Saturday, February 4, 2012


I had a great email exchange with Brian Boggs (who designed the shavehorse in my last post) about the suggestions and issues that I had regarding the design. I knew setting out that some of the intended advantages of the horse were based on the type of work that it was meant for, but I was surprised to hear some of his response. With Brian's consent, here is a portion of his response.

"Pete...Funny to see my horse design so many places.  I don't know if you have seen the article I wrote about it in FWW years ago. It's available on line if you are a member of the online forum thingy. There are a lot of things I mention in the article about how to build the horse to fit your body. Most folks don't do that, but follow the given numbers instead. That extension of the lower jaw in front of the upper jaw is an important part of how I use a horse.  I do a fair bit of end grain finishing on the horse and the downward pressure I give it requires that extension.  If it is in the way by all means lop it off, but I find that man people have changed the design without understanding why it is made the way it is and often don't understand what they are doing.
For various work demands I have envisioned a few different interchangeable lower jaws.  They pull right out in a second so you could have a few different models with different angles or whatever your needs demand.  I have wanted one that has an adjustable stop in the front so I can shave short stuff.  With this design the top jaw pushes the pin against
the front stop much like a bench dog system holds work.  This allows full exposure of short stuff, nothing hidden under the jaw.
I was not expecting schools to have them, but in this case adjustable foot bars would be a great addition to the adjustable seat.  I personally like the horse to be as tall as I can mount to increase the leverage with a longer pivot.
       I always like hearing new ideas about tool design, especially from fresh perspectives like yours.  You made some good suggestions. Too often the ideas come out of being stuck in one mindset and unwilling to open up to something one isn't used to."

I wanted to share this because I was pleased to hear that my ideas weren't too cranky, and to offer an example of a craftsman with an open and inquisitive mindset.
I initially hesitated to write the original post for the simple reason that it's uncomfortable to speak to another's design, but Brian's gracious response put it all in the right order.
Thanks Brian!


Terry Kelly said...

Is the design of the Aussie horses Boggs' or Drew's? I built one according to Drew's plans, actually Tom Donahey (sp). I like mine but it does hurt my back after awhile, may be too high. How you been?

Glen Rundell said...

Hey Pete,
have really enjoyed the past couple of posts. It's great to hear from Brian about why he designed the horse jaws for specific tasks. To be honest, we made all 13 of those horses just from one photocopy of a page given to us by Curtis Buchanan, without any real concept of the 'engineering or ergonomics' of the thing. The process is ever evolving and that's a terrific thing. My next horse, won't have the hoof but will have a dumb head! Cheers Glen

Peter Galbert said...

Good to hear from you, all is well here, how's the family?

Peter Galbert said...

I was fascinated to hear brains response, perhaps I'm not nuts after all!
Have you gotten another rodent for Tom?

R Francis said...

article at least, joint authorship, please, somewhere accessible with drawings to supplement Brian's original article. Put both brains together, yours and his.

Glen Rundell said...

Hey mate. The new improved model arrives on Saturday, from the farmers market. I'm fashioning a miniature helmet and kevlar vest for him as we speak!

Ray Schwanenberger said...

Pete, thanks for the great posts. I use Brian's style shavehorse and have thought about some design changes to better fit me, one being the lower jaw. I have thought about making another shorter one as you have described and now I'm convinced. I had occasion to approach Brian at WIA last fall and also found him to be very approachable and gracious with information and thought provoking ideas that have influenced the way I build my chairs. Thanks again for your blog.

Terry Kelly said...


All is well here as well. Father/daughter dance on Friday which should be fun. Take care,

Peter Galbert said...

something tells me that Brian has his hands full! Besides, I'll always maintain that the ol standby dumbhead is the best shavehorse you can build!

Thanks Ray, I do think that a couple of dedicated inserts would go a long way towards improving the design.

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