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And the finished horses; well I might put a coat of something on them but they will do as they are just fine. I’m sure these will last me for the rest of my woodworking days.
A really nice and simple build. Paul’s video showing the two stage process for marking and cutting first the the housings and then the leg tops just made it so simple but then if you think about it the 5″ and 9″ measurements for housing and leg splay respectively just splay the leg 5-inch in each direction (as the top timber is 4″) so you could easily use the same basis to make the splay smaller or larger or adjust the 9″ a bit if your top timber is something other than 4″.
I had to be careful to make sure that there was no buried nails in the reused stock, especially the older pieces. A couple of broken off rusty nails were deep in the timber and could not be removed simply so I used a punch to drive them well down below the surface and made sure they were away from any planned cutting locations.
I had several different era’s of wood to work, all different softwoods with a significant variance in density. The older wood being much more satisfying to work with than the newest. In fact I had one leg from a current era pressure treated roof timber that was really poor to work due to soft fibers.
I built mine entirely on a Black and Decker workbench using the following items:
1. Black and Decker Workbench (with two plastic dogs fitted in different holes at various times)
2. Knife (for knife wall)
3. Pencil (for everything else)
4. Square + adjustable bevel for marking the housings
5. Single point marking gauge
6. 10″ Tenon Saw (for the housing cuts) – I’ve had this since a teenager so it was blunt. I brought it back to life in 30mins by following Paul’s saw sharpening video using a bacho double ended saw file.
7. 22″ S&J panel saw for all the other cuts. One I picked up on ebay for less than a fiver last week!
8. No 4 plane (Used for the rougher work including the initial planing of the rough sawn stock)
9. Stanley Bailey smoothing plane – I really only used this for finishing off right at the end of the build and I could have done it with the No. 4)
10. No. 5 1/2 Jack Plane – I used this only a little bit when preparing the top timbers but didn’t really need it.
11. 3/4″ chisel plus a 1 1/4″ one for paring off in the base of the housings and tidying up the leg cuts. I also used the 3/4″ chisel set on edge to mark the leg top offset cut lines. This made my legs sit a little deeper into the housings than Paul’s version.
12. A single Irwin Quick Grip clamp. Useful towards the end for holding the complete horse down on the workbench to saw the legs and to cut the gussets.
13. PVA glue. I rubbed sawdust off the floor into all the leg joint glue lines to clean off excess glue and help hide a couple of slight joint gaps.
14. Cordless Drill with 3mm and 5mm drill bits plus countersinking bit (I used slotted steel wood screws I had on the shelf – bit smaller and shorter than the ones Paul uses in the video but the full depth of the thread was doing its job so I was happy)
15. Radio with Classic FM – You have to have something good to listen to when doing work in the windowless garage!
16. Working below a new 1.5m long LED Batten low profile 45W light – loads of light from one but need to fit another to help reduce shadows.
One tip, on the first horse I cut the housing lines off pencil marks rather than the the knife wall and hence I didn’t get a tight fit on a couple. So as I had stock of slightly different sizes I selected a couple from the second horse that fitted better and then used the discarded ones on the other horse, for which I had not yet cut the housings.
One other thing I did differently was chopping out the housing waste perpendicular to the housing rather than along it as Paul does in the video. I did this because my old softer wood was quite crumbly and the chisel was breaking out big lumps. I had better control of these lumps when coming in from the side and no overbreaking beyond the gauge lines.
This was my only my second proper hand woodworking project in nearly 40 years (the first being at O’level in school). I did a woodworking course with Ciarán Ó Braonáin at Cheshire Woodworking last month and built a coffee table which has spurred me on to get back on the tools again. Next up will be a proper Paul Sellers inspired workbench, again from recycled timbers, some of which are large – hence the need for the saw horses first!