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In our East Berlin article of Colonial Days, we show a picture of a man using a shaving horse to trim cedar shakes. We also show the use of a shaving horse in our cooper article. Jack the Cooper came up with his own plans to build the shaving horse he uses.
French shaving horse of Continental design taken by Ruizo.
There are two traditional styles of shaving horses, the English bodgeris bench and the Continental schnitzelbank or dumbhead. There is pictorial evidence of the dumbhead being used in the 15th and 16th centuries, although the English style does not show up until the late 19th century.
Peter Follansbee of Plimoth Plantation prefers the English shaving horse because "the action of gripping the stock is centered, as opposed to the off-center action of the dumbhead style." For the English style shaving horse, two outside posts pivot on the edges of the bench instead of coming up through the middle. In our project, we call this the pivoting arm assembly.
Black Forest or German or Swiss shaving horse taken by Flominator. It gives a longer lever-ratio which traps the workpiece more securely
You can build your shaving horse out of any type of stock you want. In fact, if you want to make it to suit for colonial times, why not begin your project by cutting down a tree with an ax and leaving the bark on your project?
A sample of what is possible in primitive design if you have the logs available
In the shaving horse project Colonial Sense brings you, we use for the English style shaving horse lumber which is hewn from half a log 10 to 12 inches in diameter. The concept of all shaving horses is the same. It is built to grip stock such as cedar shakes, bowls, decoys, chair legs, and staves of a barrel and using draw knives and spokeshaves, shape the piece as needed. The shape is the shaving horse features a bench, a pivoting arm assembly, and an inclined bridge. Using your foot to step down on the foot bar, the workpiece is locked into position. Make sure that your shaving horse is comfortable to your needs. The length of the legs can be adjusted to your height.
Attaching the legs and braces to the bench.
Attaching the bridge to the riser.
Pivoting Arm Assembly
Country Workshops provides plans for a shaving horse which they call a shaving mule. It is a hybrid design which combines elements from a traditional English bodger's shaving horse and the dumbhead Zug Stuhls of Alpine Europe.
Source: Research & text by Bryan Wright
Shaving Mule Plans from Country Workshops
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