Making a shave horse - questions

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Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:18 pm

If you read the Greenwood books thread today, you may already know I finally forced myself to start making a shave horse.
Image

I have a few questions, which I figure you guys might have thoughts on:

1. The diagrams I have (Drew's & Jogge's) show the inclined piece of wood being much narrower than the main sit-plank/platform, 16cm/6". What is the thinking behind that?
The reason I ask, I happen to have another piece of pitch-pine which is almost exactly the right length (90cm) but it is the same width as the main sit-plank. Is it worth trying
to split, actually probably saw, it narrower - or might there be some benefit in having a wider platform to support my work? (Both planks are thick, wide and heavy.)

2. Both of my planks are quite thick (5cm I think). I happy with that for the sit-plank (Jogge suggests 4cm for that anyway) but I wonder if the upper one is normally thinner (as well as narrower)?
The books don't show this dimension. I am rather dreading trying to drill the main pivot hole and a thicker board should reduce the chance of me drilling out the top or bottom, a bit.

3. Drilling the main pivot hole. I was wondering how do this but have come to realize that I am fortunate in have 2 tools that might help:
- a 41cm long, 0.5" diameter spade-end drill bit (originally used to drill a hole for a long bolt through multiple studs when assembly the main structural supports for a big shed). American hardware shops are amazing.
- one of those inexpensive New-Old-Stock scotch eye-ring augers of ebay. I think it is about a foot long with a 1" diameter.
I'm thinking the former might be good if I can find a suitable metal bar/bolt to act as the main pivot, and the latter might suit a wooden-dowel pivot better.
But how do I drill such a long hole (6"-12") that is "straight"/"square" in all directions/dimensions?
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:39 pm

I didn't want to clutter up the existing "Shaving horse" thread with my work-in-progress - but thought it prudent to revisit it. I see that Gavin has made at least 2 different designs, this one used a metal pivot on a Drew Langsner Swiss-style shave horse - which is what I am aiming to make:
Image
Actually, looking at the whole series of Gavin's pics (a useful reference), I hadn't realized how many mortices I would need to cut with this design - luckily jrrcaim shamed me into learning to cut mortice & tenon joints, such that I now have some chisels & look forward to it. I get the impression now that the traditional English design is so popular because it is simpler, especially with green wood in the round - while Drew's Swiss design is more about carpentry, using planks of wood, precise cuts and angles, and proper joints - a more refined solution but to my mind, less "green wood".

I see Sean Hellman used a wooden pivot for his "new generation" dead-head design. I like several features of this design. Although I aspire to this, I don't plan to make an adjustable head just yet - I guess it should be possible to retro-fit one later. Raising the front of the inclined plane like that is clever - it allows a shorter (& therefore cheaper, lighter & more transportable) sit plank to be used without compromising the sitting position. I might need to do something like that, as my plank is 1' shorter than the Drew/Jogge plans. Aesthetically, I prefer 3-leg designs (simpler, lighter) - I drilled mine for 4 legs because I'm quite large but the legs are so sturdy, I doubt if 3 would have been a problem, in hindsight.
Image
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby SeanHellman » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:03 am

To drill a deep hole, then mark up the position of the hole on all sides of the plank, and drill in from from each side. The hole meets in the middle, more or less most times. At least you do not see your cock ups.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby Meat sauce » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:56 am

I'm no expert but I just finished my shave horse a few weeks ago. Drilling the hole is a piece of cake. Just use a square and sight lines. Close enough is just fine since you do not need a demandingly high degree of tolerance. My ramp, seat plank, and dumbhead are all the same width. It just did not make any sense to me to make one narrower then the others. I did not follow any plans or others dimensions. I simply looked at a few pictures and made sure its height was comfortable for me to sit on. I used standard 2 by 10 construction grade lumber that I recycled from a construction site. I did attach hardwood on the clamping edge of the dumbhead and the end of the ramp where I thought durability was an issue. It's comfortable to sit on and it works perfectly. I also was not concerned in the least bit in making it into a work of art that was pretty to look at. I wanted it to carve and shave wood on and it works perfectly. With the exception of the dumbhead and swing arm, I let it sit outside. In a few years when it rots ill burn the bench and build another one for free in less time then it took me to type this. Low tech is a great thing. I'm am thoroughly enjoying my shave horse as I hone my spindle shaving skills
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby mstibs » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:53 am

ToneWood wrote:1. show the inclined piece of wood being much narrower than the main
...
3. But how do I drill such a long hole (6"-12")


Hmmm, can you see one answer of question 1 Tone?
I made a second shave horse for shows, this time a dumb head. Since I didn't have such a long drill I choose a narrower top board, chiseled out the hole for the dumbhead post and did as Sean told ya, drilling from each side. The wood is patient with my metal bolt and adapts nicely to its not 100% in-line holes.

Cheers!
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby gavin » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:00 am

Meat sauce wrote: Drilling the hole is a piece of cake. Just use a square and sight lines. Close enough is just fine since you do not need a demandingly high degree of tolerance.

Now this is interesting...
One of the reasons I bought a pillar drill
Imagewas that I was sick of off-line holes in shave-horse body and jaws :x - often the swing-arm or jaws would be not at right-angles to the body, and so would not swing easily. I think I could learn from your technique. Could you please post pictures of your process and indicate whether you need a second pair of eyes - or do you do it all yourself?

I acknowledge I sometimes seek complexity where it need not exist, so you could help. :D
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:48 pm

I was once tempted to buy a secondhand pillar drill off ebay - just fed up struggling to drill things properly (including flounder spoons for fishing - the stainless steel in spoons is often very hard). I ended up getting a very cheap drill press from Lidl, it's rather light and, although functional, seems to be a complete waste of time, as it has a lot of play in it (I think they have changed the design since but I doubt if it would make much difference). I should probably freecycle it - maybe somebody else can find a use for it. Or maybe I should bolt it down to something.

Thanks Sean & Meatsauce, I'll give that a try. Mstibs, yes that did occur to me as I type it in :).
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby Meat sauce » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:18 am

Not sure how to post pictures but the process is pretty straight forward. Stand the board on edge, tape or bungie or somehow affix a carpenter square on the edge so the carpenter square is standing straight up. Draw a center line on the edge and down both sides.now drill using the lines and square as a visual reference as to what straight looks like. Do one side flip board on over edge and do the same thing. Don't hurry the process and you will get it first time, at least I did. A second pair of eyes and hands would be a huge help but i managed on my own. Maybe I was lucky I don't know I only ever did it one time. Interesting what you guys call a pillar drill. It looks like what I would call a floor model drill press, which I own. My press stands about six feet tall but the bit travel is only four inches. I did not even think of using that since it was simpler to do it by eye. My hole is close to perfect and my pivot rod pulls out and goes back in with ease. There is also no binding of the swing arm. I also "cheated" and used a cordless drill over hand boring the hole.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:11 pm

Thanks, the tip about using the set square as a guide sounds worth a try.

RE. uploading images: when you add or edit a post, look below the white text window that you are typing in. There are 2 tabs. You need the second one, "upload attachment". Use the "Browse"-button to find your file (suggest .jpg/.jpeg format with no more that 349 pixels vertically) then press the "Add the file"-button.

That's all that you need to do. By default the image displays at the bottom of your post with some ugly white bits. However, once the file is uploaded, some new UI appears which give you the option to insert the image into your post, like a link - I recommend you do this extra step.


It could be made a good deal easier :(. Adding a link to an image that is already on the web somewhere is much easier, just use the "Img"-button, above the white text-entry window.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:29 pm

Worked on the shave horse some more this week:
Legs
I dried the legs by the wood-burner most of the week - they are now a snug fit in the holes, lucky I didn't shave them too close.

Inclined Plank
I slotted the inclined piece of timber. I drilled the main axle/pivot hole using my 41cm 1/2" spade end drill-bit in my cheap electric hand drill, following the advice given above (i.e. drew several guide lines, held the set-square alongside the drill-bit while drilling, drilled half way from each side) - it worked very well, thanks guys! (I am certain things would have not gone well had I not followed those tips.)

To make screwing it together easier I cut a 15 degree angle on the bottom edge of the incline plank (my books show this but give no details or dimensions). I started from the centre-line, rather than angling from the corner - to leave enough "meat" for the screws. I tried using one of those awful carpenters' jaqck saws - worse than hopeless, so I finished the job with with the LCA, my trusty Lidl carving axe :) (my brother just told me those saws are rubbish and the pros generally only use one brand, Jack/Sandvik?). I also cut a 15 degree slot on the the support "post" (Jogge's book wrongly shows this as 75 degrees, I noticed another measure is wrongly shown as 12mm when it should be 125mm - both fairly obvious errors). I screwed them together. I had to drill hole for each screw first, as my mains drill is too fast to be a good screw-driver (I rounded the cross off the end of the Philips driver bit :(). So the basic frame is togethernow. Despite being 1'/30cm shorter than the plan, it seems plenty long enough, quite a sizable beast!

Head & Treadle-arm
Gavin, I just noticed the head on your dumb-head horse looks identical to that in Snitzen mit Jogge Sundqvist, which is quite different to the original Drew Langsner design - is that a Mike Abbot design? Do you find that a good size & shape to use?

I didn't have any 6"/15cm wide timber for the main treadle arm nor a suitable log for the head. Only some 3" & 8"/10" building/pallet timber - the plans do not show what thickness to use but it seems too thin. So I decided to see if I could find some suitable green-wood for both. I thought I'd got lucky with both but on my return found the long timber is only 4"-5" diameter, with shaping it would likely reduce to 3"-4". I found a decent block of beech for the head, it's just about the right size, with a little to spare. The centre is way off-centre but that allowed me to split off the bottom with wedges, leaving the main volume of stronger wood above. It'll take quite a lot of work to shape it & slot it. It has a bit of a twist in the grain which might spoil it. I was thinking of trying to make it a bit thicker/heavier than Jogge's but will see what Gavin thinks of his first.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby gavin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:49 am

Meat sauce wrote:... Do one side flip board on over edge and do the same thing. Don't hurry the process and you will get it first time, at least I did.

That's v interesting Meat sauce. I think you say you drilled in from each side and your holes then met in the middle?
Do they meet well enough to allow one pivot pin to pass from one side to the other?

    1 .What is the hole diameter?
    2. What is your pivot pin diameter?
    3. How thick is your shavehorse plank?
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby gavin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:08 am

ToneWood wrote:[
Treadle-arm
Gavin, I just noticed the head on your dumb-head horse looks identical to that in Snitzen mit Jogge Sundqvist, which is quite different to the original Drew Langsner design - is that a Mike Abbot design? Do you find that a good size & shape to use?
.

I do find it good to use. Not Mike Abbott design, I got my design from pp268-270 Drew Langsner's Chairmaker's Workshop so am interested to hear where you think my head differs from his. My dumb-head is made from elm. Even tho' I have a morticing machine it took *!"£$-ing ages to make, but I do find it a good size and shape to use. At 72" long, it does take up a lot of floor space, hence my hoisting arrangement into the roof void. If I make another, I'll drill the treadle-arm holes closer together at say 30 mm centres. I'd like to make a Brian Boggs shave horse, but the carpentry seems a bit advanced for me.
ToneWood wrote:[
Head

I didn't have any 6"/15cm timber for the main treadle arm (I have some 3" & 8"/10" building/pallet timber - the plans do not show what thickness to use), nor a suitable log for the head. .... I was thinking of trying to make it a bit thicker/heavier than Jogge's but will see what Gavin thinks of his first.

I think those plans DO suggest 2" thick for treadle-arm and HARDWOOD, so not pallet wood. For head and treadle-arm, consider buying readly milled hardwood for you will save vast amounts of time. You may get lucky and see some discarded furniture - or shop-fittings - you can recycle. Keep looking in skips for such treasure.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:16 pm

Re. The arm, my plans show the depth & length but not the width/thickness of the timber - so thanks for the info. Jogge's plan shows 45mm slots (too narrow for 2"/50.8mm - although I gather the dimensions of standard timber is lower than stated), I guess the point is that quite thick timber is used. I do have another piece of the 45mm plank that I used for the main plank & inclined plank (I'm thinking this might actually be classed as 2"x10") - the surface is v. coarse so, if I used that, I'd likely need to plane it. It is dry, doesn't cut well & splinters, so I am hesitant to use it.

Re. The head, the Drew Langsner book I have is quite old, published in the 1970s/80s. So I'm guessing he refined the head design for later books. It seems he shared the design with Wille & Jogge (who both feature versions of his design, credited to Drew, in their respective books). I think the one in Will's book might have the older design(?) but Jogge's book has the same head design as yours. It looks smaller/longer/simpler/cleaner/better.

Re. "My dumb-head is made from elm. Even tho' I have a morticing machine it took *!"£$-ing ages to make". Yes, elm is resistant to splitting, good choice - but quite hard to work if I recall correctly (never used it knowingly myself). I am anticipating some hard work shaping the dumb head - I don't have a morticing machine. I am optimistic that the end result will be good but I think the traditional English design seems more geared to construction by a green-woodworker with simple green-wood tools (draw-knife, auger, axe) - Drew's Swiss design seems more geared to the precise measurements, angles, cuts & mortices of the carpenter/cabinetmaker.

Re. Brian Boggs shave horse you mentioned (had to look that up: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/ ... 48d8f1e936 - a development of the English-style shave-horse.
ImageImage
Brian Boggs features in Roy Underhill's Woodwright's Workshop videos on the PBS.org website (excellent resource). This one I think: http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/video/2900/2911.html
Brian Boggs is characterized as an innovative American furniture maker who likes to refine/improve on existing designs. It features one of this shave horses, the key/novel feature of it being the adjustable inclined surface (the adjustment lever can be seen above, at crotch height), which can very quickly and simply be changed. He also added a forward tilted seat to "open up the hips" - to improve the ergonomics.

Re. "dumpster diving". I have an arrangement with a local builder ;)
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby Meat sauce » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:41 am

My plank thickness is 1.5 inches with a 10 inch width. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole and used a 7/16th inch steel rod for my pin. The pin slips all the way through and it slides in an out easily yet provides some grip. I also used construction grade wood for my treadle arm and dumbhead. Not sure why hardwood is mandated for the treadle arm. My treadle arm is also 1.5 inches thick. The only hardwood I used was for edging the dumbhead and the end of the ramp. In reviewing the various shaving horses on the net I could not see wasting good hardwood on the horse and it appeared the wood thickness was overkill. Should I ever make another I will definitely make the treadle arm thinner to cut down the weight. I see no reason why the arm could not be 1 inch thick. Maybe someone has a good reason that I do not know about since this is all very new to me.
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Re: Making a shave horse - questions

Postby gavin » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:44 am

Meat sauce wrote:My plank thickness is 1.5 inches with a 10 inch width. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole and used a 7/16th inch steel rod for my pin. The pin slips all the way through and it slides in an out easily yet provides some grip. I also used construction grade wood for my treadle arm and dumbhead. Not sure why hardwood is mandated for the treadle arm. My treadle arm is also 1.5 inches thick. The only hardwood I used was for edging the dumbhead and the end of the ramp. In reviewing the various shaving horses on the net I could not see wasting good hardwood on the horse and it appeared the wood thickness was overkill. Should I ever make another I will definitely make the treadle arm thinner to cut down the weight. I see no reason why the arm could not be 1 inch thick. Maybe someone has a good reason that I do not know about since this is all very new to me.

Meatsauce,
Thanks for this. I have been guilty of acting on received wisdom for choosing hardwood. I now think that if your softwood was knot-free at stress-points of any holes or mortices, it would be ok to use softwood.

What prevents you posting pictures of yours? If you do, we'll all profit.
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