I am a novice-hobby blacksmith, at best, but I was quite surprised at just how easy these bench aids are to make. I made three styles of holdfasts and I will decide which I like best before I commission a professional to whip out a batch of them for the school.
My morning was not without its tribulations however! I encourage you to make your own hold fast but be sure to watch the fire or you will end up having a poor fellow like this:
I also made a few bench hooks - not the wooden aids to sawing - the iron planing stops as they are sometimes called.
The hooks still need some grinding and toothing but I'll do that Sat. All in all the steel cost me $8 from my local steel yard - nevertheless it was still quite the costly endeavor as when I arrived to the forge I was immediately put to work on a leaky sink and I still have to go back and help with the timber framing for his pool house, a reproduction of the early 19th century kitchen at Magnolia Mound Plantation... where else could I go to use a fully equipped blacksmithing shop, though, with such a great teacher looking over my shoulder!? Thanks Karl!
On a related note, come out and see me at LSU's Rural Life Museum this Sun, Dec 1st. I will be demonstrating traditional woodworking and building a repro vernacular Louisiana table with hand tools. You can spend the day with 2-3 thousand of your closest friends and perhaps pick up a Christmas gift or two from local artist. I will not have anything for sale myself.