Cramped…

…or, in the good old US of A, that’s “clamped”.  One of the times that the US and UK are two countries divided by a common language.

In the classic workbench with a thick slab top, a workpiece is held securely to the bench by a tool called a holdfast.

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The problem for me (and others, I’d wager) is that my workbench has a thin skin of plywood for the top.  Not ideal, but I built it before I started woodworking and it was perfectly adequate then.  Now, not so much.  But a lot of stuff has gotten built on it, and it should last until I can build a better bench (on the list!).  But a holdfast requires a thicker top to work.  So to keep my work from sliding around, I use a different tool.

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I use these Irwin clamps for almost everything short of clamping up a carcase.  I’ve been using them all day, almost every day for some time now and they’ve held up admirably.  I use the 24″ ones mostly.  I’ve got a couple of 36″ ones, but they’re too long to hold work on the bench.  Really, I couldn’t do much without these clamps, and they’re pretty inexpensive.  Definitely worth it.

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