For years I’ve been planning to build a shave horse. It is a foot operated vise that makes wood carving much easier for traditional woodworkers. We need one in the Woodwright shop. I also wanted to make one so I can say that I did. For several years I had a nice piece of dried walnut sitting in my workshop. Never could I think of anything to do with it. Suddenly out of the ether came an idea. Make a shave horse out of it!
I called a friend of mine who has a TimberKing bandsaw designed to make planks out of logs. He invited me to come over and he would cut the wood into planks.
After cutting the old log into planks I outlined the pieces I needed to cut out to make the shavehorse.
Using a tablesaw and a bandsaw, with the assistance of a son-in-law, I cut out the pieces.
I had previously reduced them to the right thickness with a planer and finished them with a sander. I know this coveted item is made for using traditional hand tools, but there is nothing that says you cannot use power tools to make it.
Next I cut out the hole the foot lever would fit through. Not too difficult of a job.
The angled wood ramp followed.
Next sub-routine was to make the legs on my 1880’s lathe. I discovered the 1946 electric motor is failing and needs to be replaced in the near future. It had enough life in it to finish the job, fortunately.
I made a jig in order to drill the holes at the correct angle for the splayed legs. This part actually went smoothly, much to my surprise and delight. I glued and wedged the legs into the drilled holes. Perfect fit! A small miracle.
The installation of the angled ramp went well. It is held into place with carriage bolts. It was followed up by the installation of the foot lever. Everything fit and worked smoothly.
Now I disassembled the shavehorse and put finish on it. I used tung oil. Two coats well applied and allowed to dry.
After the finish dried I reassembled the shave horse. Everything still worked.
Upon completion I took it out to the Woodwright shop at the American West Heritage Center. It has been put to use in the manufacture of spoons and other kitchen products. It also serves as a training aid for people interested in traditional woodworking.
A rewarding experience. Come and visit it sometime.