Securing your work is always a critical issue when doing bench work. It can be dangerous or even disastrous if a workpiece slips or moves when you are planing or chiselling.

Traditional hold-downs drop into a bench-top hole and are secured in place by hitting them with a hammer to wedge the post in place and lock down the workpiece. Another hit with the hammer releases the tool. 

This new tool however has its own hand-operated cam lever that works by simply throwing it forward. It’s a great concept that works very well using a 3/4" hole in a benchtop. It is all designed to apply the right amount of force to the workpiece and I found it held a blackwood section securely for me to plane and chisel. To release the holdfast you simply lift the lever up. The hold-down has a reach of around 125mm and will clamp work up to 250mm high, ample for pretty well all your work. At around $100 it is not cheap, but it is so well made that it should last forever.

Available in Australia from Carba-Tec, see

Words and photos by James Brook, first published in Wood Review 84.

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