Saddling My Horse

Through a strange sequence of events and serious risk to my health and wellbeing, I was able to work at my shaving horse for several hours yesterday.  Sounds great and it was, but the back-of-my-front is pretty dang sore today.  I have a good bit of work yet to do at the horse so a remedy for comfort was now top priority.

Let me back up a bit.  A while back I built my shaving horse using Jeanie Alexander’s plans that can be found on the Greenwoodworking site.  I remember that the plans mentioned something about a sliding seat…I won’t need that.  I was waaaay wrong.  Way wrong!

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Straddling a board, for hours on end, takes a toll on the backside.  So I did a little research on my lunch hour today.  I wanted to see what the folks who make a living using a shaving horse do for a seat.  The general consensus is that you need one, it should be tilted forward slightly and cushy is a good thing.

As soon as I got home this evening I went straight to the shop to see what I could come up with.  My plan was to make a seat with two guide rails that would slide along the main beam of the horse.  I came up with a piece of plywood and a few bits of pine.  I sketched a simple seat shape on the plywood and went to work.

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To achieve a slight forward tilt, I planed a piece of pine into a wedge shape.

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I sawed the rough shape of the seat and refined the shape with a plane and sandpaper.

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Assembly was simple.  The wedge was glued and nailed in place.  The two 2x guide rails were glued and screwed.

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To get the cushy, I used the last bits of my upholstery foam and a piece of black vinyl.

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I have to say, it is very comfortable and I cant wait to put it to use.  To keep the seat from sliding when in use, I simply cut a small square of shelf liner to put between the seat and rail.  It locks the seat down solid.

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Anyway, just a quick little project and public service announcement. Saddle your horse, trust me!

Oh yeah, the risk to my health and wellbeing.  Yesterday the shop was cold and I was home alone, management was at work.  So I took it upon myself to move the whole shaving horse operation into the house on the nice warm sun porch.

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I did put down a couple pieces of ply to protect the carpet.  Anyway, management took it pretty well and working on the sun porch is now sanctioned.  Who woulda’ thunk it?

Greg Merritt

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7 Responses to Saddling My Horse

  1. Salko Safic says:

    This is the shaving horse I’ve seen with a comfortable seat, you should get into the upholstery business.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Thanks Salko. It turned out pretty decent for a quick two hour project. I enjoy the upholstery work, but barely have a clue as to what I’m doing.

      • Salko Safic says:

        Seems to me like you do bro, give yourself more credit because you bloody well deserve it. I wouldn’t hesitate in giving you work if I was living there and a chair maker.

  2. Derek Long says:

    Very simple solution and looks comfortable. I second Salko on your upholstery skills. You do nice, neat work, Greg.

  3. Richard Bingham says:

    Very neat seat. I have used a shave horse since 1979 making Sussex Trugs without a soft seat life would have been painfull. even for a short time a soft seat is good.
    The tongue ofyour horse looks short, if longer would it not suport the work piece better, less force downwards?

    • Greg Merritt says:

      The soft seat is a welcome addition, that is for sure.

      The tongue was made from the longest piece I had laying about the shop at the time. So far, it is working just fine. If I have need to work on thinner stock, I may need to change it out for a longer version.

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