Blacksmith Phil Koontz has decided to get out of the business of making holdfasts.
In my book, it’s a sad decision. Phil was one of the very few people who made holdfasts for anyone anywhere on the globe and was 100-percent reliable all of the time.
While unnamed ironmongers were making “holdfasts” that didn’t cinch down or broke under mild hammer pressure, Phil made holdfasts that bit your work like a ticked-off cobra. They were the first holdfasts I owned that really worked.
Why is he leaving the business? I’ll let Phil speak:
“I have decided to stop selling (holdfasts). I wanted you to be one of the first to know. Last winter I had a big rush on orders around Christmas, partly as a result of your very kind video evaluation of Megan Fitzpatrick’s holdfasts. Christmas seems to be the busy season for holdfasts anyway, and I have just decided that I’m not up to a lot of blacksmithing this winter.
“It’s a bit awkward that I really stocked up on steel last summer during barge season, so I don’t know quite what I’m going to do with 500 feet of 11/16″ bar stock, but I’m sure something will turn up.”
If you are one of the hundreds of people who dealt with Phil during the last decade, I know you will wish him well in his future Alaskan endeavors. And if you are one of those people who put off buying a pair of his fantastic holdfasts, sorry about your luck.
— Christopher Schwarz