Any shaving horse owners out there? - Page 3 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #41 of 54 Old 08-26-2012, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Neondog View Post
Newbie here. Almost no woodworking experience but I love wood and working with my hands.

I was given a good sized eastern red cedar today, about thirty foot tall and fifteen inches in diameter. It was killed by a wildfire last summer but is still upright. The bark burned away and the remaining wood is spotted with charred areas less than one eighth inch deep.

I'm planning to use about five foot of the trunk for the big pieces of two shaving horses (one for myself and one for the friend that is giving me the tree) and most of the limbs/branches for walking staffs and atlatls as well as the smaller pieces of the shaving horses.

Any chance I could get a decent split with wedges or should I look for a way to get it sawed into planks?
ERC would make a beautiful horse but it would almost undoubtably squeak something terrible.
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post #42 of 54 Old 08-26-2012, 10:23 AM
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NeonDog,
I am going to sound pretty negative here.
Eastern red cedar can be spectacular, but the grain can be ropey and convoluted with lots of knots. What you see on the outside reflects the interior. Riving is generally not going to result in straight planks.
If you have a rare straight-grained log - Congratulations!
I am not too sure about the strength of the wood. You may have some areas that will break too easily. The bore holes for the legs are near the edges of the seat plank and the ramp, where it joins the main plank, is generally thin.
I made mine from tulip poplar in the early 90's and it is holding up well with red oak pegs holding it together.
Also, some people react adversely to the extractives in woods like cedar. Since you may spend a lot of time on a shaving horse, you will have considerable contact, even through clothes.
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post #43 of 54 Old 08-26-2012, 09:14 PM
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@ Mizer, squeaks shouldn't be a problem, I am extremely hard of hearing. Hard to communicate without an aid in my hear-hole.

@ MuseumWood, Thanks for the warnings. The tree looks pretty straight on the outside. I guess I could start with two five foot section trying to split the lesser and if that fails take the better one to a mill.

As far as strength is concerned, I plan to go thick on the bench, maybe three inches and stagger the hind legs putting one about six inches ahead of the other with their insertion points just a few inches off center and angled out at ten or fifteen degrees.

As for the reactive juices, I could add a removable seating pad if needed. Thanks again. I'll update when I get one split. Might be a few weeks.
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post #44 of 54 Old 08-27-2012, 02:14 AM
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That looks like a bench my Grandfather had. I was about 5 the last time I saw it in Pa.
He made a bench when he came to Md that he used to sharpen his saws on. It also held his cobbler's lasts.
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post #45 of 54 Old 08-27-2012, 10:54 AM
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Neondog,
Go gettem! You can always use some beeswax or tallow to eliminate the squeeks. Just don't get it where the dumbhead and ramp have to provide friction!
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post #46 of 54 Old 08-28-2012, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Neondog View Post
@ Mizer, squeaks shouldn't be a problem, I am extremely hard of hearing. Hard to communicate without an aid in my hear-hole.

@ MuseumWood, Thanks for the warnings. The tree looks pretty straight on the outside. I guess I could start with two five foot section trying to split the lesser and if that fails take the better one to a mill.

As far as strength is concerned, I plan to go thick on the bench, maybe three inches and stagger the hind legs putting one about six inches ahead of the other with their insertion points just a few inches off center and angled out at ten or fifteen degrees.

As for the reactive juices, I could add a removable seating pad if needed. Thanks again. I'll update when I get one split. Might be a few weeks.
I also do not want to seem negative but I have built several shaving horses and ERC would be the very last wood that I would use to build one. Not knocking cedar, in fact I have a whole room in my house built with it. There are many great uses for cedar but IMHO a shaving horse is not one of them. Among the reasons that you have been given by myself and Museum (which you did acknowledge that you have little experience with wood and seemed to be looking for advice) ERC will be softer than most any wood that you will use with the horse and it will also tend to get very slick, especially at the points where you are trying to hold stuff, making it not very fun to use. My advice would be save the cedar for a furniture project and hunt down a red oak log. Most any sawmill would sell you one if you told them what you are doing. Of course you can do what you want (and we will still be friends) If you decide to go ahead with it I would have it sawn instead of trying to split unless it is very straight grain. Knotty cedar does not cleave very well.
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post #47 of 54 Old 09-03-2012, 11:04 PM
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Okay, I dropped the tree Saturday and cut two six foot sections from the bottom of the trunk. All (thirty?) of the good sized branches were cut down to about seven feet and tossed in the bed of my truck along with the trunk pieces. The wood does seem soft (easy cutting) and fairly weak. I'm now thinking that IF it will split decently, I'll use the entire best side, bore some leg holes into it and use walnut or hickory (from same source) for the legs, dumnhead etc.

It'll be heavy I know but I don't plan to move it around much if any.
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post #48 of 54 Old 09-04-2012, 08:33 AM
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I hope it goes well for you. Take some pics along the way.
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post #49 of 54 Old 09-04-2012, 12:14 PM
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I just started one today myself. Pulled a 3" thick pine blank out of the junk pile and got to swinging the axe and adze a but to blow off some steam...

So I'll be watching as ya go for when ever I get back to mine
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post #50 of 54 Old 09-14-2012, 01:11 AM
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Splitting Cedar

I got the lesser of the two sections split down the center. It is a little wavy and there is about eighteen degrees of twist end to end but I still think it will be something to play with. Just can't stand seeing so much wood pushed into big piles and burned.

The larger section (lower six foot of trunk) had more limbs coming out of it and may not split as well. Took a few pics but not sure of the preferred way to post them. Is it best to attach in the thread or is linking to an album better? I'm more accustomed to using Photobucket.
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post #51 of 54 Old 09-15-2012, 08:55 AM
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I think the preferred way to post an image is through the site itself. Just use the paper clip icon button in the tool bar and then find your pic on your computer (if you need to create a file on your computer, put your pic in it, then you can select from that file) Then you will need to select "upload" in the lower right hand corner. Give it a few seconds, then go back to paper clip icon and select the attachment(s) and it will then appear in your post as an attachment. If you need more help let me know.

Last edited by Mizer; 09-15-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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post #52 of 54 Old 09-15-2012, 12:06 PM
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First glimpse inside the trunk. I picked up the wedge at an antique store last week. Needs to be cleaned up a bit.

Any shaving horse owners out there?-dsc_9858se2.jpg

Any shaving horse owners out there?-dsc_9863se2.jpg
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post #53 of 54 Old 09-16-2012, 09:18 AM
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Looks like you did a good job on splitting!
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post #54 of 54 Old 02-13-2020, 10:11 PM
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looking for expertise

Hello! I have been looking online for information on a shave horse I found in the barn but haven't found too much. Most people talk about Roy Underhill's design and i can't find one that looks like mine.
Despite how it looks it seems solid so I plan to fix it up to be able to use it for holding onto odd shaped carving tasks but don't want to do anything to it that would ruin it. Specifically, I have two questions:
First, does the design look familiar to anyone? I know I have to make a replacement foot treadle and would like to make it appropriate to type. I would also like to know if there are other components missing?

Second, there are wooden pins protruding from different locations. Any idea what they were for? My plan is to clean it up and finish it with some preservative so I don't know if I should glue the pins in prior to sanding or just remove them and leave the holes empty.

Thanks in advance for your help with my questions.


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