Monday, February 24, 2014

Presto chango!

While working with Dave Fisher last summer I got to try out his Bowl Horse.  It pinches the workpiece rather than clamping it like a traditional shave horse, and I saw its benefits immediately.  I especially liked the ability to work the entire length of a piece.

So, between grading batches of tests this weekend I buckled down and built this:

Dave Fisher's website has plans for a bowl horse from dimensional lumber, so I went with that.  I wish I had the time to make it from green wood, but I don't, and I already had much of the lumber in my basement.   
Now, recently Jarrod StoneDahl posted some videos of his spoon-making process, including one of his "Spoon Mule."  This device makes a ton of sense to me, especially since my wrists have been hurting lately from carving lots of hard apple.  So, I decided to make a spoon mule attachment for the bowl horse.

Slide the dumb head out of the way, insert the spoon mule attachment...
...and presto chango: a spoon mule!
I like the idea of reconfiguring one horse for different jobs.  Saves space.  I am also considering how to reposition the dumb head and add a slanted work surface to transform it into a traditional shave horse.  

Anyway, I have not really put them through their paces yet.  Can't wait to see how they work.  But first, I really need to finish grading those tests...

Many thanks to Dave and Jarrod for the inspiration. 


  1. You are such a lucky guy: You had the opportunity to talk, work and learn with one of my idols: David Fisher!
    This idea of adapting Jarrod's "mule" to David's "horse" I have in work, too!!
    I'll keep You in touch, with the results.

    1. Excellent! I look forward to seeing the results!
      By the way, thanks for sharing those shots of you carving outside. Great to see the landscape from your part of the world!

    2. I'm glad You're interested in this! Promise that I'll take more pictures, soon.

    3. I love how you've created an accessory for the horse, Eric. You might end up with the ShopSmith of the green woodworking world. Jarrod's mule is a very cool idea, and adapting it in this way that saves space is important to most of us. As you know, my shop isn't very big either. Thanks for sharing.
      Dave F.

  2. I have also seen the design on Dave Fisher's site and it really makes sense to me. I hope to build one in the future. Just curious if you have played anymore with the concept of adding the traditional shaving horse functionality as well? It would be interesting to hear more of your thoughts on it.

    1. Hi Jen. I have not done it yet, but am thinking on it. If I were to do it all again, I would make one change that would make it easier to add a shave horse. The stop that you pinch the bowl against needs to be removable. I bolted and glued mine in place. Without it it would be easier to add the shave horse. Hope that helps. Show me picks when you make yours.