Anthony Bailey and Mark Baker make a handy carving bench
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We have made for you a vari-angle carving stand/drawing board, which we have christened a multi-function carver's bench. We worked out all the construction problems so that you can make one straight from the drawings without difficulty.
There were several basic requirements that had to be incorporated into the design:
1. It had to be portable so it could be transported in the back of a car.
2. It must be able to withstand the rigours of carvings being struck with a chisel and mallet.
3. Three working angles for the board were needed depending on the task: 30°, 45° and 80°.
4. It needed tool wells at either side that could be removed for transporting.
5. Side strips could be added when a 'stop' was required if sideways cuts are being made.
The carving board and the angled sides are made from 12mm ply. Take a piece of 50 x 50mm PAR softwood and cut to length. It needs a substantial dowel to allow it to rotate and have plenty of strength. A 25mm Forstner bit will make the right size hole with a dowel to match it.
The two 30° angled end pieces have the leading corner radiused so the board will tilt. The frame pieces which fit between the angled ends need to be about 1-1.5mm longer than the radiused component already glued to the board so the board can swivel freely.
The front frame piece is made from 50 x 50mm PAR glued and screwed in position behind the radiused component. The two frame pieces will give the whole assembly the required strength.
A length of 50 x 32mm PAR is cut to length, the two stays are also cut to length with a bevel at the bottom end and rounded at the top end, as shown on the drawings. They are then drilled to take coach screws, as are the ends of the 50 x 32mm PAR. A Forstner bit is used to create recesses for the washers and heads.
Now the 45° and 80° angles need to be set. This isn't absolutely critical but it should be the same at each end. Here is the final shape that we evolved to hold the end of each stay. It allows both the 45° and 80° angles to be set.
At either end of the board there is an identical tool tray consisting of square recesses to hold carving tools in a vaguely upright position and a long tray for other items. The square compartments are butt glued together first, then the long compartment and ends are glued and taped into position. Now the MDF or ply bases can be glued on. The tool trays are mounted using wide stick-on hook-and-loop strip.
The board has a fillet glued along the bottom edge to support the carvings. At each end, fillets are used as removable stops, the holes bored straight through both fillet and board with a sacrificial piece underneath. Dowels are glued in the holes and left to set. On the top face they are flushed off smooth and underneath they are cut fractionally under board thickness and the leading edges slightly chamfered.