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Starrett Vice hold Downs

A pair device's to pull a job down to the vice floor

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WorkshopPete03/04/2014 14:52:25
84 forum posts

I have a pair of Starrett VICE HOLD DOWNS Model 54A does anyone know how to use them? I have tried various ways but nothing appears to work I am also a little afraid of damaging them if not used correctly. Help


ega03/04/2014 15:02:31
2567 forum posts
203 photos

"STARRETT Hold Downs are of improved design to firmly hold work flat on a machine bed or in a vise. They are particularly useful for holding small work or thin materials without distortion.

The contact edges are tapered to hold the work securely and to force it downward to the bed of the machine or against any parallel surface.

The hold downs are made of tool steel, hardened and ground."

Extract from Starrett catalogue - hope it helps.

Bazyle03/04/2014 16:21:43
6386 forum posts
222 photos

Google images quickly reveals them in use

IanT03/04/2014 16:22:39
2005 forum posts
212 photos

They were (are?) commonly used in Shaper vices to hold work flat/down in the vice Peter.

I seem to recall someone wrote some articles in ME about using the Shaper, where his first 'project' was a pair of hold-downs for it.



IanT03/04/2014 16:44:50
2005 forum posts
212 photos

As ever, where Shaping is concerned, 'Delmar' is your friend! I think this shows the (correct) use of hold-downs pretty well.



delmar 186.jpg

WorkshopPete03/04/2014 16:45:55
84 forum posts

Brilliant thanks everyone there seems to be one down side in that they take up a lot of the vice opening not a problem on a rack vice but on a 4" machine vice it could be a problem. I was told a long time ago that a dead blow mallet is much better to wack a job down to the floor of the vice and it certainly has proved to be so a standard copper mallet does not work any where near as well.


IanT03/04/2014 17:50:19
2005 forum posts
212 photos

The work piece shown in the diagram is (relatively) thin Peter and the hold-downs are enabling the whole top surface to be machined (shaped in this case) whilst still clearing the vice jaws. The work is also fully supported on it's lower/under side. Your Starrett's will be fully hardened and (should you not need them) I imagine that they will worth a reasonable amount if you can find the right buyer.



robjon4403/04/2014 20:05:22
154 forum posts

Hi guys, when I did my training in the toolroom in the early sixties, we were supposed to do 6 months but I managed to weasel my way to 10 months as there was a lot to do as they say. This kickstarted my lifelong love affair with shaping machines, there being about 5 plus an equal number of horizontal & vertical mills. So I had as a mentor Mr. Frank Dudley, or Dank Frudley as he was known. He showed me the true way of machining flat surfaces & then I set was loose on a 10" butler shaper of truly Victorian vintage, not to worry it was extremely accurate & had a true shaper vice, also box table was capable in conjunction with swivelling vice of creating compound angles in 3 axes at once, Whoa! Being well equipt with parallels, I was then introduced to hold downs, or kicking strips as the old hands called them, there were quite a few about, some stamped with the names of men who retired before I was born. Now a pattern formed, 1 shaper, keen young lad, unlimited supply of gauge plate equals 15 sets of hardened & ground hold downs stamped with owners name, including my 2 sets.

Onward, the included angle when viewed from the end is about 92 degrees & the 2 long edges are ground parallel to each other at this angle, therefore when vice closes on them & the workpiece they tip up in such a way that although the large proportion of the clamping force is gripping across, a small percentage is forcing it downwards. Place a narrow parallel against each jaw, place hold downs on top of them, place 1 large parallel in between to raise job to your required height, tighten vice firmly, caress job once with a LEAD hammer, engage warp drive. I have never known a job to escape from them, still have mine over 50 years later.

About 1980 I finally managed to snaffle a Acorntools 7" shaper made legend in Ian Bradleys book "The Shaping Machine" robjon 44

WorkshopPete04/04/2014 08:43:51
84 forum posts

Thanks everybody this has turned into an interesting post - I have no intention of selling I bought mine in Khobar Saudi Arabia about 30 years ago they have sat on a shelf in my workshop ever since - not any more they will be pressed into service on my milling machine.


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