HoldFast v4

HoldFast v4

The story behind the latest version of the world's first Magnetic Chef's Pin.
Chopsticks Tweezers in Polished Gold Reading HoldFast v4 4 minutes

While the magnet on HoldFast v3 was strong, we had some feedback from chefs that during the course of busy service their tweezers were slipping down. When we get feedback we listen - a comment here, a DM there, you can’t ignore the whispers. You have to listen to your customers and when those putting their hand up have multiple Michelin Stars to their name then you really have to pay attention. If you don’t you are an idiot. 

HoldFast Magnetic Chef's Pin v4 - A rubber front increases grip by 250%.

In the earlier days of the magnetic pin, while we had a product that fundamentally worked and people loved the concept of, we had manufacturing related issues like pins breaking (fix: better welding), clasps failing (fix: rubber clasp) and magnets coming loose or chipping (fix: encase the magnet completely). But we were able to overcome all these issues with refinements, redesigns and much more rigorous testing. It was painful and costly (we shipped anyone who needed a replacement one anywhere in the world) but they were lessons well learnt.

But this was different. We had the pin at a stage where (we thought) manufacturing was under control, it looked great and was working well in most cases. Then our manufacturer threw a real spanner in the works. I don’t know whether they switched out the magnets on us for cheaper/weaker ones, or whether they bought duds themselves, but the bottom line was that the latest batch of 1,000 pins that landed in Oui Chef HQ in Dublin in March 2024 were perfectly useless. The worst thing was we didn’t discover this until some had been sent out to customers, sending the hassle-ometer to 11 - both ours and theirs. We are forever grateful to those customers who were so understanding and patient while we worked through the problem - the team here at Oui Chef did a great job managing the customer service.

Again, another lesson learnt - production-site quality control every time. If every cloud has a silver lining, this one was that it forced us to pause for thought, giving us time to play around with the slippage problem. Long story short, a thin layer of rubber on a magnet increases the horizontal (shear or sliding) strength by 250% with very little loss of vertical (pulling directly apart) strength. Fun-fact: Rubber has the same effect on the magnetic field as air, so basically very little loss in magnetism when very close.

Some of the attempts to overcome the slippage problem

When I read this it was a lightbulb moment - and in actuality it works so well. As you can see from the picture above we tried various different solutions from stronger bar magnets to adding nubbins of different sizes to hold the tweezers in place. With a lot of tinkering we found the best combination of magnet strength and rubber thickness to work optimally - the result being you can easily pull the tweezers away from the pin but it won’t slide down when you are running around. It will stay put all day long.

Fun-fact: Rubber has the same effect on the magnetic field as air, so basically very little loss in magnetism when very close.

So this is the story behind the latest version of the HoldFast Magnetic Chef’s Pin. I wouldn’t dare say the final version but this is a very good version.

You can purchase the the world’s first magnetic chef’s pin here