Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Magic of Horse Mats and Monster Trucks

Growing up, there was little doubt I would turn out, um, peculiar. One week my dad threw out his back while working on the farm, and his doctor confined him to his bed to recover.

So my dad set up a little workshop in the bed and — while on his back — built a small end table and hand painted the end panels. My friends don’t believe this story, but I have the table to prove it.

As a result, I’ve always been careful about my own back. I lift heavy objects with my knees, blah blah blah. But lately, I have to say that the concrete floor in our shop at work has been murder.

In our previous shop, we had anti-fatigue mats, but we pitched those because we were going to have a wooden floor in our new shop. That didn’t work out. So a couple weeks ago we bought some thick rubber mats intended for horse stalls and weight-lifting rooms. Each 4′ x 6′ mat weighs about 100 pounds and cost about $60.

How do they work? Well they immediately made the shop smell like a tire store. Aside from that dream come true, they helped my back quite a bit. After a couple weeks of dovetailing and planing in front of my bench I definitely felt a difference.

This week, my love for my mat became even more obvious when I was working in my shop at home. After three days on my concrete I was ready to sneak into a nearby horse stall for relief.

I found a temporary solution: a moving blanket emblazoned with monster trucks. I folded the blanket in half and put it in front of my bench to protect the carcase assembly I was working on. Surprisingly, the moving blanket also helped my carcass.

- Christopher Schwarz

24 thoughts on “The Magic of Horse Mats and Monster Trucks

  1. Greg

    Sever months ago I found some heavy duty 3 x 3 rubber mats at home depot for $19.95. I bought 2 so I could try them out and have since added another 6. They interlock and have enough weight so that they don’t move. Nuch more affordable that the $90 industrial mats I purchased before finding these. My back is smiling!

  2. Christopher Schwarz

    Andy,

    We flipped them after a couple days when we realized how much dust was getting into the grooves.

    I was at first concerned that the flat side of the mat would grip my shoes as well when planing (the grooved side seems grippier). But the flat side is good enough.

    Thanks for the tip on cleaning them.

    Chris

  3. Andy Mellett

    Good idea, I’ve actually got a couple of them in my finished gym. To avoid the smell take them outside and scrub them and spray them down with some soap. Leave them out there for a day or two and that should kill alot of the smell.

    Oh, and I hate to burst the "good idea" theme but you have the mat installed upside down. the grooves run on the bottom and the flat surface is on top. there is no way people could work out with them installed the way you have them, they would get totaled by the bottom of the benches, you couldn’t clean them out. Same deal in a horse stall.

    Andy

  4. cecil rice

    I’ve been interested in the Dri-Core product that Steve Johnson (above) talked about. Steve do you like it? Yes, they are expensive, for my 300 sq ft shop it would cost almost 700 dollars..but my knees and legs are worth it.

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