Hold It!


I snapped this photo while carving on this cherry bowl recently.  I’ve used holdfasts for a long while now, but I still marvel at their nimbleness and versatility.  With a scrap of rubber belting under the bottom and a couple rubber pads under the holdfasts, the bowl is held solidly.  The grip of the rubber really makes a difference, and there are odd scraps and such that can be found all over the place; the white circles in the photo are meant to go between a grab-bar and a tile wall.  If you can’t locate any scraps, this stuff at Tractor Supply works well and is super tough.

By the way, if you’ve signed up for my pre-fest bowl carving class in Plymouth, bring a couple holdfasts if you can.  Here’s a post about holdfasts I wrote a while back.  All you need is a bench of some kind with some holes through it.  But what if there are no holes and you aren’t allowed to bore any?

Here’s one idea: try a ratchet strap.  These things are pretty ubiquitous now for securing loads.  Although, I must admit I’m more impressed by the guys, Like Pret Woodburn, who know how to properly secure a load tightly with rope (a.k.a. “pot wop”).  I tried this little experiment below and it really secured the bowl well.  Could flip the bowl over and all that, too.  I much prefer holdfasts, but in a no-holes situation, it’s another option.


I sometimes use these ratchet straps when crosscutting a log.  Most of the time, I just use a chainsaw to cut a log to length or to cut the painted ends off of a stored log. But sometimes I’ll use a one-man crosscut saw that I picked up years ago at a yard sale. Problem is that, with shorter chunks of log, the log just wants to rock and roll with the force of the saw.  A band clamp makes the log one with the sawbuck and works great.




Here are some shots of the finished bowl.


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10 Responses to Hold It!

  1. Dave, you made me laugh (I mean during the time I wasn’t weeping at the beauty of your new bowl)! Clearly we bamboozled you with our command of southeastern New England dialect: the term is “pot warp”, i.e., pretty low-grade, lightish line used to secure lobster traps to their buoys. Our common use of it in strap-down operations is predicated on finding large balled-up chunks of it washed up on the beach after storms. Hopefully we’ll have time to work on your pronunciation skills in June.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Paula. I did finally extricate from Pret that he was saying “warp” but it doesn’t have the same ring to it! It’ll always be pot-wop to me. I am really glad that you commented, though, because there were were probably a lot of folks confused about what I was talking about. Looking forward to learning some more words and skills from you guys next month!


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  3. Tico Vogt says:

    In seventh grade I had a science teacher from Boston, a Miss Matson, whose accent was as thick as chowdah. On one quizz she gave us on identifying trees, my friend wrote the correct answer but got it back (he still has the paper) with a large X because of his spelling: Hass Chestnut.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Travis Wright says:

    Hey David, I’m one of the ones in your “Carve a Big Bowl” pre-fest class. I have a pair of 1″ holdfasts from Crucible Tool. Should I bring those, or will there only be spots for 3/4″ holdfasts?


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Those should be fine, Travis. We’ll have a 1″ auger bit around, so we can make holes. Looking forward to it — the sound of a dozen people chopping at once is something to experience!


  5. Danielle Rose Byrd says:

    Great idea! And beautiful bowl as always. Very much enjoy your posts.


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