Oak Tree to Shave Horse #1: In the beginning, I cut down a tree...

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Blog entry by NinjaAssassin posted 11-15-2014 03:48 AM 3929 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Oak Tree to Shave Horse series Part 2: A little more progress »

I referenced this in another blog but thought it deserved its own.

My back yard had 2 young trees growing right up against the back fence (literally about a 12 or so inches from the fence). In 2013 I cut down the smaller of the two, a poplar, with the only tools I had on hand that would work – a husqvarna carpenter’s axe and a cheap combination hand saw from Lowe’s:

The tree wasn’t more than maybe 8 inches in diameter just above the root flare but it was a chore to cut down with those tools. Last weekend I cut the other tree down, an oak (no idea what kind), that was about 10-12 inches just above the root flare with the same tools. The oak was pretty straight so I decided to use it to finally build a shave horse.

The log’s length is a little more than 10 feet and mostly clear (on the outside)...

Felling that thing was no quick or easy task but it fell where I planned without incident. After it was down, I cut it about three inches or so below the first branches to get what you see above. That thing is heavy. By the time I had done that, the wife and kids had returned from church so my “fun” was done for the day. A couple days later, in the evening after work I got out a cheap hatchet, some splitting wedges, the Lowe’s saw and my sledge hammer. I cut a 5 foot length off of the log and set to split it. You can’t tell in that picture but the pith is off center and the log is actually a bit ovular. I used the hatchet and a small hand sledge to score a line across the widest points which, fortunately, was in the same plane as the pith then used my wedges to split that thing open. It was nowhere near as easy as it looks when people split larger logs on YouTube videos. Either that or I’m a sissy. Anyway, after taking much longer and using much more energy than anticipated, this is what I had…

The log was pretty straight to a little more than half way down. From that point to the bottom it had a slight twist. Either that or there was a weaker area in the grain that the split followed. Anyway, I’m very satisfied with it. A couple days ago, I picked out the side that would be the bench, got out the drawknife and cleaned up its face a bit. I didn’t have much time to work on it so that’s all I got done…

Tonight (Friday), I made some more progress. I took a 25-ish inch piece I cut from the same tree, cut off a 20 inch length and, with froe and beetle in hand, I rived it into 4 pieces for legs…

Then this (the piece on the left is my beetle)...

became this…

This was my first time successfully riving with my froe. It was pretty cool being able to control the split to keep the pieces more or less even.

Once the leg pieces were rived out, I used my carpenter’s axe and drawknife to shape the legs (I didn’t get any pictures of that process, sorry). I didn’t spend a ton of time making them pretty. I cleaned them up a little bit, then worked down the tenon to about an inch. Next, I took my brace and 1 inch auger bit and bored out three holes, two in the rear and one in the front (no pictures of this, either). That wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Then, I fit the legs to the bench…

And that’s where I’m at. I still have a ways to go but I’m making progress.

-- Billy

4 comments so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2974 days

#1 posted 11-15-2014 11:44 AM

That looks like a lot of fun. You’ll have a great shave horse when you’re done.

“It was nowhere near as easy as it looks when people split larger logs on YouTube videos.”

I’m pretty sure it never is as easy as it looks. People either edit out the hard part, or they’re already good at it or in good shape to do it more easily.

View NinjaAssassin's profile


656 posts in 2737 days

#2 posted 11-15-2014 12:19 PM

Hey Tim. Yep, it’s a whole lot of fun making this thing.

Yeah, I think it’s a combination of being somewhat difficult and me being out of shape.

Thanks for reading.

-- Billy

View AnthonyReed's profile


10164 posts in 3453 days

#3 posted 11-15-2014 03:20 PM

Great progress and it is looking great.

Thanks for taking the time to share your work.

-- ~Tony

View NinjaAssassin's profile


656 posts in 2737 days

#4 posted 11-16-2014 02:36 AM

Thanks Tony

-- Billy

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