A shave horse, my kingdom for a shave horse!

shave horse

"Traditional bodgers and woodworkers would have spent the first day in a new woodland making their equipment such as a shave horse "explains Adrian Dennett a supplier of wood bodgers' kit.  These are stools where the craftsman (or woman) sits at one end of the 'horse' and uses a foot-controlled lever to hold their work in place.  It's remarkable how firmly this device holds the wood in position and allows the operator safely to shave down a piece of wood.

Shave horses are mostly used for green woodwork (using unseasoned wood) to make items such as spoons, kuksas (small bowls) or chair legs.  Typically they are used to hold rougher bits of wood which are being moulded into shape using a two-handed draw knife.  It's so-called because you draw the knife towards you in a controlled way to shave layers off your work.

Although you can make your own, a cheap alternative is this ready-made shave horse which costs £49.  Adrian told me that people buy them because they are portable and have built-in adjustments.This means you can work on a big lump of wood or adjust the shave horse to hold a thinner object such as a small spoon.  Adjustments will also be needed for holding longer pieces of wood.

shave horse

More rustic versions of workbench - which come flat-packed -are also available from Adrian whose website is www.woodlandbushcraftandsurvival.co.uk.  At the Bushcraft show in Derbyshire Adrian sold all seven of his shave horses - all his stock - but he's making more of them.


Here is a photo of Dick's 'horse' as mentioned in his comment below:

Comments are closed for this post.


The post does give a link to the website, https://www.woodlandbushcraftandsurvival.co.uk/home
and that has contact details :
Contact Person: Adrian or Tammy
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07748406809


11 December, 2022

Hi, do you have a link to buy the shave horse mentioned? Thanks!


10 December, 2022

And by the way, the saddle looks tough, did you try to use any leather chair for that?

Jeff Richardson

26 January, 2021

Excellent job, I’d like to share my one, however can not upload the image here. The only thing that I wanted to ask is that your shave horse looks not that reliable for a big man like me. How many kilos it can bear, how do you think?

Jeff Richardson

20 January, 2021

My friend Ray made me one, and a pole lathe. I’ve just bought some woodland and I can’t wait to get going. Except of course for the information needed to make the right choice when deciding what stays up and what comes down.

Jos Clark

20 July, 2019

Here’s a photo of my first effort (see above).

Although it may look like something straight out of an IKEA flatpack, it was made from odds and ends I had kicking around the yard and is loosely based on elements of different designs from Sean Hellman’s excellent book “Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and Other Woodland Vices: A Book of Plans and Techniques for the Green Woodworker”.

It may not be pretty, but it is functional and is me-sized, meaning no stretching to push the treadle or over-extending arms to reach the far end of the work-piece.

Dick White

22 June, 2019