Jim's customized shaving horse

Here is a picture of my customized shaving horse. This is what I now use to make long tapered spindles, initially hand split oak from logs, for the backs of Windsor chairs. This particular shaving horse was made in the early 80’s when I really started to get into traditional woodworking using mostly hand tooks. Believe it or not, I made this shaving horse out of glued up wood recovered from oak pallets and a couple 2″ pine boards I purchased from a local lumber supplier. Initially, this shaving horse design was utilized by coopers to shape barrel staves, and I ended up using it to make Shaker ladderback chair parts. One of the limitations I experienced was that I had to always apply a very firm amount of foot pressure to secure the stock while I was using a drawknife and spokeshave.

After making Windsor chairs for the last several years, I finally realized the need for enhanced holding capability in this shaving horse. It was either that or make another one. Since I don’t have room for more than one shaving horse, I opted to modify this one. An article in Fine Woodworking Magazine, #139, featured a shaving horse designed by chair maker Brian Boggs, it helped me see how this could be done. So I borrowed some design concepts from Brian Boggs. I modified the clamping head by removing the top member which was held originally together with a thru mortise and tenon joint. I replaced the original top member with a 2-1/2″ diameter cylinder with 7/8″ round tenon ends. The round tenons extend all the way through the side arms and this allows the top member, which is now covered with rawhide, to turn and provide fresh clamping surfaces. The pressure I now apply between the rough rawhide covered top clamping member and the rawhide covered grooved platform should provide a much better grip when I am using the drawknife and the spokeshave to work chair spindles.

Thanks for looking!

Jim's Customized Shaving Horse