Shaving Horse #4: Forming the Clamp

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Blog entry by Tom posted 11-24-2020 10:08 PM 309 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Fitting the Ramp Part 4 of Shaving Horse series Part 5: Installing the Clamp and Conclusion »

The next item is to form the clamp or dumbhead. You don’t have to do it this way, especially if you are not making it from a log. You need a pretty good size chunk of wood for the clamp and arm. The overall length is about 31” from top of the head to the bottom of the arm. Another option is to make a frame clamp like a bodgers shaving horse or fit a clamp head on the arm as shown in this print from the internet:

So you have other options if you don’t have a log. I am using the outside cut from the log milling and taking advantage of the root flare at the bottom of the trunk. I laid out the overall shape on the flat side of the plank and snapped a chalk line down the center as a reference. The clamp arm is 2” wide and I will allow 6” by 6” for the clamp head. I start off by establishing the cuts with a circular saw. This does not cut all the way through but is a good start and guide the rest of the operation. Then I use a hand saw to square up the cut at the base of the clamp head. Then I flipped the piece and split out the sections along the sides of the arm.

Then I split off the waste from the sides of the clamp head and worked the arm to 2” thick. Establishing the cuts with the circular saw really helped to have a reference face for cleaning up the arm.

Next I leveled off the top of the clamp head with a circular saw cut and finished it with a hand saw (sorry, no pics). Then I shaped the back of the clamp head, mostly with a jack plane and a framing chisel.

Next I beveled off the face of the clamp head with a chisel and mallet. You can also do this with the hatchet. For me, it was easier (and safer) to work it down with the chisel. It seems like a lot, but it goes quick in the green wood, maybe 5-10 minutes. Take it down in strips that are manageable. I followed that with a bit of rounding over the sharp corners with the jack plane.

The last bit is to trim the arm to size which is 3”. Be careful that you trim the correct side of the arm so that the clamp is under the face side of the head. Oddly, it can be confusing. I ripped it with a hand saw, but you need to wedge open the kerf as you go because the green wood wants to bind up the saw.

Now I just need to cut the slots in the ramp and base to mount the clamp. Getting close now… :)

-- Tom

1 comment so far

View mafe's profile


12844 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 11-25-2020 01:27 AM

Lovely head for that horse.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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