Shaving horse

The shaving horse is a holding device for working wood. I like to think that before the age of the D.I.Y. store most good households would have had one to work timber down to size.
I built a standard H frame horse around 12 years ago when I first discovered greenwood, which is now firewood! This served it’s purpose but I never found it that practical having to feed the ‘job’ (wood) through the ‘H’ especially if it was a long job.
I’ve been meaning to make a ‘dumbhead’ style horse for ages since I had the eye for a Mexican design folding chair that would require some serious draw-knife action. The dumbhead is based on a ‘T’, so you can slide work in from the side and in and out with ease.
Thankfully a little pocket of downtime allowed me to play and here it is! There’s still some fine tuning to do, and to add to my shopping list next time I visit the woods I’ll be looking out for a bit of bowed ash, this will become the front leg (singular) and the two existing front legs will be ‘retired’. Four legs is great on the flat but on uneven ground they’re a pest. 3 legs are the future!

The body and components are all made from left over oak grown at Staunton Harold in South Derbyshire (up the road) and the legs are sweet chestnut.
It was all roughed out with a chainsaw first, then fine tuned with hand tools.
I took the opportunity to rattle out duplicate blanks for my mate to so he could build one too.
The head here was an experimental bit of whittling from way back and I thought it may work for this delicate job, it will need an upgrade soon enough to a good heavy one.

Ironically my families business has been in tool holding specifically chuck jaws for lathes dating back to 1946. My Great Grandfather William Morris was in partnership originally with a man called Dunn, hence the name Mordun, their work moved into a computerised era producing work internationally with my father also William at the helm and here’s me building possibly one of the very first holding devices in history operated with my foot… fresh from the tree!
Brilliant! I’m sure he’d approve…








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