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Build A Shaving Horse Aug 6-7

On the weekend of August 6 and 7th, Garfield Farm Museum will offer a 2 day class on building a shaving horse bench from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Students may make a bench to take home for $180 or build one for the museum's use for $60 class fee. Shaving horses are simple benches that were key to any woodworking and construction of 150 years ago. To this day they are important for any craftsman who works with draw knives or spoke shaves to build furniture, wooden tools, or building parts from shingles to pegs.

A shaving horse is essentially a foot operated vice. Sitting on the bench, the woodworker places the piece of wood to be worked under the drumhead of the bench. Using one's feet to depress the foot peddle below the bench, the piece being worked is thus clamped securely under the head.

Using a drawknife that is shaped like a flat bottomed letter 'U', a worker pulls the knife toward one's self cutting away or 'shaving' the piece. A rough piece of wood could thus be rounded into a peg for timber framing, a ladder-back chair leg or tool handle.

Past participants have made benches that they then brought back to the museum to use when they took other woodworking classes. Individuals who want to learn how to make the bench but not keep it, may construct one for a $60 fee that will be used in future museum classes and projects.

The class will include admission to the museum's August 7th Antique Tool Show and Sale. Advanced reservations are required for the class and class size is limited. For information call (630) 584-8485 or email

Garfield Farm Museum is being restored as an 1840s working farm museum. It is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road.

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.

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