Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Using a shaving horse.

Today we are blogging about using a shaving horse. Many people have never heard of a shaving horse, much less seen one. It's a very old tool used for holding wood still while you shave or carve it, like a clamp. The shaving horse's pressure on the wood can be released in an instant by taking your foot off the lever below. A clamp, on the other hand, requires you to stop what you are doing to change the position of your work. Above, Dustin is preparing to peel the poles to our canvas camping tent. This would be a very tedious job if he had to use only a work table and clamps.

All these poles need to be debarked or water and insects will get under the bark and rot the wood.

The tool Dustin is holding is called a draw knife. It is an ideal tool for using with a shaving horse. A traditional use was for "shaving" wooden shingles ( also called "shakes") down to a proper thickness. They are actually a very versatile pair of tools that can be used for a myriad of applications.

 The draw knife is pulled toward the body with a controlled motion. As Dustin moves down the pole he will slide it past him at an angle so he can continue peeling it. When one half is done, he will turn it around and start on the second half.

Working with hand tools gives a person the opportunity to feel, concentrate on, and appreciate his work in a way that is hardly possible with modern power tools and equipment. It becomes easier to understand the level of workmanship that was seen in the past once you have begun to use and trust your own hands.