Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices

That often-promised book that never materialised...is now here! After at least three years of work and a lifetime’s experience of making and using these traditional devices, Shaving Horse, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices is now on sale, at www.seanhellman.com



It is a resource for anyone  wishing to make and use these simple but effective devices, and to participate in an enduring and worthy tradition. Whether a complete novice or accomplished professional, Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices has much to offer: effective woodworking techniques, use of specific hand-tools, ergonomics, and a range of 13 different work-holding devices, either shaving horses or cleaving breaks, and including traditional and contemporary versions of these designs. There is also a section on drawknives and how to use, sharpen and renovate them.

The book is published by Crafty Little Press, a new publishing company set up by Lucy (my wife) and myself, for the purpose of printing and distributing this current title and other books we have planned. So, last week, we collected a ton of books from our local printer, Short Run Press, itself a business with a great reputation and a winner of environmental awards for good business practice. Being local, both collection and personal communication are easy, and we have avoided using lorry-space and consequent fuel by not carrying books across the country or from abroad. The ethos of supporting local economy wherever possible, is important to us, more so than investing in a cheaper product that travels across continents, or from countries which have little or no environmental regulation or employment rights.

You can buy Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices primarily from my website or from Crafty Little Press,  www.seanhellman.com and at woodworking events where we are present; it is also available from the Woodsmith Experience and Woodland Craft Supplies. We are also currently seeking to extend distribution outlets here in the UK, and in the USA, or elsewhere. Please let us know if you would like to wholesale from us.

I offer a huge and grateful thank you to all those who have contributed to the book, to everyone who inspired it in any way, and all those who have helped make this work possible.
130 pages and over 400 photos and diagrams.



Here is a short video made by Harry Rogers at the Bodger Ball this year



Sunday, 19 June 2016

Forget your saws use an axe instead

I spent the day with Richard Devaney at the Saxon village at Escot house in Devon. He was hosting an APT local group get together. As he is recreating Saxon life he does not do saws and hates it when others leave the evidence of the saw in the material.
Not using a saw means that wood has a very different end cut to it. This end cut is usually very tactile, visually appealing and organic in its  form. I will have to try working without a saw more.


Detail of diagonal supports on a pole lathe



Above and below, the worn and polished poppet heads




Ends can be rough and ready or rounded off

Pole lathe with a new bed and legs



Roof of one of the open barns

I have more photos up on my Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/seanhellman/

Friday, 18 December 2015

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Pinch dogs

I have various pinch dogs in the workshop and they only get used when I need to fix a piece of round wood, beam, bowl blank or plank in place when sawing, drilling or carving. I am yet to make or buy big ones as used in timber framing, and have easily got by with small ones only a couple of inches or so long. I am over cautious at times, and the idea of using such small dogs to hold such large pieces of wood is not something I would have considered until I had too because they where all I had to hand. As can be seen in the video they do work very well. I bought these years ago, second hand, and they are just mild steel. Great if they get bent as they can be hammered back into shape.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sods law

I plan my year out with shows at easy intervals and what happens? A few big commission jobs come my way and throw everything into chaos. Running low on stock and then having to work between shows on these commissions. Lots of things have had to be put on hold, for example my shave horse book. It has been written, but as I am self publishing it takes a lots of time laying it out in Indesign, a program I am still slowly learning.With any luck it may be published in time for christmas. Tool making is also on hold, but I have made the first prototype of my perfect drawknife.



The Easy Rider shave horse is having a good reception and I have sold a few already. Full detailed plans will be in the book along with plans on how to make 6 other types of shave horse. Lots of techniques about how to use tools and make almost unknown joints etc.


In other news I became a pin up boy. Peter Jameson (Auctioneer at the Bodgers Ball) who can be seen craftily staring at me in in flat cap from behind Sue, somehow obtained a photo of me and my unusually full wallet ( probably receipts from tool buying). He wrote some apparently witty comment about me below the photo. Sue Holden unfortunately was the only person to bid on lot number 2 and won it for a sum I will not disclose. Talking to Sue's partner, Will, it seem that the only pins holding it up will be darts!
For a bit more info on the Bodgers Ball see Marks blog                                            


The proper way of boiling a kettle, photo taken at the Weald and Downland wood fair partly organised by my good friend Mark Allery, seen here on his shave horse making an English scythe snathe.

I was shown the museums collection of tools with Simon, I particularly liked this hand powered bandsaw. A very blunt blade and no tracking adjustment so 2 of the wheels had rims on to stop the blade from slipping off.