During the last year, Jeff Burks, Suzanne Ellison and I have been investigating the history of the holdfast. We’ve found some clues that this essential bench accessory is older than we first suspected.
It’s a long story that involves decaying frescoes, letters sent overseas, e-mails to Yale and lots of dead ends.
As we move forward in our research, we have a question for our multi-lingual readers: How do you say “holdfast?”
In French, we know it is “les valets.” But as we search databases around the planet, it would be good to have a more complete list of this common trade word in a bunch of languages, such as French, German, Dutch, Swedish and the like.
In English, we know the word goes back a bit. In 1575, G. Gascoigne in “Noble Arte Venerie lxxii” states: “You may take them out aliue with your holdfasts or clampes.” That’s the earliest reference in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Our company has grown a lot since 2007, and we now have a lot of first-time customers, commenters and readers. So I want to repeat some of the core principles here at Lost Art Press for those of you who are new here.
1. We will never sell, trade or give your personal information to anyone. Likewise, we never purchase private information for any purpose.
2. We do not accept advertising on our site. Never have. Never will. Yes, our YouTube videos have some advertising pre-rolls that are put there against our will. We hate them and receive no money from them. Our web site has neither donors nor sponsors. The only revenue we receive is from selling products on our site. Period.
3. Every tool that John Hoffman and I own was purchased by ourselves at full retail. We do not accept free tools. Some manufacturers will send us samples for us to test. After testing the tools, we purchase them at full retail, send them back to the manufacturer or donate them to a woodworker or a charity. Our tools are our own.
4. We do not participate in any affiliate programs with any retail web sites. In other words, we do not receive any kickbacks or affiliate payments when we recommend a product. Never have. Never will.
5. Everything we sell is made in the United States. We have nothing against the workers in other countries – everyone’s got to eat. But we believe in supporting our neighbors. And so we work with printers, T-shirt makers and other suppliers who are close by.
If you ever have an ethical concern or question regarding one of our products, please let us know. Our direct e-mails and mailing addresses can be found here.
One last thing: Please do not think this ethics statement is a condemnation of how anyone else conducts his or her business. Their businesses are their own. For us, this is the only way we know how to do business and look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning.
From where you are sitting, I am sure there are times I look like a media harlot. Sweet mother of mystery, I get tired of seeing my name, image and videos spread all over the Internet. So I can only imagine how you feel about it.
Ask my mom if this is true: Though I’m a total goofball, I really am too shy to look strangers in the eye. Somehow, I have ended up where we are today – featured on “The Highland Woodworker.”
When I get phone calls to do a video, class or presentation, my first response is always “no.” I’d rather dig through old books and build things in the shop. Period.
But Charles Brock has always been a helpful and genuine guy; plus, I owe so much to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, which is the sponsor of the show. So I agreed to have Charles and Stephen Price in my home to chat about Lost Art Press.
I think they did a great job. And they used some photos of the farm house my mom and dad built outside Hackett, Ark., so it was a nostalgia trip as well.
Check it out. As always, it’s a great episode with high production values and a little bit for everyone.