Until I wrote about baseball, (here http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/on-baseball/  & here http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/on-baseball-pt-2/)  the most popular post on the blog was always the first one – about my shaving horse. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/shaving-horses/

My first woodworking incarnation was as a ladderback chairmaker, shaving the parts instead of turning. Always on the shaving horse then, I was. Since I became a full-time joiner, I hardly ever use it. Mine got pretty beat up over the years, I think I made it about 1989 or 90…might have been earlier. It got new legs once, but they were a lousy quick fix. It has a pine bench, and pretty spindly legs. I have often wanted to make it more significant, but use it so rarely, I always thought I’d get to it…later.

Well,  I decided to re-do the bench and legs once & for all. Let’s see, if I get another 25 years out of this one, I’ll be 81. Old enough to quit I think…

I started with a white oak slab leftover from some bandsaw milling we had done last year. I wanted to narrow the middle of the length, so made some saw kerfs down to the line, then hewed the chunks away…

In the photo of sawing, you can see I have one side all hewn and shaved.

sawing depth stops

One of my spoon carving hatchets – an all-time favorite of mine.

begin chopping

knocking out the blocks



splitting out the blocks

Then I shaved those sides up with drawkinves. Time then to bore the leg holes. I work from the top, with a large auger. One angle is taken from a line drawn on the bench, the other from the adjustable bevel.


boring compound angle

While I was in a boring & mortising mode, I cut the square mortise at the front end of the bench for the block that hinges the work surface. bored it first, then squared up with chisels. You can see the oak block that will fit in there, with its square-ish head. There will be one more mortise, through the shaft of this block, for a wedge that holds the block in place.

mortising for pinhead

brace & auger bit

Tapping it in for a test fit.

test fit it

Then comes reaming the leg mortises from underneath. One large reamer I kept from the Alexander collection. Thanks, JA.

tapered reamer


The white oak legs I made were from 2 1/2″ stock I had prepped for something, & never used. Made them last March. So I octagon-ed them, then turned the tapered tenons to fit as well as I could get ‘em.

old & new

the old in the background, new underway

Here is the bench part, with its hinge-block. Legs need wedging, then trimming.

bench w square block

much heavier than its pine predecessor

I cannibalized the working parts – saw no need to remake them. Bored the block for the wooden pin that hinges the work surface. Bored through the bench for the pivot pin in the middle. & then fit the parts on.

fittings done

You can maybe make out the wedge – it’s walnut. The nearest scrap that was close to the size I needed.

detail w wedge

Then I shaved some more hickory for basket stuff…


Here you see the basket rim up on edge, trapped under the notch in the crossbar.


People often ask about plans – ughh. I hate that stuff. Try Alexander’s website  – http://www.greenwoodworking.com/ShavingHorsePlans

There’s tons of shaving horses out in the world, and people are making them more & more effective every day. Think Peter Galbert http://www.chairnotes.blogspot.com/search/label/Shavehorse%20Plans

The one I use was developed by Alexander, and it’s just plain simple…that’s why I like it.

Best bird of the past week – yellow-bellied sapsucker. Almost can’t see him, he matches the bark so well.

yb sapsucker


There will be spoons this month, near the end I guess. I’m still mulling how to streamline the selling process. I spent too much of 2013 either driving, or looking at a screen. One positive change is that now each spoon will be marked by me finally. I just could never combine my initials to suit me, but got something I can live with now…


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