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Spring-Loaded Hold Down: A project for the kids.

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Some time ago, I saw a video on youtube where a smith out in the midwest showed how to build a rather neat hold-down that used a spring to give power to the grip.  The square 'footprint' of the hold down was very practical, and I really liked the idea of the spring doing the work of securing the piece.  Fortunately, it was a bit of a while before I was able to work this project into the list of to-do's and by that time the design had changed significantly.  Basically, I wanted something that would be good for teaching kids as much of the basics as possible, but was well within their abilities and would leave them with a practical and useful tool.




Simplicity in both skill, material and tools required.  The skills needed should be minimal and easily accomplished by young kids in dad's home workshop or off at a summer camp.  Measuring, Layout, Cutting, Drilling, Riveting and Forging all come into play, and none of it is outside what I think a youngster could do with proper supervision.  The only thing you don't make is the spring.


The stock used for the perimeter and bail is 1/8" x 1", and it can be cold-bent or worked in a forge.  I used the jaws of the vise to sharpen the corners.  The important part is to make sure that the seam meets in the middle so that it's covered by the bail.


The bail has a hole drilled/punched at the top-dead center for a bolt that I flattened (for clearance) and curled on the end to receive the s-hook that connects to the spring.  The spring passes through the hardy hole and is fastened to the anvil stand in whatever manner is convenient to you.


Because anvils vary so much, measurements are open to whatever you need.  I didn't see any need for a square footprint when my faceplate is 5" wide, so I went rectangular.  You could even short-cut the build a bit and use a 1" section of tubing if you happen to have some that's the size of your anvil's face.


A couple of notches will be added for larger round stock, or square stock on the diamond.  But, as it is right now, the hold is very solid on smaller stock.  The open-top design allows you to hold material that has bends and curves in it, unlike the original that started this whole adventure.


While this prototype is simply tacked together (Proof-of-Concept), the idea is to use rivets instead of welding.  This is why bringing the ends of the perimeter together at the bail is important. Two small rivets on either side of the seam should be plenty strong enough, and it's something that the kids can do.


Hope you like it.









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Thank you for the kind words, Gentlemen.  I'm thoroughly pleased that my design has been found useful.


Having worked with it a bit more, I have to admit to becoming even more enamored with it.  So far, I haven't had to cut any notches for holding round stock as the small surface-contact area provides a substantial bite.  I'll still put in a notch or two for safety, though.  Hate to have a hot rod get spit out!   :o


Feel free to post photos of the ones you build.

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