holdfast not working

I am finally getting back in the fire after a very long hiatus. I may
have to go back on the wagon, though, as there is a burn ban right now
in my county. However, it was raining last weekend, so I took
advantage and forged a holdfast. I have never made one before, but I
have certainly seen them up close and personal. The problem is that
when I put it into the pritchel hole and tap it in, it doesn't lock
into place. The shaft is contacting the top and bottom edges of the
hole, but no dice. Here are some facts about the set up. The holdfast
is made from an old spade drill bit and has about a 1/4" shaft. The
pritchel hole is about 1/2" in diameter. The face of the anvil was
very swaybacked and gouged when I acquired it, and I repaired it with
hardfacing rod, but some of the weld puddle spilled into the hardie and
pritchel holes (where can I find a die grinder bit to grind that out?),
so the edge of the holes are not sharp. The anvil has a steel face on
a cast body.
Any thoughts on what the problem might be?
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When Rob put fingers to keys it was 12/28/06 9:46 AM...
When you hold the shank vertical, the 'gripper' needs to be well below the height of the bend. Especially with a 1/4" shank in a 1/2" hole. Y'know, it just might be that 1/4" isn't going to grip at all. My holdfasts are 3/8" for 1/2" holes, they work ok. 7/16" would be better.
I've come to really like the chain-with-a-weight slung over the anvil as a hold-down. Easy to use, fast, and doesn't pop out all of a sudden.
Sash-weight chain and a small sash-weight are about perfect.
-- Carl Prospect Hill Forge: The Blacksmithing Classroom
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rod for 1/2" dia. holes and they work very well. Also, they will work in steel or wood holes so these holdfasts can be used at the anvil as well as on the workbench. I was taught to keep the rod size to 1/16" less than the hole size. The other thing to check is to make sure that the shaft of the holdfast is not so long that it hits the anvil stand before it wedges in the hole.
Thanks for the idea of the weighted chain. I work alone and have a problem getting a hot piece secured before it cools off too much. Great suggestion.
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What does a sash-weight chain look like?
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When Rob put fingers to keys it was 12/28/06 3:01 PM...
pictures at:
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LOL! That's how I made it through high school! :) Because I can guess the right answer like crazy. :)
That's exactly what I was picturing even tho I had no better idea than the OP did. :)
Alvin grinning from ear to ear in AZ :)
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