How to Build a Shaving Horse

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To build a shaving horse, you can choose any strong wood. Tom Donahey uses southern yellow pine construction lumber, which is relatively light but surprisingly strong. You can even build a shaving horse from a single 2×10. For maximum strength, you’ll want to use stock with clear, straight grain, and no knots. You can find plans and instructions on building a shaving horse on the Internet.

Various uses of a shave horse

A shave horse is a simple holding device made of carefully selected greenwood. Its use is diverse, but its most common function is to hold a rough billet for shaving with a spokeshave or drawknife. Shave horses have been used for hundreds of years in Europe and the US, and even basketmakers used them. Traditionally, a shave horse is made of wood that is round and hard. Ash, sycamore, and beech are common species.

Shave horses are convenient for several reasons. One is that they are easy to operate. They can be made of any strong wood, but many people find them more useful for a variety of tasks. Depending on the style, wood spindles should be free of flaws. A typical shave horse has three or four rungs: the top rung clamps the work, the middle ring acts as a pivot, and the bottom rung serves as a foot board. Some models are made with an incline, which favors specific kinds of work. The incline length is usually about 18 inches and the rise is about five inches. Some shaving horses also have pegs for adjustment.


Building a shaving horse was once a relatively simple process. Traditionally, a craftsman would use a froe or axe to cut a log six feet long. He may have even cut the log himself, either from the owner’s woodlot or from a nearby woods. The finished product was practical and comfortable, and it cost little to make. Today, however, shaving horses are made from plastic or metal, and aren’t quite as simple to build.

Shaving horses are usually hand-built in a workshop by the user. While modern shaving horses include modern hardware to knock them down and retighten them, the first shave horses were typically built from logs. The horse was a staple of green woodworking, and its use in shaping raw wood for various construction projects is essential. Its design isn’t difficult to learn. But it may take a little practice before you get started.

Construction of a shave horse begins with building the base. Most shaving horses are built on stake-leg benches, which have four legs. Some fancy models include a pivot at one end for extra stability. The four-legger basic is a great place to start. If you’re unsure of your skills, you can always look at the instructions and find the best plans to meet your needs. However, the shaving horse can be made out of inexpensive materials and is extremely functional.

After deciding on the body and legs, the platform should be made of wood. If the horse has four legs, it will stand on a flat, level surface while three legs will stand on a rough or uneven floor. The leg length should be long enough for the swinging arm to rest on it without scraping the floor. The legs can also be cylindrical or socketed into the body. The legs should be made from roundwood or shaved wood.

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The materials needed for a shaving horse are straightforward. A shave horse consists of four components: the seat, pillar, shaving head, and back. Dimensional southern yellow pine lumber is ideal for the entire project because it is light, rigid, and hard enough to support all four components. It can be sorted for perfect boards and is relatively inexpensive. After determining the dimensions of your shaving horse, you can begin cutting the lumber.

If you plan to do some green woodworking, a shave horse is an indispensable tool. Unlike traditional woodworking methods, this tool requires minimal space, no tools, and only a couple of stools. You can work outside, without noise pollution, and in a quiet, outdoor setting. Even if you only have a tiny space to work in, you can use a shave horse to perform your sanding tasks.

Any sturdy wood will work well for a shaving horse. Tom Donahey recommends southern yellow pine construction lumber as it is durable, light, and inexpensive. One 2×10 piece will make all of the shaving horse’s parts. For maximum strength, select clear, straight-grained stock. A shaving horse can hold a spokeshave or other sharpening tools. Its ergonomic design makes it an excellent piece of woodworking equipment.

Once you’ve completed your shaving horse’s legs and back, you’re ready to put it together. Make sure that the wooden spindles are free of defects, and the legs and arms are symmetrical. If your shaving horse is not quite perfect, you can add more support rails and adjust the height of the tools later. You can also add a back-up for added strength. This step is optional, though.

Pedal-operated clamping mechanism

The giraffe design of the shave horse is different from other models, as it uses a cantilever arm instead of legs. The weight of the user forces the cantilever arm to rotate and clamp the workpiece. The bench and clamping mechanism are mounted to a sturdy workbench for safety and ease of storage. However, they do require a stable workbench to use.

A pedal-operated clamping mechanism improves the performance of the shaving horse by improving the holding power and reducing fatigue. The shave horse’s construction geometry and the heavy head are also advantageous. The strength of the shaving horse’s leg muscles is only as good as the leg strength required to operate it from a seated position. As a result, a standing shaving horse is more convenient than a seated one.

While most shave horses are workshop-made, there are some modern features that have made shaving horses easier to use. For instance, most shave horses are designed to be re-tightened, but they can also be knocked down for easy transport. Many of these tools are also made of wood. For more versatility, you can adjust the thickness and length of the seat. It is also important to check for any cracks or knots in the timber before starting the cutting process. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it.

The shavehorse height will vary depending on the size of your workpiece, but they all share one common feature: the ability to hold the workpiece at a comfortable height. The shave horse’s foot bar should be thick enough to support the weight of your feet while you’re shaving, and the treadle frame must be dense enough to resist the weight of your workpiece. A shavehorse is an indispensable workshop tool.

A pedal-operated clamping mechanism can be a highly efficient and convenient way to clamp a shave horse. Once installed, the clamping jaw should be able to rotate freely. The levers must also have a notch at the bottom to support the treadle. Ideally, the length of each lever should be at least a quarter inch longer than the height of the workpiece. The rotation jaw should be able to swing freely.

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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