MaFeSan shaving horse #1: Folding travel version - building as I go.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-31-2019 12:50 PM 1290 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of MaFeSan shaving horse series Part 2: Details and more - the final knock down »

Folding travel version
building as I go…

Time for riding horses again or at least building another shaving horse, this time a travel version, that can be folded up and brought with you, or just stored away for later use, without taking up too much space.

I will be making a spoon mule top for it in a later blog, so it can have several uses.

Here I am on the shaving horse.
I made it relatively short and low, so I could keep the weight and size at a minimum, so if you are taller than 185cm, then you might want to make it a little longer and higher.

The drawing is in mm, thats how we do working drawings, here in Denmark.

The blog:
Its not really a how to blog, since I just build it one day, where I was inspired and did not take pictures until I was aware of where it was going.
So I took a bunch of detail pictures after and even made a drawing with measures, so that anyone interested can make a copy, or use for inspiration.

Press here to print or save a highres version:

The project started one day, where I took the trash down, from my apartment.
One of the neighbours had trashed some 2×4s and I took them to the shop, for absolutely no reason, except that I found it a shame, that it would be thrown out
For some time the wood then stood there and looked at me, until I suddenly did not see the wood, but I saw a foldable shaving horse looking at me…, hmmm I must have gone Mad(s)!

The inspiration comes from many seen on the big www, but my main inspiration was the one by Bob Gillis here: remember seeing that and thinking; hmmmm that’s clever!
Thank you Bob.

Suddenly I found my self on the floor, clamping wood together and the project had taken off.
Here the front leg are being thought out, three leg, since its a stable construction on uneven ground and it will take less space in the horse.

Here the back legs, the two 2×4’s were screwed together and the rabbet for stabilizing the back legs could be cut.
The rabbet is cut with a backward angle to make the horse stand solid on its legs, the outward angle, will be cut on the legs.

Removing some wood in a Japanese way ok at least with Japanese tools.

And an Englishman to route out the rabbet.

A hole for attaching the legs.

Now trying out different angles, to see where I will find it stable.
When I had that, it was just a cut, in the legs, I made them a little longer than the rabbet, so the top could be cut flush with the horse and the wedge shape will be strong.
(This might not make sense, so look at the pictures to understand).

For attaching the legs and making them collapsible, I needed holes, that were going from straight, to the angle of the legs.
Like this.

And this.

Cut out for a straight angle, when the bolts comes to hold the legs.

The holes are joined, so the bolt can tilt.

This is how it looks, hope it all makes sense now.
I imagine you were lost for a while…

Next up is the classic leg cut.
Put some scrap wood under the shortest leg, until the horse levels up.
Then some scraps under your pencil and draw a line, all the way around the leg, this is where you will saw after.

Do the same on the other legs.

Ok a lot happened, since last pictures, as I said I were building, not thinking of a blog.
So lets catch up:
Seat were cut out from a piece of wood, app 25mm / 1 inch thick.
The work surface (slope / ramp, what ever its called) was cut from a plank and a piece of 2X4 put under it, screwed from the top.
Finally a piece of 2×4 between the 2×4 beams, to add stability (the length and placement of this piece, can be set when the work surface is made).

This is the piece that goes under the work surface, a series of holes are drilled for lifting the surface wit a dowel.

Here dowels for the leg vice.

Think it all makes more sense here (also my terible blow out on the dtrilling- lol).
At the front, you can see how the leg is attached at the lower part, so it can tilt up under the horse. On top of it is a spacer and stop block, this holds the leg in the right angle.
The working surface has a hinge under it, in the front, so it can be set at an angle and closed all the way down.
The work surface lifter has a dowel in one of the holes, this will hold it in place.
Finally I got a piece of 2×2 on top, for the first vice leg.

We jump in time again, now the legs are almost made.
The holes in the middle goes on to the dowels on the side of the horse, the rounded end is where the foot rests are mounted, so the distance between these are set, by the distance to the floor.
The two holes on top are for the hold, these are set by trying out, lifting and lowering the work surface, to see what angles will be needed.
You should set it for a comfortable position of your back.
The reason I made two holes is to hold small and large items.

Here I clamped a board to the work surface, to plane a small hollow down the center, this is for getting a good hold on long thin items, since Im planning on some long bow building in the future.

My little hand made plane comes in use here.

Finally here we are!
This is how the back side looks when folded together.


And finally the front.
Yes I know I jumped again, but Ill post photos of the details, so you can figure it out.

I’ll stop for today, with some pictures of my friend Flemming trying the horse out, he passed the shop and we decided it was test time, so we brought it out for some playing arround.

I hope now all the details are better understood, sorry for this mess of a blog, hope the drawing make up for it. ;-D
Only thing I’m not all happy for, is the front leg should have more angle, I might change that, just for stability, but it actually feels perfectly stable like it is.

Here you can see it can be useful, to use the higher holes for the hold, when working thicker pieces.

Thank you for now, I’ll be back soon, with more details and even a video or two. ;-)

Links for other horses I build:
Traditional shaving horse – One wild shaving horse:
Saving leg, for the workbench:

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or a ride on your own shaving horse…

Best thoughts,


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

11 comments so far

View PPK's profile


1412 posts in 1204 days

#1 posted 05-31-2019 01:00 PM

Mafe, you sure have been busy lately!!
Nice work. I’ve never needed a shaving horse, but thought it would be so cool to have one.

-- Pete

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22708 posts in 3500 days

#2 posted 05-31-2019 01:06 PM

Very nicely design tool! You will get a lot of use out of it!!

cheers, My friend!!.............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View pottz's profile (online now)


5322 posts in 1379 days

#3 posted 05-31-2019 02:24 PM

havn’t had the need for one yet but if i do ill be back to visit this.nice work as usual and love all the pic’s.thanks mafe.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


16131 posts in 3013 days

#4 posted 05-31-2019 02:46 PM

Cool! Best use of 2x material I’ve seen in a long time! Love all the pictures, and the blog made me smile! Thanks!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Druid's profile


2079 posts in 3190 days

#5 posted 05-31-2019 06:03 PM

Very nicely done and well explained. Thanks for posting. ;)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3772 posts in 977 days

#6 posted 05-31-2019 08:36 PM

Nice job, Mads! Good to see you so busy lately. It seems like a very good spring for you!

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View lew's profile


12775 posts in 4150 days

#7 posted 06-01-2019 12:33 PM

Awesome build, Mads!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View robscastle's profile


6164 posts in 2599 days

#8 posted 06-03-2019 08:55 AM

Certainly looks like fun work in more ways than one.
I am curious, behind you in the courtyard is what looks like a 3 wheel bike is it yours?

-- Regards Rob

View Brit's profile


7689 posts in 3238 days

#9 posted 06-09-2019 07:09 AM

Hi Mads – Just catching up. Life is fast and furious at the moment. This is a great design and one that I haven’t seen before. When I make mine it will be a folding version so I was really interested to see some of the details, especially how you tackled the splaying and folding of the rear legs. My mind went straight into design mode as soon as I started reading your blog. LOL.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10615 posts in 4447 days

#10 posted 06-12-2019 04:50 AM

What a GREAT shaving horse!

GIDDIUP! ... and away we go… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View mafe's profile


12069 posts in 3484 days

#11 posted 06-12-2019 11:29 PM

Hi there,

I’m back from a wonderful week in Rome.
Plenty of horses there…

PPK, yes I have been catching up, or trying to. Still many unposted blogs. How can we talk tools and need? ;-D Wan’t should be plenty of reason. Thanks.
Jim, smiles Jim, I also think it will be a shop favorite.
pottz, thank you so much. Read comment above.
smitty, so happy I made you smile. Not just 2×4, but recycled 2×4. :-)
Druid, happy my blog was understandable after all. Thanks.
Dave, it is a wonderful spring, thank you. Life sure smiles at me. Some of the blogs are older, just never posted them, due to time.

robcastle, no it’s not mine, I have a Christania cykel on the picture. Copenhagen is full of these three wheels. It was great fun building and using the horse.
Brit, wonderful that you got into design mode, this is what it’s all about. Write me if you need details I forgotten. The back legs are held in place with a little hook on each side. Write me if it’s not clear. Thanks. Happy to hear you are fine and busy.
Joe, yeeeeaaaaahaaaaa… ;-)
Best of my thoughts,

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

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