Natural Spruce Empire Stool

This is a traditional empire stool which was designed for travel on long journeys. We’ve used reclaimed spruce planks, complete with scratches, and drill marks plugged with ash dowels. There are no nails or screws, in fact no metal is used in the design. The seat is pegged to the frame with hemlock dowels. A cubby connects the frame and adds lateral support. Hand grips are ground out on the underside of the seat. The finish is polyurethane. No stain is used.

These chairs are great accents in a hall or bedroom and can often be found with a few clothes or jackets resting on top.

The finished size is 21″x15″ and stands 18″ tall. #07-29-18  Click on images to expand.

Trebuchet – Wild West Style

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How to send your love 300 meters in three seconds: the Prairie Bench Trebuchet.  (more pics and video below)

Siege engines, such as ballistas, catapults and trebuchets are medieval devices for throwing stuff. Originally developed somewhere in France? the trebuchet became famous during the reign of King Edward Longshanks when he employed the use of one to storm the walls at Sterling Castle. Since, trebuchets have mystified and terrified audiences with their immense power and rudimentary use of physics. We’ll be using this device to send tennis balls and water balloons, maybe a small pumpkin.

ready to launch

ready to launch

The trebuchet is really just an unbalanced see-saw with a counter weight on one end of a long boom or mast, and a sling on the other. The counter weight can be anything heavy enough to lift the long wooden mast and whip a sling holding the ammunition. When the sling moves overhead, centrifugal force causes one looped end of the sling to slip over an open prong at the tip of the mast. The latent energy to fling the ammo is held by raising the counter weight and then releasing it. Gravity does the rest. There are many strange terms and phrases used for trebuchets available online, however this post uses our own novice phrases.

The trick to designing a trebuchet involves three main variables: the size of the ammunition, the mass of the counter-weight, and the angle of the prong to release the sling. By adjusting these variables, consistent and powerful shots can be made quite easily. It’s also important that the entire frame is free to rock back and forth, allowing for a ‘whip action’ used in traditional hand slings.

Enter the Prairie Bench Trebuchet—sort of a wild west variation:

-V8 350 flywheel counterweight
-60″ mast
-steel axle bearings with grease reservoirs
-100 kgs of latent energy (optional 400 kg spring upgrades)
– fold down portable
-adjustable chain stays
-adjustable launch center board by degrees
-wooden wheels and rocker
-easy load magnetic trigger set
-variable thrust dial including mayhem, havoc, and doom
-adjustable prong
-hand woven sling
-hand carved ‘loosing’ handle
-front and rear triggers
-safety lock
-hand crank draw winch
-barrow transport handles, optional

The trebuchet stands 7 feet tall with a three foot sling. Less than 30″ wide, our siege engine can easily fit through any castle door.

Our design uses a solid fir mast hand planed to a taper with steel flat bar reinforcing, laminated spruce pillars, fir frame, and chain stays. The trigger mechanism is used from the rear or the front using 1/4″ steel push rods and a safety lock. The sling is hand woven from sisal fiber.

In golf yell, “Fore!” With a cannon yell, “Fire!” With a trebuchet yell, “Loose!”

Video: http://youtu.be/reL1tNnN4Qg

Shield On Journey

Prairie Bench Battle shield crate

An update on the Grand Battle Shield… it has traveled thousands of miles to the castle of its new owner. Unsure if the journey would be by boat, carriage, or on foot, we constructed a spruce attache case to fit. We want our patrons to feel like they are discovering a rare treasure when our pieces do arrive, so we design the cases to look like they come from somewhere exotic and mystical… because Prairie Bench is in just such a special place.

Old Plank Cedar Chest

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Cedar trunk in progress. A 100 year old camel back trunk sits in the background.

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A friend dropped off a few pieces of old growth cedar reclaimed from a demolition. These were 2×6″ used in the attic. Cut to size and planed, the planks are now an arch top cedar chest. The arch top and it’s relative, the camel back, prevented others from stacking luggage on top. Your luggage would be last on and first off at the steam ship dock.

There are still some iron fixtures and hinges to go on, but we thought you might like  to see some incredibly old cedar being put to reuse. The hardware will have to be old and worn, or we will make our own from steel flat bar.

The grain is very tight and the planks were heavy despite being cedar and completely dry. This one might be a keeper when it’s done, or maybe a traveling companion on display.

Approx size: 32″ wide x 22″ tall x 16″ deep
Approx weight: 30 lbs.

(Back with more pictures when it’s all shiny.)

Grand Battle Shield

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This immense piece of defensive equipment would have to be carried by a few helpers while the knight did sword work around them. For one person to wield the Grand Battle Shield… they’d have to be strong.

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The shield uses seven hand planed spruce timbers taken down to 1.5″ thick on a 5% curve. The diamond design is enhanced with 14 axe-breaking steel bolts called clavos. There is also evidence of several major sword and axe hits that look easily shrugged off by the battle shield. The edges are beveled and the back has laminated supports and burnt edges. You’re getting a sneak peek. There’s one more layer of poly finish and the wound iron handles yet to attach. We’re letting the wood breathe a little longer before it gets prepped for travel.

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The Grand Battle Shield will hang on the wall with an easy- to- adjust burnt iron chain and 100 lb hook, when not in use.

Prairie Bench shield 272

#272-BL-03-14
Size: 45″ x 36″
Weight: approx 50 lbs, 20 kgs
Designed in Spruce and finished with Prairie Bench Storybook. Uses hardwood dowels and hand tooled steel clavos.