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Shaving Horse Plans

 
steward
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I will soon be making a shave horse for myself. I have found two sets of free plans, posted below. I plan to make the body out of round wood, perhaps the seat out of dimensional lumber. We'll see.

I would like some guidance from ya'll in choosing which plans to use. The dimensional lumber design has an adjustable height for the work surface which I really like. I'm fairly certain that I can figure out how to to make it fit the roundwood design. Is this feature worth trying to duplicate?



Roundwood

http://www.greenwoodworking.com/ShavingHorsePlans


Dimensional lumber

EDIT: corrected link! https://www.popularwoodworking.com/american-woodworker-blog/aw-extra-hybrid-shaving-horse/
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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A wood that is hard to split is recommended for the ratchet/notched edge piece. Sycamore is suggested. I do not have sycamore.

I do have mulberry.

Splitting Mulberry Wood

Mulberry wood tends to be very popular as a firewood. However, it is not the best firewood out there. After all, this type of wood has a very high-water content. Therefore, this can make it difficult to burn. Still, it is popular for its dense BTU. Just remember that this type of wood is very tough. Therefore, attempting to split it will be much tougher than you could ever imagine. One of the easiest ways to split this type of wood is by using an industrial wood splitter. This is not going to be suitable for everyone though. After all, this equipment can be very expensive.
If you intend to split it manually, you’re going to need a maul, steel wedge, and a sledgehammer. The process can be tedious, but you’ll be able to pull it off. Always look for splits. This can help you find weak grains. Trying to split the wood there will be much easier. https://www.easierhomesteading.com/mulberry-good-firewood/



Any thoughts?
 
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You can definitely use the roundwood one, in my understanding, without need to go to all the work for that contraption(the first design is a little more elegant in it's simplicity, too)

There is an ideal angle, physiologically speaking, for using the draw knife to it's best/most comfortable potential, - you find this angle that fits your torso/arm length by varying the angle of the piece you are working on(moving the wood block wedge forward or back under the lower jaw), and varying the distance you are from your work(hence the "sliding seat" or just move your rear forward or back on the horse to adjust) between the two adjustments, find what fits best.  But once it is set to what fits you, there generally shouldn't be a need to have to change it again afterwards.

If none of this works, you could try moving the pivot point of the upper jaw, and/or getting an overall taller wedge block.  Or you could add/remove spacer blocks to the lower jaw mouth to lower heighten your work-piece.
(Sorry if this explanation is "talking down" or belittling - I don't know your experience level, and maybe mine isn't even sufficient to get a good answer)

Good luck!

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:
(Sorry if this explanation is "talking down" or belittling - I don't know your experience level, and maybe mine isn't even sufficient to get a good answer)
Good luck!



No worries! My experience is nonexistant. I now know more than I did a few minutes ago. Now I get to go fell a couple of trees. Where, oh where did the bow saw go?
 
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Joylynn--
    In my experience, definitely the first design over the second, though I've used both.
    The ratio of the fulcrum-to-treadle length to the fulcrum-to-jaw length is surprisingly important: too little leverage won't hold the work, and too much can easily crush it.  2:1 is about right, I think.
    And Dustin is right about the ergonomics of the deck (work surface) angle.  I tend to think in terms of my elbows-- You want a straight pull from your elbows down along your forearms, wrists, hands, drawknife, and the wood you're shaving.  Myself, I preferred pulling somewhat more horizontally than the horses with that deck-swivels-from-end design allow.  (I've used them, too.)  So once I found my ideal (shallower) angle, I usually fixed the deck up permanently on two bevel-edged two-bys of different heights.
    But if it's your first horse, and you need to go from a plan, I'd say stick to the plan.  So I don't understand the mention of a roundwood body.  There are traditional plans for "making a horse from a tree," usually involving chopping a humungous mortise through a log for a single-post treadle to pivot through.  (This used to be called "German style", as distinguished from "English style" two-poster treadles like your plan has, but in reality all countries have used both.)  But they are way more work and way heavier, for people with way more time than money.  Adding a wider board seat is good, though, as one's butt-comfort is wider than the space between one's knees.  (Sit astraddle a 2x6 before building your horse.)  But not sliding-- you are pushing the treadle away from your seat.
    The compound angle legs are difficult but best, if you can do them.  (And you need the bevel gauge.)  The through-mortised peg legs are not as simple as they seem, though.  They need to be completely seasoned (dry throughout) or they'll shrink and loosen.  And probably will loosen with time, anyway.  (One reason they are "horses" is loose legs make you gallop across the floor.)  Therefore, any legs like that, I always split out quarters from much bigger wood and shaved them roughly round (I already had a horse) and seasoned them well before fitting.  And any forced-fit or later wobble may tend to split your bench, so be sure to have at least that 6" overhang at the end.  Ideally, also a bench board of a less splittable wood.
    I don't want to rain on your parade with quibbles. I'd like you to make your first horse and use it.  Then improve and customize your second one, and third and fourth.    

                                              Steve Folkers
                                (Judith Browning's husband)
 
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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steve folkers wrote:In my experience, definitely the first design over the second, though I've used both.



Thank you. I bow to your expertise.
   

But if it's your first horse, and you need to go from a plan, I'd say stick to the plan.



Yup. The most I've done in shaping wood is with a pocket knife! Permies has made me ambitious.

So I don't understand the mention of a roundwood body.



Well... What I mean is, dimensional lumber costs money. I live in a region that wants to be forest. I've spent the last number of years transplanting volunteer trees to my property line. A property line that also hosts electrical lines. Ahem. It is time to coppice a number of these guys. I may have some in the range of 8 inch in diameter. Roundwood, the source of my 'lumber'. I think I have seen a picture of a horse that was actually made with roundwood, but I intended to make it look like lumber. I've seen a table saw used to cut sections into board size widths. But I don't have one of those...
   

The compound angle legs are difficult but best, if you can do them.  (And you need the bevel gauge.)  The through-mortised peg legs are not as simple as they seem, though.



I'm, thinking of using a drill to mark the end cuts and a chisel to make the corners square. For the seat part... Maybe all those years of watching Norm Abram will pay off. The Woodright's Shop has been good too.


[ quote]They need to be completely seasoned (dry throughout) or they'll shrink and loosen.  And probably will loosen with time, anyway.  (One reason they are "horses" is loose legs make you gallop across the floor.)  Therefore, any legs like that, I always split out quarters from much bigger wood and shaved them roughly round (I already had a horse) and seasoned them well before fitting.  And any forced-fit or later wobble may tend to split your bench, so be sure to have at least that 6" overhang at the end.  

I'll probably end up with a galloping away shave horse. I'd thought that doing the legs ahead of time would be good. I just don't have that option at this time. Maybe later, I'll replace the long stationary seat with fresh wood, to allow the new seat to shrink and hold tight to the now seasoned legs.

Ideally, also a bench board of a less splittable wood.



Hah! Mulberry! Maybe?

I don't want to rain on your parade with quibbles. I'd like you to make your first horse and use it.  Then improve and customize your second one, and third and fourth.

Steve Folkers (Judith Browning's husband)



Thank you soooo much for taking the time to respond! Hearing some of the challenges ahead of time will help me keep working at the project.




Oh! Maybe the two ends could still be round, for the legs to be placed into it. Then the center cut out to form the long section of the seat. The kid will be using the horse as well, so I do need the sliding seat. He just insists on continuing to grow!

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Maybe this, um, picture, will make more sense than my words...

I think it would need to be longer than the plans say, to make room for the sliding seat.
shave-horse.JPG
[Thumbnail for shave-horse.JPG]
 
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I've been wanting to find plans for one of these, but I couldn't think of what they were called! And now I know. Eager to see your progress, as I'd love to make one too.
 
steve folkers
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Joylynn--
    P.S.  Try Drew Langsner, Country Woodcraft, Rodale Press, 1978.  Chapter 6 is Shaving Horses.  And my roundwood confusion was the distinction my circles made between roundwood (using still-round pieces of tree trunks and branches) and green wood (cutting, splitting, shaving, hewing, carving etc. fresh cut pieces of trees while the material is still much softer), which is what I was doing as much as possible.  Carve the cheese, then season it into concrete.  This was traditional all over the world, especially for poor country folks.  But it requires knowing how the different tree species, and different dimensions and orientations of them, shrink and crack.  E.g., mulberry is exactly what you want to carve green, because it hardens to a rock, and is pretty tough (and pretty).  But like most woods it will crack badly if you include those little rings of center grain, and your horse will eventually split down the middle, so you'd need a big log and split a slab off the side.  And then those bigger quarter rings of grain will make the board cup as it shrinks.  Assuming we're talking about Red Mulberry.  Paper Mulberry is much faster growing, softer, weaker, easier to peel (and make paper out of the bast), lighter in weight, and smaller growing.  But once one enters this addictive world of working local trees in the green state, one discovers an infinite and literally growing bunch of materials, and uses for them, and methods of working them that are in the most direct contact possible with nature, and have the lowest possible footprint.

                                                                   Steve Folkers

(Judith Browning's husband)
 
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I'm going to be cutting some planks of of some oak trees with and Alaska Mill week after next.  Think I'll use one of the planks and some poles I've saved from smaller trees I had to thin out to make one.  I like the idea of using wood from my land to make things to use on my land.  Thanks for sharing the plans and the link.
 
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The dimensional lumber plan seems way overkill. For me anyway. I like my stuff to be as simple as possible.

I built mine using the roundwood plan. I did change some things to make do with what I had on hand.  It has only three legs.
My yoke is round and is lacking a notch, this will cause your work to shift around sometimes and that can be frustrating. I should change this but I'm lazy and it is still very usable. I really enjoy using my drawknife on that horse.



I used rope as an hinge and I use various blocks to get the right angle for the support. There is no metal hardware on it simply because I didn't have any.



If I was to make another I'd use something like this design:



This is from "Le Village Acadien", a tourist attraction of the region. I think they used this design to make shingles.



This is the part that I like from the design, there is no treadle frame. The fixed angle for the support is limiting but this should be easy to fix.



A detail of the leg joints.



If you end up building one, I'd like to see it.
 
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