The Robou style holdfast is a classic pattern that dates to the 17th century and is likely derived from earlier types that date back even farther into history. These workshop workhorses are less readily available today in the original form, which is understandable: The shape is made by skillfully hammering a glowing orange piece of steel into its required form, and that labor is costly. The experience to wield a hammer, essentially sculpting hot steel into a useful shape, is acquired only over years of effort.
Of course, cheaper versions imitating the classic style became available, but they're inferior, often made of cast metal that simply breaks in use. Many woodworkers have adapted by using bar clamps, vises, and other modern contrivances. A pity, really, since nothing can match the versatility and convenience of this classic tool.
If you (or your Dad, a grad, or other deserving woodworker) have been itching to try this handy device, now's your chance! Handmade, exactly the way it would have been created in the 17th Century and earlier, this holdfast is shaped on an anvil, by hammering; the shank is rounded by hammer blows, each of which have left a lightly faceted surface that is organic to the forging process. The shape was made by forging, not by grinding or machining, and only light filing (another ancient process) was used in completing the piece. This is tool handmade by a professional blacksmith - you will be pleased to use it, and to hand it down to others when you are done with it.
The only modern conveniences used? The metal was heated in a gas fire (unavailable hundreds of years ago) and the material is "mild steel," a steel alloy that cannot be hardened and which was unknown prior to 1850 - wrought iron (a much more costly material!) would have been used "back in the day."
This holdfast is 12" long, has an approximate 4" reach, and a 1/2" diameter shank.
You will be delighted by your purchase, or your purchase price plus shipping will be refunded in full.
Beautiful and perfect holdfasts. I look forward to using these for the rest of my life and hope to pass them to my children!