Shaving Horse pt. Deux

I got the ratcheting head working.. I was a little worried about getting the lever placed in the right spot, but everything worked out just right.  There’s a length of bungee cord to pull it back into place, so all you need to do is pull the head up, or press down on the lever to lower it.  It works really well!

I’ve still got another 5-6 hours before this is done.. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but having good tools inspires you do great work. And building something like this is definitely a change of pace!

– Matt

Breeding Shave Horses

If I want to be a REAL chair maker, I’ll need a shaving horse.  What’s a shaving horse? Well, it’s basically a specialized bench for clamping and working with chair parts; specifically, spindles, crests, anything you’d be using your drawknife or spokeshave on.

Didn’t I just build a sweet bench with awesome vises though?  Yes, yes I did.  And I could technically do everything with a regular vise that I’ll do with the shave horse, but it would take waaaay longer, and be super annoying.

Here’s a good video on what a shavehorse is used for:

In fact, that whole series is fantastic, and Curtis Buchannan is like the Mozart of windsor chairs, so I’d recommend watching all of them if you’ve got time on your hands.

Anyways, I drove up to Greg’s yesterday, and bought a couple big pieces of cherry.  I whipped out my circular saw and started cutting some of the pieces down to size…

And, eventually I go them both cut out, and jointed and planed…

I’m building a Brian Boggs style shaving horse.. The main difference between his and others (that I can gather) is that he doesn’t have open sides on the head.  Well, since his style is the only kind I’ve ever used, I figure I may as well stick with what I know. Like usual, I’ve got the plans within view;

Those plans don’t have all the lengths listed, so I was having somewhat of a difficult time figuring out dimensions based on angles and heights. You know, basic geometry that I’ve long forgotten. So, I thought, why not just draw this thing out on the floor?  I don’t really care about pencil marks on the concrete, so I drew out some of the full size dimensions and it made things much easier to figure things out.

So, I got the front leg cut, and also the correct bevel on the main body. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get some legs cut, and also the rocker sides.  Hopefully this project will go pretty quickly, I’ve got a few other things I’d like to finish before the end of the year..

Thanks for reading!

– Matt

What I’ve been up to…

Sorry for the lack of posts (I don’t think anyone actually reads this anyways).  But since July, I’ve moved to a new house and started a new job, so I’ve been a little bit busy.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been building anything though!  One of the great things about our new house is that I’ve got a detached garage that largely dedicated to woodworking.  It’s pretty sweet.

I’ll post some more details on that later, I haven’t quite got things pretty and organized yet. Anyways, here are a couple things that I’ve finished, and will post more build details later on.

First up, a windsor chair:

I took a week long class with Greg Pennington, and it was one of the funnest things I’ve done in a long time.  Greg is a great teacher, and an incredible chair maker. He’s one of those guys who just does stuff so fast it makes your head spin.  I’ve got a lot to write about that week though, so more on that later.

Next, a coffee table for my wife’s vet practice:

This is made from maple, and stained a dark walnut or something.  I honestly don’t really love this thing, but it’s what the interior decorater specified. Staining wood just seems to take all the natural color variation out, and leaves really monotone look. Also, it’s a little glossy for my taste.

Third, one of those C. Schwarz squares..

This was actually pretty easy to build, a lot easier then I thought.  BUT (there’s always a but) after glue-up, I took the smoother to it and discovered that both sides had bowed about 1/8.  Now, the GD thing was dead flat when I put the clamps on.  They both bowed in the opposite direction of the half-lap joints, so it doesn’t seem like bad luck.  I’m going to email Chris and express my displeasure.  I’d take a picture of the bowing, but I was so annoyed I got out the no8 and tried to flatten the damn thing.  Of course I wasn’t really successful.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ll post more frequently in the future, promise.

– Matt