New Bowl Horse Plans and Tutorial

Over twenty years ago, I designed and built my first bowl horse and it has been an important carving partner for me ever since. I use it for every bowl, but also for shrink pots, spoon blanks, and all sorts of other things. It is an integral part of my workshop.

For the past year or so, I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into developing an improved design to share, with detailed plans and clear instruction. This horse is built with common materials and simple techniques, yet it performs better than my previous horses. A few critical details really matter. With very little woodworking experience and less than $30 of lumber, you can build this bowl horse that will remain solid and serve you well for many years to come.

Once I had developed the design, I asked Jeff Lefkowitz to convert my rough drawings into beautiful, clear plans. Jeff’s work and attention to detail is legendary. He has produced plans for Curtis Buchanan, Peter Follansbee, Tim Manney, Peter Galbert, and other amazing craftsmen. Jeff’s high standards resulted in excellent plans that assure success for those building and using the bowl horse.

To accompany the plans, I wrote an extensive step-by-step tutorial detailing the building process, with over 50 photographs. The tutorial and the plans are found on the Bowl Horse Plans page. The full tutorial is available to all for free there.

I’m selling the plans on that same webpage as a PDF download. This makes them available everywhere instantly. All credit cards should be accepted, regardless of country. Once you purchase access, the download links for both pages will become available/visible to you on the webpage — like a curtain has been lifted. You could download and work with the plans from your computer screen, but if you wish to have the plans printed at full size, you can simply email the files to your local print shop. My shop charged me $10 for the two pages (42″x24″, and 36″x24″). Then there’s no need to pay for shipping on top of that, or to wait for a tube to arrive in the mail.


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20 Responses to New Bowl Horse Plans and Tutorial

  1. Skip Florey says:

    Hello Dave,
    The horse looks very nice and sturdy, and I’m sure will have years of use. I hope to be building it very soon! After a other projects already in the works.
    Thanks for making it easy for us👍.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Skip. Sturdiness was an important requirement. When I’m preparing a bowl blank, I’m sometimes throwing a 30 pound half-log onto it for drawknife work. Good luck with your horse!


  2. Bob Easton says:

    Even before buying the plans, I can see some of the changes. I built your previous design and it has served very well. So well, in fact, that when we moved cross country, I left behind a 12 foot long English workbench but brought along the bowl horse. (…and built a new workbench here.) This refined design will give many people years of fine service.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Bob. I appreciate you sharing that. Those that had built the previous design could choose to incorporate some of the changes without rebuilding the whole horse. For example, adding the new swing arm/head design to the old horse would be a step up. Now, tell me where you left that 12 foot English workbench…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pidog314 says:

    Thank you, David. 


    div>Can your bowl horse be used for spo


  4. ikustwood says:

    Merci !

    Cordialement / Cordially
    Hugo Baillargeon


  5. jefski78 says:

    When I view your page for the plans, I get the download links but not an option to pay you for them.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      I think the link you’re referring to may actually be the button to click to pay for the plans. It did read “Access/Download the Plans for $30”. I’ve adjusted the wording to be more clear now to: “Pay now to Access/Download the Plans…”. Let me know if that works for you. Otherwise it may be some sort of a WordPress glitch. Thanks for letting me know.


  6. mbryan821dbb758a says:

    Wow. Thank you David.

    Can’t wait to dive into this and build it.

    Just purchased the plans and have my parts list.

    Thanks again for all your work.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. grenfroe says:

    Ordering Plan My present slot in a log is like my grandfathers horse. His name was calculus because no one could work him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thverring says:

    I’m building a combination shave/bowl/carving horse, and the base for it will be something like your bowl horse. It really allows me to add what I need for carving etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kevinwebsterlives says:

    I bought these without hesitation, as an opportunity to pay you something for all your generosity of knowledge. This blog is source of continuous inspiration and brilliant curation your experiments and exploration of craft. We are all truly humbled.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. David says:

    Hey Dave, this looks amazingly useful and not too challenging to build from easily available materials. A lot of thought must have gone into making this 3rd? edition so simple. Any chance you might consider posting video of it in use showing the features? Appreciate all the marvelous craft and explorations you share. Your work and attitude are inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jbreiby says:

    Dear Dave,

    I’ve tried several times to open the site so I can order your Bowl Horse plans, but when I click on it, the little “wheel of death” pops up and just spins around interminably without opening anything. Do you have any suggestions? Maybe this is a temporary problem for today.

    I’ve read through the illustrated portion of the “how to do” part, and as usual your directions, along with the photos, are clear as can be. Now all I need are some dimensions.

    Thank you so much for putting this out! It will make my bowl carving ever so much easier than having the thing skidding all over the bench.

    John Breiby Wasilla, Alaska



    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks for letting me know, John. I’ve confirmed that this is happening; it’s not just you. I’ve got the WordPress wizzes on it, and I’ll get back to you when the glitch has been resolved. Thanks for your patience and your interest in the plans.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      John, after much communication with the folks at WordPress, I think we got rid of the glitches. Actually, there were all sorts of strange things that had changed mysteriously and messed things up on the site today — that’s the limit of my technical understanding! Anyway, I think you should have no problem now in ordering the plans. The button should take you to the secure credit card form through WordPress and Stripe. Let me know if you have any more issues. Thanks.


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