Gazette Archive 4/22/00
Tool Review: The Veritas Carver's
Most carvers prefer working from a stool. This has always restricted mobility around a piece of work. The Veritas Carver's Bench was designed for just such carvers. The Veritas bench top tilts from horizontal to 90 degrees and the entire bench surface swivels 360 degrees. I found the true jewel of this bench to be the 360 degree swivel. Grain direction and carving angles require the carver to work a piece from different angles and it was wonderful that I could lightly tension the yoke which controls the swivel and turn the bench top by hand. This gave easy access to the carving from any angle.
To test the strength and stability of the Veritas design, I secured a piece of white oak to the bench and wailed my way through a deep relief carving; not holding back with the mallet blows or hand pressure to the chisels. The bench is very stable and whether it was strong mallet blows or delicate modeling, the bench stood it's ground. The screws which control the adjustments are easily accessed and when tightened, allow no movement, giving a very stable work surface.
The hold-down, which Veritas calls the "wonder pup", working in conjunction with two bench dogs, held the work fast in spite of repeated and strong mallet blows. A gap between the carving and the bench top did not appear and there was no bounce in the work induced by the mallet.
This bench is good for panel carving and half round work. The limitations of this bench are that it will not accommodate full round carvings and long moldings are difficult to secure and support on the 24" square top. A side bench for tools is necessary. If you do a considerable amount of panel carving or half round work, this bench will make it easier. Strain on the back and shoulders is lessened by the swivel and tilt and these adjustments do make carving more comfortable and less fatiguing.
Editor's Note: Lee is a professional carver and you can find his work at his website - furniturecarver.com
You can get more info about the Veritas Carver's Bench from Lee Valley's website.