The author testing treadle configurations.

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

A traditional shaving horse, essential for spindle work or green woodworking, can be quite costly or take days to build. It can also occupy as much floor space as a bench seat. In my research, I came across some smaller shaving fixtures of varying designs and features. Choosing simplicity and size over other considerations, I built a modified shave horse that can be used on my bench or on any clamp-friendly top.

The Shaving Fixture


The bench-top shave horse consists of four key components: the beam, the swing treadle, the foot pedal and the clamping block. You can customize the design and measurements to suit your needs. I tried out different configurations by experimenting with various placements of holes on a prototype.

The author tested out various treadle configurations in a comfortable sitting position.

Construction


The shave horse can be built in these steps:


1) Drill a series of spaced center holes on the upper part of the treadle stiles


The spaced holes on the stiles.

The spaced holes on the stiles provide for setting the clamping block at different heights.

2) Bore a center hole on each stile for mounting the beam

3) Drill a hole end-to-end on the clamping block


The off-center clamping block.


A slightly off-center clamping block allows small height adjustments in each hole setting.

4) Glue and screw the top and bottom bars to the stiles


Assembling the swing treadle.


After drilling, assemble the swing treadle using glue and screws.

5) Attach the foot pedal to the bottom bar


Screwing the peddle to the bottom bar.


Glue and screw the pedal to the bottom bar from the top as well as on the sides.

6) Drill a center mounting hole across the beam


Drilling the center mounting hole.


Drilling the mounting hole on the beam is the last cutting task for the project.

7) Put everything together and give the clamping block a test drive


Installing the beam and clamping block to the fixture.


Install the beam and clamping block to complete the fixture.

Using the Shaving Horse


To use the shave horse, clamp the beam to the bench’s top with a holdfast or clamp (left). Place the work under the clamping block, and lock it by pushing the treadle forward with your foot (right).

Left: Securing the beam on the bench. Right: Foot pushing the pedal.


Left: Secure the beam on the bench before using the fixture.

Right: A gentle push on the pedal will deliver a solid grip of the work.

This compact bench-top fixture can be stood in a corner or disassembled for storage or for ease of transport. Putting it back – bolting the beam to the treadle – takes only seconds.


The fixture and several spokeshaves on the author’s workbench.


The fixture can also be disassembled or reassembled in a matter of seconds.


Of course, the fixture is not meant to replace a full-sized shave horse, but it does offer a quick solution for light-duty chores such as spindles or spoons. You can follow this article to build your own version of the shave horse, and perhaps even use it to finish your favorite spatula – all on the same day!

Text and photos by Charles Mak

Charles Mak, now in retirement, is an enthusiastic hobby woodworker, teacher, writer and tipster. He formerly worked part-time at his local Lee Valley Tools store.

Shave Horse and Green Woodworking Accessories

64K0102 - Austrian Drawknife

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Austrian Drawknife

$65.00

10S1053 - Limewood Spoon Carving Blank

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Limewood Spoon Carving Blank

$8.90

50J0502 - Two-Jaw Brace

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Two- and Three-Jaw Chuck Braces

From: $106.50

03G1010 - 6" × 36" Grip Liner

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Cork/Nitrile-Rubber Grip Liner

$19.50

09A0517 - Digital Moisture Meter

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Digital Moisture Meter

$32.50

29T3210 - Agawa Canyon Folding Saw

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Agawa Canyon Folding Saw

$79.50

05L1901 - Veritas Shaving Horse Plan

This image has not been loaded. To print the images, close the print view and scroll to the bottom of the article. Once all of the images have loaded, select the print option again.

Traditional English Shaving Horse Plan

by Veritas

$17.50


Share On Facebook Share via Email

NAME YOUR WISH LIST

Sign In

User Name is a required field.

Password is a required field.

Forgot password? Forgot Username?

Benefits of creating an account:

Create an account

Please enter the username associated with your Lee Valley account and we will send you an email to reset your password.

Please enter the email address associated with your Lee Valley account and we will send you an email with your username.