Shaving Horse Tapered Leg

Creating a tapered leg joint for the shaving horse

Shaving Horse

Step by step procedure


This is how I create the legs for my shaving horse so that they don't fall out and don't loosen up.  It's also, generally, how the legs and other spindles are created for chairs such as ladderbacks, windsors, etc.  It is a tapered joint created so that the tenon and the mortise only tighten up with use.

This is how I pack up one of my shaving horses.  I wrap a rope around the bundle and go.
Showing the tapered holes (they don't go all the way through the seat) and the tapered leg.  As you can see, it doesn't require much of a taper at all.  Very slight.  I formed the leg taper by just using the drawknife.
Here's the tapered reamer that I made for my chairs and stools.  Basically, it's just a compass saw blade with the teeth (mostly) ground off.  I made a wooden holder for it on the pole lathe and cut a slit for the blade to fit into.  This keeps the blade stiff enough to do its work and also gives me a t-handle on top to grip and turn with.
Blade going into it's holder.
As you can see, it doesn't require much of the blade peeking out on each side to work.  You can also see that the teeth aren't completely ground off either.  Actually, it seems to work better this way rather than grinding the teeth completely off.
There's the handle where you grip it to do the turning of the tapered reamer in the pre-drilled hole.  The basic design (a scraper blade with a slight taper and some kind of t-handle on top so you can turn the blade in the hole) is what the tapered reamer is like for the holes I made for the shaving horse.
First, I drilled a hole at the angle and depth that I wanted with a forstner bit.
Then I took a short piece of 1/4" thick steel and ground the sides to a slight taper.  The hole that I drilled for this shaving horse is 2".  I made a taper at the end of about 1 3/4" up to just over 2" wide to fit that hole size.  I left the little burrs on the sides where I ground it so that they will do some work in scraping the hole to the taper I need.  I drilled the hole at the top so I could slip a steel rod in there to grip (a t-handle) and turn the tapered reamer in the hole.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the steel rod when I was taking the pictures.  Just slowly turn the reamer to scrape out the taper needed.
I then form the same taper on the leg.