hence the flange, and the threads on the bottom. (Though the nut for doing so isn't included, which seems weird to me.) In that context, it makes sense to have the arm slide up and down. But since I'm dropping the thing into a hole in the benchtop, it seems a bit redundant. It works fine, it's just quirky and weird. In the end, it works fine, so whatever.

Either way, it works, which is, I guess, all that's required. I do wish they had used a nice grippy wooden handle, instead of a plastic one, which isn't so grippy. What's the use having such a stout clamp if you can't grip the handle hard enough to really get down on it?

So, as a tool, it works as should be expected. But the design is somehow less than I expected... which is fitting, I guess, since the bench started out the same way.

No comments: