Monday, 31 August 2015

Inventor shows he’s a cut above the rest

IT IS often said necessity is the mother of invention and never has that been more appropriate than in the case of Richard Bowness.

A chronic bad back left the retired Little Langdale builder dreading the arduous chore of cutting firewood to heat his home.

While most would admit defeat and settle for buying more expensive pre-cut tinder, the self-confessed “ideas man” took a different tack.

He set about inventing a special saw-horse that would allow anyone keen to preserve their backs to cut firewood safely and quickly.

About 3,000 man-hours, quite a bit of money and 14 prototypes later, Mr Bowness is the proud inventor of the fully patented Truncator.

The Truncator, which sells for between £240 and £300, is essentially a trestle that holds the wood steady at a comfortable height for cutting. However, its genius lies in a special set of custom-built hinged cups that catch the logs before they hit the ground, which can then easily be tipped into a wheelbarrow.

“It was necessity,” the 60-year-old said when asked how he came up with the original idea for his invention.

“Having lower back problems to the point where I can’t pick things up meant that when I cut logs and they were on the floor I had to kneel down in the mud and the muck to pick them up.”

Mr Bowness used his primitive version for three or four years with success before a friend saw the device and was so taken with it he suggested selling them.

The inventor set to work honing his design and, after much research and plenty of trial and error, settled upon a functional – and marketable – product.

Mr Bowness said there were several key benefits of the Truncator that he believed would appeal to not just people with bad backs, but anyone who cuts wood regularly. He said: “It’s definitely revolutionising log-cutting with a chainsaw.

“You can cut 60 logs in 60 seconds with no danger, no bending over and, because you’re cutting so efficiently, you’re chainsaw’s fuel and oil usage is halved too.”

Despite his success, Mr Bowness warned aspiring inventors against rushing into production and expecting to become instant millionaires.

“Don’t do it,” he said, laughing.

“You have to realise that you’re going to have some real lows, as well as real highs. I’ve got a very simple, very good idea. But for me to get it to where it is now, I’ve spent maybe 3,000 hours on it for less than nothing.

“I think it will eventually be financially viable and successful, but up to now, I can’t think of a better hobby to lose money on.”


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