Portable Carving Bench
many carvers don´t have much space to carve, like me, and still like to have a sturdy bench, just for their carving. i have read several articles about making carving benches, and was unsure if i could do that, because i have not yet woodworking skills…but, given the price a good carving bench does cost here in germany, i thought its worth a try, so i decided to use a portable carving bench chris pye proposed in a book as a starting point.(please click images for larger view)
|this is the carving bench just assembled, already different than the one in pye´s book, since i wanted a bigger workarea and i did not built in the more complicated things, but the basic is from his idea. the bench is made to be comfortable for my height, and is 90cm high. the workarea measures 40x40cm. i used wood glue and a lot of screws to assemble it. i actually did cut some of those “woodworkers joints” for more stability, you can see on the front legs at the bottom two of them…|
|this is the first time i used it, the carving on the bench is love, btw in very early stage. the area below i used to put wood inside, so its function is storage and give additional weight to the bench.
but after a time, this did not work too well. the problem was, the floor is not absolutely flat, and the bench wobbled around when doing mallet work. the bench in itself was pretty sturdy. i figured the problem is the boards underneath,,, so …
|…i removed that board (oh that was work, i had fixed it with 40 screws…), and put the boards on the side for more stability, and put some wooden blogs besides the legs in a windmill fashion to enlarge the standing area. furthermore, i found 40x40cm workarea too small still, and replaced it by a plywood 42x60cm. i added a small shelf (green) for putting things.
now the bench is truly sturdy, and with the wood in the lower shelf it is heavy enough to stay still even under heavy mallet work.
|front view of bench|
|right side of bench is open. i have a bookrest installed at the workarea, that is the green thingy,,,ah no i do not read while carving, but i put m references there so i have them to look all the time. … and i have made an armature to hold a lamp with a swinging arm at the end of the workarea. the backside is closed with a wooden board.|
|left side of bench is closed, and i use that to store c-clamps when i don´t use them…|
the material for bench was cheap, all wood and screws did cost less than 30 euro (a carving bench similar to this one is for sell here in germany for 700 euro ! but it is better wood, namely oak) , and the assembly was not really difficult, only it needed that i saw rather precise. but even though that did not always was the case, the bench works…
so i hope this inspires you to try building yourself a small bench when you have no space for a shop or a big bench … and, the weight of the empty bench is still low enough that one can carry it, for example outdoors to carve in fresh air or into a closet after carving to remove it from view if that is wished….