I needed a new shave horse.
I figured my first shave horse got me 26 years
use. I had built it in a ½ day with nothing but a chainsaw, a
sack of nails and some boneyard scrap from the saw mill.
It was a good horse design and served me well
and faithful. I made up the wedge action table adjuster,
but it later turned out that John Alexander had always used the
wedge table too.
And of course he pilfered the design off
someone else who came before him. Maybe 1000s somebody’s
back though the generations.
One day I was talking with my buddy Leon and
he was struggling with carving traditional bows. He makes
"self" bows (single piece carved and bent, mostly yew wood) and
was previously trying to do it with a bandsaw and sanders.
He hadn’t ever even heard of a drawknife, much less a
spokeshave, and heaven forbid a shave horse!!
This would not do!
So after some
preliminary discussion and planning, he came over when he could, in 2
hour increments, and we put together a specialty horse for dedicated
Leon had some spare
dimensional lumber and didn’t have time much in the way of
decorative work on it, so we went with a plain and effective
design. With small parts being worked and often far from
the jaw, a ladder design horse with an extended narrow tongue
First was the horse
itself. Basically a sturdy sawhorse with a table. The main
beam was laminated 2X’s, legs fitted with simple angles, and the
long angled table made up.
The angle for the table was
dependant on Leon being comfortable seated and the knife out
ahead of him. Small “comfort” pieces were added to the sides of
the beam at the rear, to better fit his own rear.
Next the ladder was
constructed. The hardest part of the ladder was the
crossbar/clamp at the top.
He wanted to be angled some and
I decided on double mortise and tenon construction. Interesting
joints to cut.