Lowrider

img_0419

I get a fair amount of questions about my bowl horse, but this low bench has been at the center of my workshop even longer.  I built it thirteen years ago, thinking something like this could serve as a multi-purpose bench that could take whatever I might throw at it — and it has.  It’s pretty humble in appearance and construction, but it has proven to be reliable and versatile.  It serves as my base for everything from heavy duty chopping to taking photographs.  My chopping block is just a 7″ length of log with some pieces of old rubber mat tacked to the bottom; saves space and it’s easy to move off of the bench.

img_0423The height of the low bench (a little over 23 inches — or just above my kneecap) makes it handy for all sorts of general shop tasks, like sawing.  The heaviness and widely splayed legs make it stable, yet it is still portable and fits into my small shop well.  In construction, it couldn’t be more simple.  The dimensions of the top aren’t critical; I had been given this oak timber (44 x 14 x 3 1/2 inches), and the size has worked out well.  The legs can be anything tough and strong like oak or hickory.  Mine are actually four roughly-shaved quarters of a hop hornbeam log.  I wrote a post a while back about how I execute these joints — you can check it out here.

So that I could use holdfasts and pegs in a variety of ways, I bored 3/4″ holes all over the top.  It may seem excessive, but it certainly hasn’t been a problem.  There always seems to be a hole in the right spot.  The slideshow below shows just a few of the potential arrangements related to bowl carving.  I also have a few higher pegs that I can use in combination with wedges.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chris Schwarz has been doing some in-depth and hands-on research into low benches used by Roman craftsmen a couple thousand years ago.  His book on the subject will be printed letterpress!

img_0557And you can sit down to do some decorative carving on the rim (if you don’t feel like standing at the high bench).  Here’s how I shaped the rim of the bowl after the bench photos had been taken.

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in bowls, carving, holding, tools, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lowrider

  1. Eric Goodson says:

    Nice post, Dave. I like how wide your bench is. Mine is narrower, and I wish I had holdfast holes spread across a wider area. Mine is maybe 12″ across.

    Like

  2. Hi Dave, I’m relatively new to your blog and the green woodworking scene but I’ve been doing other forms of woodworking for several years. I love your work and and sincerely thank you for sharing with everyone.

    One question: do you think this bench could be used as a substitute to the tree stumps everyone (i.e. Follansbee and his Merry Pranksters) use for roughing out spoons with an ax/hatchet? Or would it be too “springy” when exerting those type of forces?

    I look forward to hearing your response.

    -Shawn

    Like

    • Dave Fisher says:

      I do use mine as a platform for a chopping block in the shop, and with heavy swings on bowls. I have a log/stump chopping block outside, but the one in the shop works just as well. I don’t notice any springiness in the arrangement at all, but I can understand why one might think the legs would flex.

      Like

  3. Mary Jamason says:

    Hello David – I am a fan of your work and appreciate all of the teaching and sharing you do . It has been a great help to me as I learn to carve spoons (and soon – bowls). Sending you photos of 2 HORSES w Convertible Horses that are adapted from your Bowl Horse Plans. Thank you from Minnesota – Mary

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s