I've been wanting to make a pommel horse for a really long time. I just think they're pretty cool from a sculptural-furniture object standpoint, and of course they offer a myriad of perversion possibilities too… Plus this mostly came together from scrap material - I had a piece of foam sitting around, and a leather remnant that was about the right size. I just needed to purchase the 4x4 lumber for the legs, and it was off to the races.
As you can see from the photos, the structure isn't based on fine mortise-and-tenon joinery. I used the poor-man's method of wood glue and a shit-load of screws.I was fine with that, as everything but the legs gets covered with upholstery anyway. And trust me, this baby is strong and rigid. I toyed with the idea of tapering the legs, but if you see the antique versions (1stDibs usually has a great, if expensive, selection) they typically have straight (un-tapered) legs.
For the next step, I just laid the foam over the horse and wrapped it in plastic. I cut a couple of pieces from the foam to cap the ends.
Next up: duct tape. Longtime followers of this blog know that it's my preferred method for generating custom pattern shapes for complex objects.
A couple of layers on, until everything's nice and smooth. Do you notice the lip on the left side of the image below? I thought I'd try something clever there, and make a space for someone to fit their head between the horse and someone straddling the horse. Didn't really work out, so I'd recommend keeping the sides a cleaner, traditional symmetrical shape.
Draw potential seam lines out with a marker.
I was toying with the idea of it wrapping around a bit…
Cut the duct-tape pattern off with scissors. We end up with the main piece…
…and two end-pieces.
I'm sure at some point I traced the duct-tape pattern onto butcher paper to make the pattern. I usually make the pattern symmetrical and perfect the lines. Then it's transferred to the leather.
I ended up using darts even though I wanted to keep it as smooth as possible. This is dictated by the shape you want to make and the thickness/stretchy-ness of the leather.
This leather isn't very stretchy…
Once the end pieces are sewn on and flattened, I pull it over the foam and secure along the edge with upholstery tacks.
It came out pretty nice, and makes me want to do more furniture-type upholstered and padded stuff.
Put some stain on the legs, just to give it some color.
In this shot you can see the ridges in the foam from where it was kept in storage. Over time I expect those to come out…
And finally at least 3 coats of polyurethane to protect the finish. Sanding with fine grit in between. I've been liking the satin finish lately… Do you think I should add some forged iron rings?
Hope you liked the project! Stay tuned, more to come…