A combination chair, vise, and workbench rolled all into one, a shaving horse (also commonly referred to as a shave horse or shaving horse bench) is one of the most unusual woodworking items out there in that it is a traditional wood shaving tool that also implements modern engineering in its design.
Used in green woodworking (which deals with the shaving of unseasoned wood), the shaving horse is commonly utilized by very traditional woodworkers and operating the machine requires the use of a clamp-based system that brings the wood towards the user for easy cutting.
If you are looking to learn more about shaving horse use or even purchase one yourself, here are seven shaving horse-related products that are available for online purchase.
Learn More about the Shaving Horse with These 4 Reference Materials
To provide more of an idea about the purpose, history, and design of the shaving horse, these four reference materials may be perfect for you.
1. “Build A Traditional Shaving Horse”
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Available for around $70 online, this book by Kenneth Kortemeier will not only teach you how to properly use a shaving horse but will also show you how to build one yourself.
2. “The Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge”
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When it comes to woodworking, Roy Underhill is a veritable legend, having hosted the PBS show The Woodwright’s Shop for more than 30 years. In his seventh book, Underhill explores a number of different woodworking techniques, including using a shaving horse and even provides detailed plans on how to make your own shaving horse. Hundreds of detailed drawings provide perfect visual aids for anyone interested in shaving horse techniques or green woodworking in general.
3. “Green Woodworking: A Hands-On Approach”
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This book is perfect if you want to learn the basics of green woodworking and shaving horse plans. Written by Drew Langsner and available in paperback for around $25, this book is chock-full of timeless techniques to help the most ambitious of woodworkers.
4. “Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and Other Woodland Vices: A Book of Plans and Techniques for the Green Woodworker”
Instructive, practical, and full of plenty of plans, pictures, diagrams, and guidance, this book provides a comprehensive look at shave horses, examining everything from traditional shave horses and lap shaves, and is also perfect for someone who is looking to actually build a shaving horse by hand.
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How to Build Your Own DIY Panel Saw
If you are an expert woodworker, then you know how convenient a panel saw can be. This tool can be any type of sawing machine that features a sliding table used to cut sheets into sized pieces. The original sliding panel saw was invented in 1906 in Germany by Wilhelm Altendorf. The invention helped to carve a new path for woodworking by making a noticeable difference between the panel saw and other types of tools. Vertical panel saws can help especially if you operate a shop or busy at-home woodworking business.
3 Shaving Horses Available for Purchase
If you are interested in buying a shaving horse for your own personal use or simply as a gift for a fellow woodworker, here are three shaving horses that you can buy online.
1. Tom Donahey Woodwork Shaving Horse
Made from yellow pine and solid birch plywood, this $425 shaving horse is perfectly adjustable and comes with a wide-padded, genuine leather seat (multiple colors of leather are available) that slides to accommodate any and all body types.
2. New Prairie Woodworks Shaving Horse
With a going price of about $400, this rustic shaving horse is handmade out of a host of different materials. The level frame and bench are made out of Douglas fir timbers, while the treadle and head are crafted from Black Locust scraps. On the other hand, the main lever beam and the wedges that attach the treadle and head to the beam are constructed from white oak.
The shaving horse legs, which were made out of hickory saplings, are particularly interesting since they were tenoned and hand carved on a similar shaving horse with a spokeshave and knife.
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3. Hardwood Tailor Wood Shaver Bench
Made out of ash, oak, walnut, and steel, this $425 custom-built wood shaver bench has that classic shaving horse look and is effective in carving legs for tables or benches, making handles, shaving logs, or for pulling off many other green woodworking projects. It would also simply make a perfect decor piece in any house or work area.
Understanding the Shaving Horse and Other Green Woodworking Items and Techniques
With so many different woodworking tools available these days, many of them more advanced than the shaving horse, you probably won’t need to use a shaving horse in the majority of your projects. And while you may not see yourself using something like a shaving horse or any other green woodworking items and techniques anytime soon, the shaving horse does still represent an important facet in the history of woodworking.
Studying the history, techniques, and facets of the shaving horse, as well as other green woodworking techniques, can certainly help you to become a more well-rounded woodworker. And who knows? Maybe one day you will, in fact, end up your act of building or buying a shaving horse for decorative or gift purposes, or even using one from that special project. After all, one of the best parts about woodworking is opening yourself up to new and creative projects and opportunities.