Shaving horse

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.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

2 thoughts on “Shaving horse”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *