Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Whatever you are currently working on, post it here! A chance to share what you are currently up to. Whether you write books on the subject, or you've just put metal onto wood for the very first time, show us what you are doing! Moderators will move posts from other threads if they feel they really belong here."

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:16 pm

Many of us have admired US bowl maker David Fisher's wonderful log bowl-horse: http://davidffisher.com/a_horse_of_a_different_sort [see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=471&p=2094&hilit=bowl+horse#p2094]

As a bowl maker, it was something I aspired to making eventually but didn't have any immediate plans or expectations. When I picked up the wood for my garden arch recently I was offered a sweet chestnut log, just right for a bowl horse: by which I mean it was as big and heavy as two of us could manage - and just about the biggest size that would fit in the car (we had to cut a foot or two off it :( - might make a bowl from the offcut :). The chap used a medium sized battery powered Husqvarna chainsaw to cut it - nice piece of kit, the future I think. This is the truncated log:
Log2.jpg
Log2.jpg (75.8 KiB) Viewed 14433 times


David Fisher was kind enough to provide me with a few insights into how he made his. So I have started off by fitting the legs:
David Fisher Bowl Horse 1.jpg
David Fisher Bowl Horse 1.jpg (102.57 KiB) Viewed 14433 times

I tried out a 3-leg configuration & 4-leg configuration, the 4 leg worked better and is more stable.

The sweet chestnut legs are quite long, 20", about an inch longer than those on my shave horse, which feels about right - can always trim them down later if necessary. The leg holes are 35mm - the size of my largest Foerstner drill bit. They look relatively skinny in the picture but are quite solid.

David's horse uses a larger diameter Maple log, with shorter, sturdy legs fitted into hefty 2" or 2.5" (50-64mm) diameter holes - which help give it that lovely solidity. From a practicality point of view, David's transportable bowl horse would likely make more sense for me (and probably most others) but there is something particularly appealing about the log bowl horse.
Last edited by ToneWood on Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:15 am, edited 8 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:49 pm

There is some precedence for this sort of horse. Witt posted this image (and a similar one, showing a clog-maker) on the Shave Horse thread: phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=813&start=105
Image

Notice the novel fast-adjust pivot & slot arrangement, clever but quite a lot of work to make.

Marking out the log
Today, I tentatively marked out the seat area (11.5"/29cm), leg cut-aways and, of course, the main slot. I haven't decided on the slot width yet.

Checking pictures of DF's horse, I too opted to leave a generous amount of wood free at either end of the main slot (my natural urge was to leave the minimum amount :D): 8" at either end.
Update: In hindsight, should probably have: (1) made the seat longer and (2) left more wood between the slot and the seat. Both are adequate but longer would be better.


The first cut

Learning from making my Robin Wood Bowlmate last year, I sawed the front cut for the seat by hand, using a big old metal bow/bushman saw (with its rusty old 2.5' blade - hardly used for the last 40 years!), rather than a chainsaw - being v. careful not to cut too far.
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:26 pm, edited 6 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:57 pm

Slot end-holes
I drilled a end hole at each end of the main slot today, as suggested by David Fisher: the slot will require 2 parallel chainsaw cuts 3-4cm apart. David used a 2" bit auger, I used my largest Foerstner bit (35mm - you can get larger 40 & 50mm Foerstner bits on ebay for around £5) but it could only reach around 3" deep, so I finished up with my largest scotch eye auger (more on my adventures with that here). The auger is 1 and 1/8 inch diameter (28.6mm).
Drilling the bowl horse with a large scotch eye auger 2.jpg
The legs support 17 stone/238lb/108kg without problem.
Drilling the bowl horse with a large scotch eye auger 2.jpg (76.72 KiB) Viewed 14380 times

Swing arm & main slot
This choice is important as it will dictate the width of the main slot. I opted to hew my swing arm from green wood, ash, just as I did for my shave horse - time-consuming but fun and strong.

Considerations:
- My biggest drill bit size 35mm Foerstners/28.6mm Auger - the chainsaw could be used to open up the slot a little more than that if necessary.
- A narrow slot can be widened but a wide slot cannot easily be narrowed.
- Need enough wood on the swing arm to cut tenons at both ends, for the dumb-head & pedal.

Seat cuts
I made the vertical cut with a big old bow saw. The horizontal/diagonal cut proved too much for the hand-saw - I'll use a chainsaw instead.
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:40 pm, edited 8 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:16 pm

I got the chainsaw out today. 'Orrible, oily, noisy, smelly thing.
Bowl horse - chainsawed 1.jpg
The plank at the back is the wood cut out of the main slot. Yes, the chainsaw bar is on upside down - it gets rotated each time the chain is swapped or sharpened.
Bowl horse - chainsawed 1.jpg (105.1 KiB) Viewed 14360 times

Man, it was hot with the safety gear on: I drank 3 pints of water and 2 cups of tea while working on this. I thought one tank of fuel would be more than enough but I had to fuel & fill the bar oil 3x!
Bowl horse - chainsawed seat 1.jpg
Bowl horse - chainsawed seat 1.jpg (81.55 KiB) Viewed 14360 times

Unsurprisingly, I couldn't get the saw to follow my diagonal cut line for the seat, so I opted to cut it out as 2 blocks, so I could re-start the cut higher. I also made leg cut-aways, following David's original design. Despite the obvious discontinuity, the seat is already comfortable but I plan to shape it with hand tools later (adze, bowl gouge, etc.).

Bowl horse - butchers diagram.jpg
Pic shows the blocks of wood remove - reminiscent of a butcher's joint diagram. The slot was cut to be around 38mm wide but required some widening & "chainsaw planing" afterwards - it's a good fit now for the proposed swing arm, shown in the slot, now.
Bowl horse - butchers diagram.jpg (85.56 KiB) Viewed 14360 times

Chain
I used a regular Stihl chain for about 80% of the cutting; I had to re-sharpen it once and then swapped it out in favor of a professionally re-sharpened standard Oregon 91 chain for the final (difficult horizontal/diagonal) cutting and the extensive cleaning & widening of the main slot. It produced a lot of chips, shavings and saw dust, far more than shown in these pictures: 10 large snow-shovels full, piled high.

Shaping the top & sides
David put a flat top on this and cut a diagonal slant down the entire length of each side. I really didn't want to do any more carving with the chainsaw, too much risk of disaster. So I will likely try to flatten the top out with hand tools: draw knife, #4 plane, spoke shave perhaps. I might add sacrificial pine strips either side of the slot too. Not sure if I need the diagonal slant cuts: my log is smaller diameter than David's and my long drill bit and augers are long enough to go through it as it is, for the swing-arm pivot holes. If I cut the slopes, I will likely use an axe.

The Design

As I make this, I am struck that David's later transportable design is perhaps a far more sensible/practical implementation: there is no obvious advantage to using a big log over standard timber other than, perhaps, aesthetics (David's log bowl horse is a thing of considerable beauty) and mass/stability. The later design is much lighter & slimmer (and therefore moveable & transportable and so more versatile & convenient), it requires much less wood, no chainsaw or super-long drill bits/augers just a few basic hand tools - and probably only one person to move it.

Locating the bowl horse

I've not yet figured out where this will live. Being sweet chestnut, I suppose it could live in my outside work area, alongside my bowlmate, covered with a tarp, that would be pleasant and convenient for working - but moving it there, up steep narrow steps, will be quite a task and I wonder how long it would last. Ideally it will go in the workshop (garage) but that's rather full currently.
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby bulldawg_65 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:56 am

That is going to be one hell of a cool bowl horse! :)
Phil Steele
bulldawg_65
Regular
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:10 am
Location: Noblesville, IN USA

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:02 pm

Hope so Phil :D Just got back of holiday but couldn't resist roughing out the seat with my little HK bowl adze:
Bowl horse - carved seat.jpg
Bowl horse - carved seat.jpg (102.38 KiB) Viewed 14071 times

I initially started out by making a scooped out "anatomical" seat, which looked pretty good and felt comfortable enough but the scoop was much narrower than my behind, so I opted to simplify it for a better fit - the little heal at the back serves no real purpose, just cosmetic! The sitting position feels reminiscent of an old cafe' racer/Ducati/Norton/BSA :).
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:09 pm

Haven't given up on this project.

Dumb Head:
Recently carved the head from chestnut: it's big. Bigger than the oversize head on my shave horse: the size of boot box v. the size of a large shoe box :). I have a fear that chestnut might not be a good choice of wood for this task though - it splits far more readily than, say, oak, beech, ash. [UPDATE: yes it did split after several months of use. I just glued the split to fix it. Will replace later if necessary.]
Sweet chestnut dumb head2.jpg
Sweet chestnut dumb head2.jpg (74.25 KiB) Viewed 13400 times


Treadle/Pedal:
This is identical to the treadle plate/pedal I made for my shave horse, being the remaining half of the same piece of wood - so very little cutting required :).

Swing arm:
I tried re-shaping a thick piece of old salvaged, varnish, wood (similar to top piece, in image below) - looked like decent hardwood - but the weak cross grain quickly showed when I took a draw-knife to it.
Swing arm candidates.jpg
Swing arm candidates.jpg (83.1 KiB) Viewed 13401 times

So I did what I originally wanted to do, I took a piece of round, green ash and shaped it into a plank, that looks rather like a slightly curved 2x4...but much, much stronger; second from bottom in image, above.

Pivot:
I noticed that the chestnut tannin had corroded my already cruddy steel pivot bar. I looked for stainless steel and brass bars on ebay but found that a heavy-duty tent peg ~7mm fits very well. I have straightened out the bent end to a right-angle, looks good :) [see below]. I've oiled it to help avoid corrosion.
Bowl horse swing arm head  & treddle.jpg
Mora 106 knife for scale. Note the metal tent peg - straightened to act as the pivot-pin. Also my "bench club".
Bowl horse swing arm head & treddle.jpg (90.32 KiB) Viewed 13401 times
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 7 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:39 am

The swing-arm/dumb-head/treadle assembly was initially unbalanced - rather top-heavy:
Unbalanced head.jpg
Unbalanced head.jpg (83.62 KiB) Viewed 13397 times

The long shape and large mass of the dumb-head - shown above - are excessive for the bowl horse - David Fisher uses smaller heads on his two bowl horses.

On my original shave horse (see background), the pivot holes are towards the front of the swing-arm (as suggested in Jogge Sundqvist's book), so that the clamping-gap normally remains open, ready to accept a work-piece. That seems to be unnecessary with this head, so the pivot hole is currently on the center-line of the swing-arm.

Since the above image, I have:
- Lowered the head a few inches by drilling a couple of new, higher, pivot holes in the swing-arm, which helps with the balance
- Cut 3+" off the front of the dumb-head, ditto. Will likely cut a little off the back later.
- Cut 3" off the crotch area of the seat...
Bowl-horse trimmed dumb-head.jpg
Bowl-horse trimmed dumb-head.jpg (70.65 KiB) Viewed 13210 times

For the above cutting I tried using 2 hand-saws: a 2' metal bow saw & a Spear & Jackson Predator-X - a surprisingly stiff & fast cutting modern saw:
ImageImage
The latter proved to be the better saw for this job.

Finally, will need to fashion an end-stop to be fitted in front of the seat. David uses a grooved end-stop, presumably to hold the handle which is typically left at the both ends of a carved bowl. And then several weeks/months/years of use & tweaking to "fine-tune" it... :)
Last edited by ToneWood on Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:15 pm

The last piece, the end-stop caused me to stop & think. Originally, I'd hoped to carve this out of a single piece of green wood but I eventually figured that would likely mean sacrificing yet another large, hard to find, bowl blank and I wasn't confident that the strength between grains would be strong enough for the side supports. I took a close look at the images & videos on David Fisher's website on a large screen to see how he'd tackled this task - quite helpful. I also contacted David to see if he had any advice and he kindly provided me with some thoughts and insights.

So my current end-stop (I can change it later if necessary - didn't take long to make) is made from offcuts - a piece of pallet & a couple of pieces of roof baton - glued & screwed in place.
End-stop glued in vice.jpg
End-stop glued in vice.jpg (56.35 KiB) Viewed 13210 times

Bowl-horse side-view.jpg
Bowl-horse side-view.jpg (89.12 KiB) Viewed 13210 times

That end-stop assembly was then screwed onto the end of the seat, using a large screw, with a penny-washer to spread the load over the soft wood. Originally I planned to use 3-large screws but one seemed to be enough, as I made the base secure against the log - it feels solid. [UPDATE: After a few months of use this came loose, so I have added 2 more carriage-bolts & glued the end-stop in place.]
Bowl-horse big picture.jpg
Bowl-horse big picture.jpg (79.42 KiB) Viewed 13210 times

I plan to add some grippy padding (at David's suggestion) - perhaps rubber mat, neoprene (I have some wetsuit offcuts somewhere) or carpet (have lots of these - recetnly replaced some carpets). Other than than, I think I am done for now. Time to make some more bowls (and a few spoons perhaps)!

It has just struck me that I now have a great bowl making set-up - and much sooner than I expected:
- a Robin Wood bowlmate for hollowing out the blanks and
- a David Fisher bowl horse for shaving, shaping & texturing the base.
I feel very fortunate. I hope I can live up to it! :D
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:29 pm

BTW Check out David Fishers website: http://davidffisher.com/home - his recent bowls are amazing!
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby DavidFisher » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:51 pm

Great job, Tony. I didn't know about this thread earlier. I hope it works well for you. Your documentation is sure to help folks who give this a try. Thanks for sharing.
DavidFisher
Regular
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 3:27 pm
Location: Greenville, Pennsylvania USA

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby arborrider » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:06 am

More or less completed the build of a David Fisher "Horse of a Different Sort". Building up a collection of "customized" deadheads & stops as the need arises. Until last week have been using the workbench with an assortment of hold downs, dogs and diy jigs. This Horse makes life a bit more enjoyable. 1st horse ever used. Impressed with how firmly the horse holds different shapes & sizes of stock. Followed the dimension specs as outlined. Ended up ~1ft(~30cm) longer than my short reach can use. Thanks David for sharing your design at your web site.

Would like to build the rustic version. Thanks Tonewood for your posts. Somewhere on the property is a maple tree that may become a horse.
noelh
I may be dull, but my blades are sharp:)
arborrider
Regular
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:50 pm
Location: Bayview Township, northwoods of Wisconsin along the SouthShore of Lake Superior

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:03 pm

That's good to hear Noel :). Different heads, hadn't thought about that. The timber version is, I expect, a more practical horse - but I was just taken by David's log horse & a big log became available. Do you have pictures?

Yes, you make a good point about the length - it is longer than it needs to be and perhaps longer than can be fully utilized. In reality, I could not reach the full length of the biggest bowl that my horse could accommodate (despite a goodly reach) - but I suppose you could just work on the near end...at least you could do, if you could reach the pedal! I think you'd either need to extend the pedal somehow (have seen some interesting ways of doing this on the web), get somebody else to tread on it while you work or find a way to lock it in place (perhaps with a peg/pin/inner-tube/...?)
Last edited by ToneWood on Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby arborrider » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:10 pm

If & when building up the next DF bowl horse a shorter more portable model. Folding leg system for a compact package. Photo of the horse plus the dumb head and stop. 2 x4 scraps for a sacrificial stop slid into the stop "slot".
Attachments
DFBH parts.JPG
DFBH parts.JPG (30.53 KiB) Viewed 11880 times
DFBH stop.JPG
DFBH stop.JPG (28.71 KiB) Viewed 11880 times
DFBH.JPG
DFBH.JPG (28.81 KiB) Viewed 11880 times
noelh
I may be dull, but my blades are sharp:)
arborrider
Regular
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:50 pm
Location: Bayview Township, northwoods of Wisconsin along the SouthShore of Lake Superior

Re: Making a David Fisher Bowl Horse

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:34 am

Lovely job - looks like it could be a professional, commerical product. I think your suggestions for improvements are sound too - & should help take it to the next level. I already think the lumber version is the more practical design.

I used my bowlhorse for the first time yesterday and it was a revelation and a marvel: I was able to drawknife & spokeshave the outside of my latest bowl in next to no time - previously it took a lot of clamping & faffing around. Although, learning from past bowls, I had already removed a lot more bulk with my axes than I have in the past before switching to the drawknife - it's riskier but faster, as long as you don't go too far.

Tweaks

As expected, some of the design & implementation strengths & weakness become apparent once you start using the thing:

The end stop design worked brilliantly (that's David Fisher's design), however, I see what you mean about making different dumb-heads - I'm thinking about cutting a step into the top of the dumb-head, to give an addition fitting option - and perhaps a vertical slot to match the end-stop. In one position, I found that the bowl (a long, unusually deep, galleon-shaped reverse bowl, with prominent bow) naturally lodged against the top of my swing-arm, where it protrudes above the dumb-head, rather than against the dumb-head itself -- but it worked ok like that too!

I will probably drill a couple more long pivot holes closer towards the seat too. In hindsight, I could have made the main slot shorter and should have made the seat longer - perhaps a foot or 2 longer, more like on my shave horse - to give myself the option to move further back away from the workpiece, which would sometimes be more convenient <-- Something for others to consider in their designs.

Overall though, I am absolutely delighted with my David Fisher bowlhorse - it's brilliant!

BTW another reason for having such a long slot occurred to me: it should be possible to use the bowl horse to hold axe/tool handles for final shaping, working on the nearest half, then flipping the handle round to work on the other half.
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Next

Return to Member's Projects

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests