The earth didn’t move for me, but the knives did!

The perils of demonstrating the shave horse in front of 50 people.  On Tuesday evening I did a demo for the West Riding Woodturners Group in Eldwick.  My little talk went OK, the log splitting drew a few gasps as usual, but not as big a one as when one of the back legs of the shave horse gave way shortly after starting to shave a billet.  No damage done, fortunately despite the hard floor.  For the second half I removed the remaining rear leg and sat the rear of the horse on my 3-legged chopping block.  ALthough slightly precarious this enabled me to complete the evening with turning a Windsor chair leg etc.

So first thing yesterday was spent fixing the said leg so David and I could work up some bow blanks for some firewood carriers.

Drilled out the old tenon – the failure was just where you might expect, where the tenon enters the underside of the horse bed and the diameter changes, obviously too suddenly in this case.  The legs were also pretty high as they normally sink into the shavings quite a way at the normal office.  So I reused the old legs but shorter, and shaved down the area before the tenon.

I used the stock knife stock (bench) as temporary rear leg, and used the rounder plane to work up the tenons.

I didn’t used to get on with the rounder plane at all well, but since I set the blade properly, and realised it cuts worse rather than better if forced, I find it pretty good, and a little more in keeping with the office set up than the wholly reliable Veritas power tenon cutter.

I would have made 1 1/2″ tenons, but I didn’t have the right auger with me (the joys of bringing all tools to site and taking them away every night).  That would have been a good thing, as later that day BOTH back legs broke on David.  What?  The old legs had been fine for about 6 months, and now they’re suddenly totally unreliable.  More shaving and now even shorter legs.  Seems more stable – fingers crossed.

Apart from demos, logging, and log carriers, I’m building up stock ready for Spring and Summer (rather a sales dessert at this present time of year).  Drew Langser has set a challenge to design butter spreaders that he will exhibit here, so I’m having a shot at developing my own style.  Here are the unfinished results so far:

The development is from early (left) to recent (right).  The last one is the odd man out as I was short of space for the handle on the board where I’d set four of them out.  I’m using birch from the tree I cut a couple of weeks ago.  It is very wet so I’ll put the finishing touches to the surface once they’re dry.

Andy Coates had an interesting post about how design works.  I’m afraid I don’t have any thoughts to offer on this process, but I do find it interesting how different spreaders are coming out of the same basic pattern that I’m drawing round to develop.  It reminds me of an early BBC computer program where you were able to mimic selective breeding of bugs.

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