We decided to present you a shaving horse plan which proved very well in the practice, and which differs from most shaving horse plans we have seen so far.

When machines and power tools entered the workshops, some of the hand tools were almost completely pushed out of the use. This was also the case with shaving horse tool that once was an indispensable tool for carpenters, bodgers (chair makers), bowyers (bows makers) and coopers (barrel makers). The shaving horse is nowadays being used mostly by enthusiasts that still almost all the things make by hands (peeling rafters and purlins, to shape spindles for turning, chair legs, barrel staves, shingles, and the like), but this tool is also used by some specific crafts, like the guitar making – for making the neck of a guitar, and also for the rustic furniture manufacture or for green woodworking. Shaving horse can even today be a useful tool, because it has a wide range of use, especially if your type of work is based on small series. There are many designs of shaving horse, and each of them is used for some specific purpose. It is usually used with a drawknife or spokeshave, but can be adapted for use with other hand tools.


Shaving horse plan
Project type
Project difficulty
Medium, requires experience
Skill level
for intermediate experienced woodworker
Level of workshop equipment
Hobby – Hand tools, power tools and machines
Applied woodworking joints
Keyed mortise and tenon joint
Wedged round mortise and tenon joint
Sliding dovetail joint

W 390mm (15.34'') x L 1740mm (68.5'') x H 962mm (37.87'')


A shaving horse is an old woodworking tool used to hold a workpiece in a place while it is worked by a cutting tool such as spokeshave or drawknife. It holds slats, posts and rungs for shaving and drawknifing. Shaving horse is basically a workbench for shaping with a drawknife or spokeshave. Shaving horse consists out of the bench, on which the woodworker sits; the pedal operated clamp, whose function is to fasten the workpiece and the legs to support the shaving horse while it is being shaved. Pedal operated clamp part consists out of one platform (to support the work-piece while it is being shaved) and a swinging arm (pushed by the woodworker feet so as to grip the work-piece tight against the platform).

You can make the shaving horse out of the different types of wood, like durable hardwoods (oak, ash, elm, birch, beech, hickory, walnut, cherry...) or durable softwood (Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock, southern yellow or red pine...). We recommend a hard wood for making parts which have contact with the workpiece, so it would not wear during the work, and the rest of the parts can be made out some heavy wood, so the tool construction will provide a solid stability during the work. Of course, if you need the light tool (for portable shaving horse), you can make it out of the light durable wood.


Exploded view and parts list
Shaving horse plan - Parts list
Assembly drawing
Shaving horse plan (Version 1) - Assembly drawing
Shaving horse plan (Version 2) - Assembly drawing

Shaving horse is primarily a shop build tool, which is hard to find in the tool stores. Because of that, there are so many variations in its design. There are many good shaving horse plans that can be found on the internet and in woodworking books. If you make it properly, it will certainly last for a very long time. By manufacturing this shaving horse you will get one cheap, durable, practical, and comfortable tool, which will help you to manually overcome various work problems. Construction of this shaving horse is very simple, there are no complicated woodworking joints, and you can make it easily with the common tools, such as drill, saw... While it is possible to follow these shaving horse plans using only hand tools, a bandsaw and tablesaw  are recommended. These plans and instructions assume an intermediate level of woodworking skills. If you are interested to see how the shaving horse is being used, you can watch this video by Mr. Collin Riley, where he explains how he made and how he is using the shaving horse, made according to our plan for manufacturing the necks of acoustic guitars.

Finished shaving horse - How to use (VIDEO)


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Download project (high resolution images)

Submitted by Ceh Jan