How to Build a Shave Horse. Bowyer’s Woodworking Dream. Traditional Handmade Vice for Wood Carving

for me one of the most frustrating
aspects of baking bows is holding the darn wood still whilst I work upon it
today I hope to solve that problem I've tried many ways of securing my staves
whilst working on them with draw knives and spokeshave
but none have been especially successful so today I'm going to make myself
something called a shave horse an ancient style a foot-operated vise a
shave horse is a three legged bench with a foot-operated treadle that clamps the
workpiece in place leaving the hands totally free this simple woodworking
aid has been in use for centuries in woodlands and workshops and can be
adapted to the work in hand the one I'm making will be suitable for working bow staves and I'm going to make it entirely from wood scavenged from the workshop
and also from woodland and hedgerow there are numerous types of shave horse
and you can download plans if you wish from the internet and follow these in
detail mine however is just being made from sketches I've made myself so my first job is to cut the bench to
length next the legs I'm cutting these from a
piece of deadfall ash so those are the parts that make the
bench next I'm going to cut the component parts for the foot treadle this is a piece of yew it's an off cut
from a bow stave I'm going to use this as the foot bar this is an off cut of Holly I'll use
this to make the yoke, that is a piece of wood that bears down on the workpiece I'll also use Holly to make the pegs to
act as a spindle around which the treadle will move this piece of wood needs no further work
at the moment this will be the table upon which the workpiece sits so from this piece of elm I'm gonna
cut the final piece of this shave horse from this I'm going to make the wedge so those are the major parts of my shave
horse the bench the legs the foot treadle and the work bench now I've got to start
joining them all together so my first job is to build the bench and to do that
I will be turning these pieces of ash into legs currently the ends look like this
rough and unfinished this is what I want to do to them so I've only got bow
making tools with which to shape this legs I'll be using a draw knife and a rasp this is exactly the sort of job that is
made much easier with a shape horse so the next stage is to drill three
holes in the bench which act as sockets for the legs now the legs are the shave
holes a slightly splayed not dissimilar to how the legs are set on this
workbench the correct way to set the angle is with a bevel gauge but I
haven't got one so I'm going to do this entirely by eye now I'm setting these
angles by eye but I'll put myself some guidelines on the bench just to help me so that's the shave horse bench now
finished next job is the treadle now the simplest way to understand the treadle
and clamp assembly is to imagine a short three rung ladder the bottom rung is
the foot bar the middle rung is the spindle around which the whole assembly
moves and the top rung is the clamp that holds the workpiece in place a simplest
way to make a treadle and clamp assembly is to use three dowels one for the foot
bar one for the spindle and one for the clamp but the pieces of wood I'm using
are offcuts they're slightly wonky and a little bit bent so none will make a
straight and long spindle that will pass entirely through the bench and into the
clamp assembly so I've got to use my imagination a little bit
I start by rasping a two-sided rebate in the foot bar these will slot into
sockets on the lever arms next I prepare the yoke ends to fit into
sockets I then prepare two pegs that will act as
a spindle next I drill holes in the bench and
hammer in the spindle pegs then I work on the lever arms marking
and drilling out the sockets I test fit the levers before checking
the assembly finally I make open sockets for the
footbar then it's final assembly I check the angle and height of the
table and then saw off the peg ends so that's the basic treadle clamp assembly
now put together and fitted to the bench the next and final major job is to fit
this, this is the table against which the clamp operates so I found that the
original wedge that I cut this one from Elm is not really big enough to create
the angle that I'm looking for on this table so I've made another wedge
this one's blackthorn it sits here and sets the table angle just as I'd
like it I shall be using this a piece of Hazel to make a peg or in fact two pegs
that fit through here into the bench and hold it in place
unlock it whilst the pressure is applied to the clamp to avoid the soles of my shoes slipping
on the footbar I've bound it in coarse fibred cord I've also added a pad of
soft leather to stop the yoke marking soft woods such as yew and if it needs
more I have various other thicknesses of leather to put around it so those are
the finishing touches to my Shave force let's see how well it works so although
a shave horse will be a fantastic advantage to me in the workshop it's
here in the English open woodland then I think I'll get the best and most use out
of this ancient type a foot-operated vise let's put some work on it so this
is a freshly cut piece of alder just for me to learn the technique of using a
shave horse so that's my shave horse it cost me
absolutely nothing to build except for time around about six and a half hours to
build a piece of kit that for me will be an incredible advantage during bow
making I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for watching and I'll see you next time

pexels photo 5974364

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