Monday, February 10, 2014

A Stable Full of Horses

Shaving horses that is. The bodgers' or English style shave horse is one I just kind of cobbled together about 4 years ago. Not my finest work by far, but it's done it's job well enough. However, in watching all the Curtis Buchanan videos on YouTube and seeing Elia Bizzarri on a past episode of The Woodwrights Shop, I decided I wanted to try a Continental or Dumb Head style horse. One of the main reasons was hearing Elia say that this style was better for shaving long parts like Windsor arms and bows because you can just slide the piece in from the side rather than having to pull it out and reinsert it from the front as on the English version. Plus I had enough southern yellow pine 2 x material laying around the shop that it wouldn't cost me anything but time.

After browsing over a bunch of shave horse pictures on Google Images ( a resource I use a lot for ideas on furniture and shop fixtures ) I decided on a close version of the model on Drew Langsner's Country Workshops site. A model he refers to as a Swiss shaving horse. About the only change I made was to make the bridge removable and pivoting, so I could change the slope of the bridge by inserting a different height riser. The riser is not attached in any way, just sitting in a shallow rabbet in the top of the bench and the bottom of the bridge. Everything is southern yellow pine with the exception of the wedges holding the head, the foot treadle, and the bridge pivot block. The wedges are cherry, the foot treadle is 1 x oak, and the legs are nice, straight grained red oak off my firewood pile. And just for some turning practice, I turned the legs in the style of Windsor chair bamboo style turnings. These were glued into 6 degree tapered holes and then wedged with walnut wedges. It was fun turning the legs and was really good practice, including tapering the tops of the legs to a 6 degree taper matching the reamed leg holes. The metal pins are half inch steel rod, easily bent after being heated in my paint can forge.

The completed Swiss style horse.

Another view.

Close-up of the removable block and adjustable bridge.

Adjustable height head with home-made steel pin.

The walnut wedges driven into the tops of the legs.

My tapered reamer and a gauge block of a matching taper that allows me
to check my turning as I go to match the tapered holes in the bench.

Of course, after building the Swiss style horse, I got to thinking that maybe I should try a more traditional dumbhead style. And since I had enough material for everything but the bench part, why the heck not! I mean, if two horses are good, three must be better. Right? And they really don't eat much. Ok, that was easy enough to talk myself into. Time to get to work! This one I decided to make three legged, again with red oak legs off the firewood pile, but this time made somewhat in the fashion of welsh stick chair legs. I figured the three legs would be beneficial if I ever decided to take things outside on uneven ground. I also made the slope of the bridge more shallow, and fixed. I'm very happy with it. The lower angle of the bridge is quite comfortable when using the draw knife.

The more traditional dumbhead style horse.

Three legged for a steady stance even on uneven ground.

The bridge held firm with tapered oak pegs. I got a little
too aggressive driving in the right peg and split the bench
slightly. Bending a 1 1/4" piece of steel to fit tightly
around the front of the bench fixed that problem quite
nicely. Again, the paint can forge came in handy here.

Three horses, one old nag and a couple fresh young steeds, ready for action.
I love it when the natural light shines in from the front window and rakes
across a piece.

So now I have three horses and a steam box at the ready. Starting to look like I'm getting ramped up for some chair making. Or a school! Ha Ha


Sabeast Michael said...

Where can i buy the hat your wearing on your default picture on Instagram?

Jamie Bacon said...

That hat is just a felt hat blank from Greenhow's Store in Colonial Williamsburg's historic area. It's what you would use to make a bi-corn'd or a tri-corn'd hat. Or you can leave it like it is for a nice, wide-brimmed hat. I actually need to get another one on my next trip down to CW as I converted that one to a bi-corn.

Anonymous said...

Looks like somebody has been busy:)

Paul Saffold said...

Nice horses. You need some saddles or you will be sore. Chair cushions will work.

Pollacks Stogies said...

Shaving with 3 horses? Does the first pull the shaving up by its collar, the second bitch it out for being so lame, and the third whack it off, closer than a single horse ever could? Joking, love your work!

Jamie Bacon said...

You've obviously worked with 3 shave horses yourself at some time Todd! HaHa
I have this problem of just making one of anything for some reason. Some sort of OCD affliction I suppose. :-)

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