Doubtless many of you, like me, have accumulated various work holders over the years. Because I may use one work holder on one carving, a different one on the next and no holder on a third, I have always been reluctant to drill holes in my work bench to screw down any particular device. As a result, I have screwed the work holders to boards, and then clamped the board to the bench with hold downs and bar clamps.
The only problem is that even the hold downs and clamps could not safely hold the board in place once I started whaling on a carving with mallet and gouges. Stopping to re-secure every dozen whacks on the work piece did not lend itself to a smooth workflow, so an alternative solution was needed.
First, I decided to utilize the existing bench dog holes, rather than drilling any additional holes in the bench. Finally a possible answer dawned. Some years back I purchased several iron clamping handles to use with a home-made carving arm. With the addition of several carriage bolts and oversized washers a solution was at hand.
I drilled holes in the mounting boards spaced to match the bench dog holes, then drove the carriage bolts through the boards and through the bench dog holes. With the addition of the washers and clamping handles the problem was solved.
The real test was needed! Out came the mallet and gouges. I am happy to report that the solution worked well. The work holder hardly shifted at all, saving time and allowing safer workflow. The carriage bolts and clamping handles also worked well on a different style of work holder.
It looks like the bolts and clamping handles will work pretty well with just about any work holder you can mount on a solid board!
Just a note: There may be several sources for the cast iron handle, but I have confirmed they are available from The Woodcraft Shop. They are listed on their web site as “Cast Iron Handle for Carving Arm — 3/8” x 16 Thread” at $5.95 each. www.thewoodcraftshop.com