More Tools – Sinking Stump

My unglamorous but very used stump.
My unglamorous but very used stump.

It’s not my most glamorous tool, but it is one of my most used ones – my sinking stump. (It is also one of the cheapest since I found it in the woods.) I use this tool when sinking a bowl. The flat sheet if pushed out with my sinking hammer just above the stump to give it a concave structure.

In school we had a variety of sinking stumps which all had depressions in them. Many people used them like dapping blocks and just hammered the sheet into the depressions. When I took my toolmaking class I started on a stump of my own. It was some sort of hardwood and I was using cheap chisels and long story short it never got a full depression in it. At some point it was also disappeared by my father after sitting in his garage or shed for too long.

The obviously staged, but in process shot of using the stump to sink a bowl.
The obviously staged in process shot of using the stump to sink a bowl.

So when I set-up my current studio I needed a stump. I found this one (or actually my husband saw a bunch laying around on his way to work and we went back and I picked one out) and decided to use it as is. It’s short so I have to either crouch on the floor (what I usually do) or place it on a table to sink with it. You probably also notice that there is no depression in it. That’s because you don’t need one. A depression can be a crutch. You really just need a cushion of air between the metal and the wood. In theory I could use a 2 x 4, but I like the rustic look of the stump.

This is one of the tools that I remembered my visits to the Folk Life Festival and how people in other countries find a way to work even without all the fancy tools that you and I can buy here. It works, it’s simple, and it’s free. Remember that next time you think you need all the tools your school had.

3 thoughts on “More Tools – Sinking Stump

  1. Wendy this is a great tool! I am seeking out free and affordable tools as I progress in metal work. It is easy to just buy what ones needs, but it seems part of the creativity can come from inventing the tools as well. As always, thanks for blogging about your work!! 🙂


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