To circle back to my blog entry about draw knives the other day, I received a request to post information about the shaving horse, which is all but essential when using a draw knife.
The shaving horse is a combination of workbench and vise. The user sits astride the horse and the material being worked is clamped in front of them. The draw knife requires a pulling action, of course, so the material needs to be clamped ahead of where you’ll be cutting.
In this photo I snagged from Wikipedia, you can see the shaving horse in action. What you can’t quite see is how the user is pushing against foot pedals attached to the arm of the clamp. The clamp is a simple lever. The user pushes against the bottom of the lever, which puts force in the opposite direction at the top of the lever, clamping the material to the bench.
There are hundreds of DIY plans available online for making your own shaving horse. Just one example is found on the website for Fine Woodworking magazine.
Once upon a time, apprentice carpenters were required to make their own shaving horses, as well as workbenches and other items necessary for the trade. The draw knife and shaving horse were used frequently in the making of chairs and tables. They were also common in the making of bows.