Shaving Horse & Drawknife Basics

Traditional chairmaking starts with a shaving horse and a drawknife. Used with both green and dried wood, woodworkers have relied on these two tools for centuries. Simple to use, there are just a few things to be aware of before getting to work. In this short video, Windsor chairmaker Elia Bizzarri gives a valuable overview of what features are important when choosing a shaving horse and talks about proper grip, orientation and motion when using a drawknife.

For chairmakers, a shaving horse and drawknife are almost mandatory, but I’ve started thinking of the many times these two tools would be more useful than a clumsy vise on a workbench. Able to shift a workpiece’s position by moving your foot seems like a great idea. And you’ve got a place to sit down! But don’t think this is easy work…if you’ve been looking for a workout a shaving horse will replace your stationary bike!

Spend a few minutes with Elia and see if he can’t spark your interest.

– David Thiel

p.s. If you enjoyed learning about the shaving horse and drawknife, you may find Elia’s Octagonal Table a fascinating project that takes shaving skills to the next level.