Peter Galbert, chair maker, has come up with a new shave horse design, I have just made one and I am very impressed with it. One of my main problems with these tools is the time it takes to change the height of the head so that I can use smaller or larger billets of wood. In the past if I was shaving a largish bit of wood and then needed to do small spindles then my legs would be at full stretch. With the Smarthead horse, as Peter calls it, I just need to pull the head forward and click it into a new position on the internal ratchet. Moving it backwards to have a greater mouth opening is just as easy.
I have had to thin down and wax the internal components as they were a bit stiff. I do wonder how it will operate if kept outside or in wet conditions. I suppose if everything is made a bit looser and it should be okay, make it out of oak and it should last well outside.
The other great thing about this design is that it may be able to be retro fitted to your existing horse.
Peter has a whole series of videos and even full scale plans, all free, on his blog at http://chairnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/smarthead-shavehorse.html
The Smarthead horse is fun and satisfying to make and suits my style of working perfectly.
It will be going on tour with me at the shows I attend, Exeter Craft festival, Spoonfest, Treefest, APF, and the Bentley wood fair. so pop along and have a go on it.