Holding your work piece in place whilst you cut, chop or drill it is a critical part of wood working. There are numerous devices out there to assist you. Some are multifunctional others are more like one trick ponies. One of the most useful is the bench holdfast. Whilst essentially a primitive device, it works particularly well and will hold just about anything to the top or side of the bench. All you need is a suitable sized hole in the right place and a holdfast. We know they have been around for a long time, the earliest reference in the UK is from around 1575, but they are likely to be far older than that. These are available from a number of suppliers online, or you can get one made up by a blacksmith, which is where this one came from. The good ones are made from cold rolled steel or wrought iron. Avoid cast ones as they are brittle and may break in use. Here is one in use holding a work piece on the bench for drilling. They function by jamming in a hole the bench, so the bench should be thick enough to allow the holdfast to cant slightly in the hole. This is a 3/4 inch holdfast with a hole slightly larger than the holdfast. The bench top is about 2 1/2 inches thick. To secure your work put suitable protector under the hook so your work piece is not damaged and sharply tap down on the top of the holdfast. To release tap the back of the holdfast. You can also use bench dogs and stops to stop work sliding back and forth depending on the type of work you are doing.