View Full Version : Shaving Horse

06-14-2011, 07:57 AM
A shaving horse is a great vice for holding a piece of lumber you are working with. It is a bench with a "jaw" that is foot-operated. The idea is to sit on the bench and push on the pedal to secure your piece, then use a draw knife or spoke shave to shape the wood. It holds the piece firmly and gives you a lot of control. It's great for making furniture legs, tool handles, wooden spoons and anything else where a lot of wood has to be taken off with draw knives and spoke shaves.
I haven't had a shaving horse in years. I have a couple of axes needing new handles and have a lot of small projects that a shaving horse really helps with. The bench itself is a slab of wood split from the trunk and is about as long as I am tall.


06-16-2011, 12:26 PM
I always wanted one of those, but never could figure out where to put it. Can't justify the room indoors, and after putting that much work into making it, I'd hate to see it get damaged by weather. Hmm. Maybe if I put a shed roof off one side of our little barn?

I have a couple drawknives and several spokeshaves that I use occassionaly, but I've always used a big bench vise that has concave aluminum jaws I made. I've made a lot of handles that way, and just finished a dibble for planting seeds in the garden.

We don't have a woods now, since we sold the farm, but DD and son in law hve 3 acres of trees, so I could get all the wood I want. I feel really cramped on one acre now.... :(

The old folks here used to sometimes call that a shingle horse, too, since they made a lot of wood shingles using one. I have a froe and have split some shingles and used it to split out handle blanks, but never used a shaving horse to shave shingles. I always used a C-clamp on a bench, which was too much troubl and not conveniently positioned.

Got a broadaxe and once hewed out a 36 foot long 6" X 8" beam for a new barn we built. Hardest days work I EVER did. UGH. And that was yellow poplar, and I used a chainsaw to do the notching. I love the old ways for many things, but I'll go for a sawmill inf at all possible, before I do a lot of hewing.

I will make handles, though, considering the prices they get for them now.

06-17-2011, 10:12 PM
I'm sorry, every time I see this thread's title I envision Mr. Ed sitting in a barbershop chair... :D

Nice, utilitarian item for the backwoods do-it-your-selfer.

06-24-2011, 08:25 AM
Thanks, LumberGuy, for posting that pix. And, WELCOME to our forum.

A shaving horse is on my wish list, too. Like Patience, I've used work-arounds all the while wishing I had the real thing. Often the job, at hand, could have been done during the time it took to re-adjust c-clamps or the bench vise.

Patience, have you thought about making one out of pressure treated lumber? Then you don't have to worry about the elements for a long time. Since we're about the same age, I suspect your DD would cart it to their place as it would probably outlast you (and me!!), if made from PT wood. :)

To save space, make the bench dual duty. One end of the bench is a place to enjoy a cup of coffee and/or sit in the shade with a tall glass of iced tea. Then, put the other end to work, when needed.

That's what I'd have to do, when I ever get around to making mine. Absolutely no where to put it that's out of the weather. But, I can find a spot in the shade for a "garden bench".

LumberGuy, thanks for bringing this up. Periodically, it's good to get a kick in the seat of the pants (or re-phrased -- a gentle reminder) to get something done, BEFORE, it's needed again. Yep, those draw knives are hanging in the shop, and I dread messing with c-clamps the next time I need to use those knives.


06-26-2011, 06:24 PM
That is a really nice job of building something useful with what you have. Nice simple design and overall good job, plus I really like the rustic look. It brings something to mind that I have been looking for a while now. Would really like to find one of the old foot operated grinding wheels, but like the shaving horse they are getting scarce.