Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Building Horses

Lately I have had a couple students building shave horses for a class they will take here in March. Pete and Bob live here in town so I'm helping them along to get things ready for the class. I have always been a big fan of the horse which Brian Boggs designed with the ratcheting head. It's a good size to haul around and seems to fit just about anyone with the adjustable seat. The plans for this horse is in Fine Woodworking issue #139. It is made from 8/4 stock and the widest board is 8'' but could be glued up of coarse. I prefer hard wood to pine for durability, especially the ratcheting part and clamping areas. We used cherry and maple since I had so much dry stock lying around. If you have built chairs without the use of this tool then you are missing one of the best ways to clamp and re-clamp wood quickly and securely. While pulling back on the draw knife through the wood you naturally push with your feet so it's a natural effect.

On this horse the only change I made was adding a place to rest the draw knife on top of the post. It just seemed like a natural place and the edges of the blade are not exposed while not in use. I guess it's sort of a tool tray. I still don't like tool trays on benches.
This past week I have had Ron Underwood taking a class on fine furniture. He wanted to do a sugar chest based on one he sold to the Tennessee State Museum about 30 years ago. Made from walnut the case features half blind dovetails. The base is mortised and tenoned with a nice crotch drawer front. These were the first dovetails that Ron has cut and I must say that half blind case and chopping the crotched drawer front is quite a challenge for a first timer but he did great. I always teach cutting the pins first which has always seemed more natural to me, sorry Kelly.

Ron will return next week to finish the sugar chest. Just so you know, the sugar chest was used to store sugar in the late 18th and early 19th century primarily in the southern states. It was stored under lock and key. The top will have breadboard ends with applied mouldings around the top and waist.


  1. The hand must be doing better. Good to see the post. If Ron let's you post a final picture of the sugar chest.

  2. Hey Josh,
    Thanks,hand is getting stronger everyday. I'll post a shot of the chest next week.

  3. Greg,
    I showed the blog post to my wife and she said "His shop floors are nicer than our house! And I agree. Great to see you posting,

  4. Pete,
    Yea, my wife says the same thing.

    Say hi to Sue,