carvers lapboard

Carvers Lapboard

Since I have just taken up wood carving I decided to make a "Carvers Lapboard" on the suggestion of several people on the Wood Carving Illustrated support forum to help cut down on the amount of time it takes with cleaning up all the chips afterwards. There is a vinyl piece attached to the curved area that lays across your belly that lets the chips slide down into the tray for collection. There is a tool tray on the top area to set your carving knives and other misc items to keep them from rolling around.

I may have gone a little overboard, but not including the scrap 1/2 birch core plywood I only spent $10 on this. $1.99 on a clearance 1sq yard of vinyl. 8 - 20 ct. packages of antique brass upholstery nails at $.97 a package

I decided to leave the main work area without any vinyl applied since I am thinking about cutting and applying 1/4 plywood to it as a sacrificial cutting board. This way after a year or so of use, I just pop off the 1/4" ply and replace it.

The total size of the Lapboard is 31" wide by 19 1/2" deep. I cut the main piece at 30" by 19" and then cut some 1 1/2" strips and screwed them onto the three outside edges. I then cut a 1" strip and screwed that on to create a tool rest

I glued a 3 bamboo skewers to the bottom of the tray to help keep tools from rolling around too much.

I then started to apply the vinyl starting at the tool tray using hot melt glue to hold it into the corners and trying to make a nice tight bump over the skewers to help keep the tools from rolling around. Don't use any glue on the top edge of the sides or divider since that will squeeze out when you start nailing it down. Don't cut the vinyl flush with the edge of the sides, leave enough so you can fold it over and tuck it under so when you nail it down it gives all the edges a nice clean look. The hardest part is the corners.

Do the tray first, then each side, make sure you pull everything as tight as possible. Then cut off a chunk of vinyl long and wide enough to cover your belly up to your arm pits. I cut an angle on each side of mine so it goes a little higher on my chest and curves down under my arm pits. This way when I am carving my pits hold the vinyl in place. Turn this vinyl piece over so the nice side is facing up. Then tuck it under the lapboard inside of the vinyl bottom. Pull the bottom as tight as you can and nail it all the way around the edge of the bottom that touches your stomach. This will secure the bottom and the lap piece at one time. Make sure you put these nails as close together as you can so it doesn't leave gaps on the top side that will collect wood chips.