Shaving Horse

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Over the years we have had a number of requests for shaving horse plans, spawned perhaps by the renewed interest in hand methods of woodworking. The shaving horse was an important tool in pre-power tool times, and was often customized to best suit the type of work for which it would be used. Although we suspect that this particular shaving horse, which is from the Hancock Shaker Village Museum, was used by a cooper (barrel maker), it has all the common shaving horse features and should serve well for most any drawknife work.

The purpose of the shaving horse is to provide a device that both positions the workpiece at a convenient angle and anchors it tightly. The craftsman is seated on the bench end with the workpiece located squarely before him. The angled bridge positions the workpiece where the most controlled force can be safely exerted, and the drawknife is pulled forward toward the body. The craftsman’s feet rest on the treadle, applying downward pressure through the arm to the head, which clamps the workpiece against the bridge. It is important that the workpiece be held securely because the drawknife tends to pull the stock forward.

 

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