Blacksmiths Apprentice
(The Cheap Version)

Many of us have to work alone, and many projects are thus made exponentially more difficult, unless we are part Orangutan and have our feet to hold the work.
There are many versions of hold downs out there, but I believe this one of the better ones. This idea was shown to by a smith from Hannibal, Missouri, Jim Waddel. His brother Ted (also a working smith) and I then proceeded to build one. A few hours of forging later we came up with the following version.
The way it works is a piece of round stock with some bends in it for spring action, and hook on top to grab the stock, is then hooked in a lever that pivots on a spike driven into a stump. When the lever is pushed down by hand or foot.(the reason for the second bend in the handle is to give room for your foot to get hold of it) The cam will stretch to bends in the 1/4" rod and it snaps over center to hold the stock firmly. Then you can work it at your leisure. While this may not be as nice as a real apprentice, You don't have to provide it room and board either.
This would only take an hour or two to build and only requires basic skills. I would make the spring hook last since it's length is determined by the distance between the top of the stock on the anvil and the pivot spike location on the stump.
Ken Jansen
Butcher Creek Forge