Published on May 31, 2022
WoodworkersHaven.com is the ultimate supreme utmost best resource source for DIYers and as well as and also professionals experts specialists Professionals and as well as and also diyers who that want to know wish to know would like to know need to know more even more about regarding concerning the woodworking industry market sector and as well as and also improve enhance boost their skills abilities. Enjoy Appreciate this article short article post write-up We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations. Expert craftsman Tom Donahey shares his plans for an essential tool to work green wood.
Few woodworking experiences are as sweet as working wood that’s just been split from a recently felled tree. Green wood is much easier to shape with hand tools than wood that’s been dried. It has a special character–a pungent odor and soft texture that make it all the more pleasurable to handle. Simple utilitarian items, such as chairs, benches, rakes and so on, have long been made from green wood. All you need are a few basic tools and one essential device for holding the work: a shaving horse.
I’ve always wanted to build a shaving horse. When I started thinking about how to go about making one I turned to Drew Langsner, an expert in green woodworking (that’s Drew, above). Drew has been an inspiring instructor of the craft for over thirty years, and runs Country Workshops, a school in North Carolina. Drew introduced me to Tom Donahey, who makes shaving horses for students at the school and for sale through the school’s web site.
Tom has created an elegant design. “When I got into green woodworking, I already had a shaving horse,” Tom said. “It was the old style, big and clunky. I took a class from Brian Boggs, the well-known chairmaker from Berea, Kentucky, and he had brought along his own shaving horse. It was much better than mine. With Brian’s permission, I took photos of that horse, went home, and studied its construction.”
Brian had developed a new feature: an adjustable, ratcheting work support (see photo at right). Drew suggested a futher change: use a treadle instead of the traditional cross bar for applying foot pressure. “It’s much more comfortable,” he said. Tom built a few horses, with Brian’s permission, and started refining the design. Over the years, Tom has built more than 100 horses and streamlined their production. Tom has graciously allowed us to publish his design. How This Shaving Horse Works A shaving horse is a workbench, vise, and chair all rolled into one. It’s primarily used to work green wood with a drawknife, which cuts on the pull stroke, or a spokeshave, which you can push or pull. The design of this shaving horse is rather unusual, mixing traditional elements and modern engineering. Here’s how it works:
To set up the horse, place your workpiece on the work support. Then, raise the work support up to the clamping jaw, which is free to rotate. The work support will click into one of eight different height positions, to accommodate thick or thin work. It’s locked by a pivot that engages a series of ratchets on the work support’s column. To clamp your workpiece, push the treadle forward with your foot. This swings the lever arms, squeezing the clamping jaw against the workpiece .
All that sounds quite complicated, but this shaving horse is as easy to operate as stepping on the brake in your car. It only takes a few seconds to release the clamping pressure on a workpiece, reposition it, and go back to making those glorious, huge curls. Choose Your Wood 1. All of the parts for this shaving horse can be cut from southern yellow pine construction lumber. It’s a durable, strong wood that’s relatively inexpensive, but you could substitute many other hardwoods, such as maple or oak. You can make this shaving horse out of any strong wood, such as oak, ash, hard maple or Douglas fir. Tom Donahey uses southern yellow pine construction lumber because it’s economical, strong, and relatively lightweight. He’s figured out a way to get virtually all the parts of a shaving horse from one 10-ft. long 2×10 (Photo 1 and Fig. L). Tom selects clear, straight-grained stock for maximum strength.
Southern yellow pine isn’t his top choice for the horse’s ratcheting mechanism, however. These pieces take a lot of stress, so he uses hard maple for the pivot piece (K) and sycamore for the ratchet bar (F). Any wood that’s hard to split is suitable for these pieces,...
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