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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:40 pm
by ToneWood
I had a closer look at the text in Jogge's book. My German is shamefully poor but I think the gist of it is that the thickness of the arm is not specified BUT the mortice joint in the head is (if I recall correctly) 20mm - however the drawings & text suggest that the mortice joint for the pedal is thicker. i.e. the tenon for the head is cut on all 4 sides but only on 2 sides for the pedal, which uses the full-thickness of the wood (I know not why - perhaps to preserve mass in the head?).

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:33 am
by Meat sauce
Not only am I new to green woodworking I am also fairly new to this Internet thing. I am also a little hesitant since some guys make their horses as a piece of furniture. just look at some of this pictures on this thread. Mine is strictly for function and not form. With that said, After the holidays I will give a go at posting a picture of my horse and maybe even my pole lathe.

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:48 am
by Meat sauce
I hope there is a picture attached to this. If there is it was really simple. If not ill try again

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:30 pm
by ToneWood
I'd say your horse looks rather precise & "carpenter-made" - nice job, wait till you see mine :D.

If you are using Microsoft Windows, you can rotate your images in the paint application (mspaint.exe). I used it to trim & shrink my images too. ;) If you are using an iPhone, I expect you just have to ask it nicely :D

Here is the Meat sauce shave horse the other way up & reduced to a 344 pixel vertical size (to eliminate scroll bars), using mspaint:
Meat sauce shave horse.jpg
Meat sauce shave horse.jpg (70.07 KiB) Viewed 14399 times

V. nice shave horse, I think you should proud of it. :)

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:23 pm
by mstibs
Great work Meat Sauce! It's looking much better than my two donkeys. I didn't plan much, just looked what wood is lying around and got to work. Tone, I'm curious for the next pics of your horse! :D

Shave horse <-> Bowl horse

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:37 pm
by ToneWood
I'm wondering now how much it would take to adapt this design so that you could switch from (Drew Langsner style) shave-horse mode, to (David Fisher style) bowl-horse? Perhaps a longer slot, several alternative main pivot holes, the ability to raise the front of low-end of the inclined plank, so that it becomes horizontal, a hole for a wooden pole a wooden stop/"bench-dog" to stop the front of the bowl.

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:17 pm
by ToneWood
I was hoping to post some more pics by now, of the completed shave horse perhaps, but it was not to be. I've been busy with beating & various family activities.

Main Arm
Lack of a wood for the main arm has slowed things down. I considered laminating 3 thinner pieces together - using a longer central piece to make a tenon :) - however my nearest pieces are too thick for that. My current thought is a piece of 2x4 that is in my offcuts bin; it is pressure treated and surprisingly straight-grained & knot free - presumably, a softwood, pine perhaps? It's a tad too thick but it won't take much to open the slots for it. [ BTW Gavin, you were right about the timber thickness, Jogge mentions (I think) using 40mm timber in the first paragraph of his shave horse section.]

I have now carved the big beech head into the basic block shape, using my 22" bush saw, my 12" wooden bow saw, my little bush saw*, SCA & LCA carving axes and a set-square as a guide to help straighten out a natural twist in the grain. It was quite hard work but I enjoyed using the axes, the saws not so much. The head needs to be reduced vertically about another 1cm and the front, bottom bevel needs to be cut. I've marked out the mortice slot and 80-degree guide lines down the side. BUT...the problem that stopped me dead at the weekend was when I tried to drill a 1/2"/10mm pilot-hole through my big beech-block head (at 80- degrees) and the drill bit got stuck in the dense, wet, green beech block. It blew the 5A fuse in my drill and the 3A fuse in my extension cord! However, even with the drill fixed it couldn't remove the stuck bit. I tried my really good German-made pump wrench (I bought it decades ago in Halfords - expensive - and it is the most used and most versatile tool I have ever owned or used - but it has never been used on a pump, mainly I have used it as a universal, large clamp/wrench for plumbing, car repair, etc., it is the tool to use when nothing else comes close) - but even that failed to budge it. I'm thinking I may need to drill other holes into the mortice area nearby, probably with the Foerstner 20mm bit I was planning to use in the pilot hole - and then cut the 1/2" drill bit out with the mortice chisel as I cut the tenon (but would be happy to hear any other suggestions).

*Frustrated by sawing problems with one old & one very cheap jack saw, I ordered (& just received) a, hopefully, decent jack saw - it arrived too late to use on the head but might now see action on the arm: Spear & Jackson Predator X Saw
Spear & Jackson Predator X Saw.

Treadle/Pedal Board / Foot-plate
I was thinking about cutting the treadle/pedal board out of 3/4"/20mm plywood (marine plywood ideally) but remembered I was given a short but large diameter beech block (big enough to be chopping block, if it didn't slope so much). Oddly it has too hearts/centres - never seen that before, except on Dr. Who. Anyway was thinking of splitting the board out of that. Not sure how best to split with that double-centre feature, perhaps across one of them (it is starting to split naturally that way, 90 degrees to the axis between the 2 centres). Was planning a cut through the centre (with wedges) and then use the froe to slice out a 4-5cm slab out of each half - one for the pedal & another for a chopping board. The pedal board is supposed to be 3cm thick, but I've allowed extra thickness for inaccuracies & straightening.

Swedish Video
Interesting (similar looking) dumb-head shave horse featured in this Swedish video: @ 5:08 min . Smaller, lighter looking head (is that a big ol' Gransfor Bruk Draw knife they use throughout the process?). Another, different shave horse/bench features @ 7:50 min, for scorping the inside of the bucket. What a lot of work for a bucket! Lovely though. The "plank plane" early in the video is interesting too.

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:45 am
by gavin
I suggest you use the marine ply for the treadle plate. It won't have knots in it. It will be easier and quicker to get a result than the knotty beech that has trapped your drill bits. If you like the dimensions you create,you can then transfer them to a more rustic looking natural grown bit of wood. Frankly, for your prototype I'd also use marine ply for the head, probably at least 2 layers of 22 mm thick or may be 3 layers.

Also look at the "Smarthead" shave horse from Peter Galbert:

Plans: ... plans.html

I think this sits on a Brian Boggs-style chassis, but would like to know of anyone here who has made a 'Smarthead' horse.

Shave horse smart-head & dumb-head

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:02 pm
by ToneWood
'Smarthead' horse
Yes, Sean Hellman made one (pictured in my second post on this thread - a link to the main, long "Shaving horse" thread). Looks good but probably beyond my abilities, tools, available materials and needs at present - a great idea for a future upgrade though. My um... natural destructive ability/tendency might be a problem (I can exert a fair bit bit force with my legs) but it's good to see that they made an effort to make this design strong. Actually, they have really done the really hard work in coming up with that design - impressive (kudos Peter Galbert). The head in that video is really slim isn't it, not much mass there at all - perhaps it's not necessary with the long lever of these designs (pivoted high up in the sloping/top plank rather than through the sit-plank, like most English shave horses). Carving the head is quite a fun challenge though.

English-style shave horse: ... aK4MA&NR=1
Scottish-style(?) shave horse: ... re=related
Folding (now that is a handy feature): ... 2n4Ks&NR=1

There are some generally useful tips in the instructions though, e.g.:
The hole for the pivot in the shavehorse should be 9 1/2"-10" back from the front lip of the "stage". The mortise where the arm passes through the "stage" should have a tight tolerance, but move freely. If you use a heavy wood for the "dumbhead" piece and a light one for the treadle, the arm may lose counterweight when the head is in in the most forward positions, a small clamp just below the treadle can balance it to open automatically.

The beech for the head came from a different tree & location than the large "chopping" block. Neither is knotty - oh, I see you are suggesting the double centre is due to a knot, yes I guess that makes sense, a dividing trunk. I should take a picture of it.

Oh Deep Joy!

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:33 pm
by ToneWood
You know those days when nothing seems to go right, in fact everything goes badly wrong? Well, today wasn't one of them :) - thankfully.

Freeing the Drill Bit
Had a stroke of inspiration :idea: - I clamped the stuck drill bit in a vice (my tiny, broken, all metal engineers vice), as tight as I could and twisted the large beech block round. 3rd attempt it started to turn out :). Drill bit free!

Drilling the Head Mortice, deep & wide
Fixed the drill & extension cord fuses. Drilled 3 smaller diameter pilot holes at 80 degrees, as deep as I could into the beech head. Then over-drilled them with 3x 20mm holes at 80 degrees - my Foerstner bit is quite short and didn't go all the way through. So then, another stroke of inspiration, I used my huge 41cm long 1/2" drill bit - the one I used to drill the main pivot hole - to drill bigger pilot holes right through the block. Then I used those as guides to drill 20mm Foerstner holes from the bottom, to meet the main holes above. I then cleaned-up with my big old 1918 register chisel and big pig-sticker mortice chisel. The mortice could do with a little cleaning up at the ends but the head now has a nice 20mm wide, 80 degree mortice slot cut right through it, in the right place :D. Progress!

Making the Swing Arm

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:32 pm
by ToneWood
Green-wood Swing Arm - Ash
I got started on the shave horse arm today, this has long been the sticking point for me. I had just about decided to use a straight piece of pressure treated 2x4 - a long offcut but had a change of mind today. Instead, I cut down a round piece of ash that I had found and set aside specifically for this task before deciding it was too small. After sawing the knobbly end off (had to cut through a big knot to get the right length) the I used my froe to split 2 flat slides onto the gently curving piece of ash. I then used my SCA (Gransfor Swedish carving axe) to narrow it to fit the 4cm slots in my saw horse. I roughly shaped the head tenon with the axe before realizing I'd cut it 2cm too short (my timber is not as deep as Jogge's), so I was more careful on the other end. Hopefully it'll be ok as I tapered the tenon and the head mortice is a quite narrow still.

I finished it off in the bench-vice with Pa's old 7"-blade Tyzack draw-knife. I must admit, my "hand hewn" ash arm looks a lot like the pressure treated 2x4 now :D - however, it is slightly curved, split with the grain, and has a few tool marks that give it a little character. I'm drying it indoors now because, of course, it will shrink some with drying. Think I'll put it by the wood-burner to speed things up. After a few days drying, I'll carefully shape the tenons with a sloyd knife and drill the pivot holes. I might drill some more in the inclined plank too, I saw that done in a video for greater/better adjustment. I need to sort out a foot plate now.

Shave horse is now usable

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:54 pm
by ToneWood
My shave horse is now usable! :) Although I haven't made a foot-plate/pedal for it yet but it is possible to use it without one. This weekend I:

- Finished shaping the head-tenon on the swing-arm. It took ages :( (first with axe and then draw-knife) but it fits well now, is correctly inclined and I was able to correct for a slight twist in the grain.
- Drilled a 20mm hole for a peg-to secure the head to the arm
- Drilled smaller holes in the arm for the metal pivot rod (using Jogge's plans) - although most of the top holes appear* useless because they cause the arm to touch the floor! Wish I'd taken a few more minutes to get these holes straight w.r.t. to the main frame. Being green-wood, the sides of the swing-arm are not exactly parallel, which caused me to drill at least one hole (my preferred setting unfortunately) at an angle :(.
- Carved a slope on front, top & bottom of head . Not sure why these are used (as horse works without them) but all the horses above have this & so does Jogge's plans, although there are no details. Perhaps to lighten the front of the head, so that it falls open more easily or perhaps for looks? Took only a few minutes with my LC axe.
- Carved a peg to secure the head
- Carved a groove in the head to better accommodate the securing peg.
- Oiled the Ash swing-arm and the legs.

*I have also drilled 2 alternative pivot holes in the inclined plank (an idea from youtube video), so that I can set the arm further forward (& higher) or back (& lower), which may better suit those higher holes. Unfortunately, the drilling went so well I tried drilling one hole mainly from one side, rather than the tried-&-tested method of going half-way through from each side :(

To do:
- find & form the foot-plate/pedal
- refine the (simpler) swing-arm tenon for it
- drill 20mm hole in bottom of swing-arm & carve peg to secure foot-plate.
- tweak fit & pivot positions/configuration to suit.

In hindsight, a smaller, lighter English-style shave-horse would likely have been considerably easier & quicker for me to find timber for and make - and would probably have suited my modest needs at least as well. Perhaps I'll make a transportable one later. But I can't wait to start using this beast for real. It's taking up a lot of garage space currently, so I'm wondering if it might live outdoors under a tarp - like my bowlmate - but that seems like it might not be a good idea. TBD

Foot plate

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:01 pm
by ToneWood
Last night, frustrated by progress (I've been busy) I decided to cut a foot-plate from the large beech round (also thinking of making a chopping board from the round). But, once man-handled into the garage, I had second thoughts. It is quite a lot bigger than my current indoor chopping block & it occurred to me that it might be sometime before I get another round this big. So I had another look through my offcuts and eventually found a piece (intended for kindling) just slightly bigger than required :).

I cut a big deep tenon into the builder's offcut with my biggest "pig sticker" mortice chisel and my big 1918 English flat chisel - quite enjoyable I must say :). Unfortunately the dry soft woods used by builders (yuk! :D) seem to splinter quite badly, especially on the far side of the mortice hole. Never mind, it won't be visible. I deliberately made the mortice hole a tad small and left the tenon a tad large so that I can now fine-tune their fit. I see that Jogge also rounded the front of his pedal and put large chamfers on the back corners - so I will likely to the same.

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:23 pm
by ToneWood
I've been remiss is posting images of this project, so have several for you today. The shave horse is basically done now. I've oiled key components and will assemble it for real tomorrow. Most likely I will spend some time improving the rather rough finish in the future and will probably refine and/or replace parts as time & raw materials allow.
Logs for shave horse.jpg
Logs gathered for the horse. The ash swing arm was carved from a straight-ish/slightly curved 3' section of a longer bent log - possibly one of those show here. The head out of the short, thick beech log in the middle, with the metal ruler on top.
Logs for shave horse.jpg (127.12 KiB) Viewed 14148 times

Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, head.jpg
Foot-plate, massive beech dumb head with swing arm
Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, head.jpg (66.97 KiB) Viewed 14148 times

Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, pegs.jpg
Oiled: Foot-plate, "finished" today, swing arm & the 2 pegs used to fasten the head & foot-plate, plus 1 spare.
Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, pegs.jpg (65.14 KiB) Viewed 14148 times

Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, head, bench, LCA.jpg
Shave bench with dumb head, swing arm, foot-plate, LCA (Lidl China/Poland Carving axe:) ) & edge guard. Metal-rod pivot/axle shown protruding from inclined plank.
Shave horse - foot-plate, swing arm, head, bench, LCA.jpg (86.38 KiB) Viewed 14147 times

Re: Making a shave horse - questions

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:19 am
by mstibs
Looks sturdy Tone ... now today your wife just has to take a pic of you on the assembled royal shaving stallion. :mrgreen:
Great work!