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Above are two examples of chairmaker’s travishers. These specialized convex spokeshaves are used to create the final shape of a chair seat after it’s been roughed in with an adz and shaped with a scorp.

The Travisher on the left runs $120 at Highland Woodworking. It has a 3″ wide convex blade and handles which continue along the curve of the blade so you can cut into deep hollows. The one on the right is sold at Classic Hand Tools for £82 or $130. It has a 4.75″ radius and is designed to be pushed by your thumbs. It also has a slot in the top for shavings to exit.

Travisher [Classic Hand Tools]
Travisher [Highland Woodworking]

14 Responses to The Chairmaker’s Travisher

  1. Rob1855 says:

    I like to think of myself as a worldly man, but I have absolutely no idea what this does.

  2. Gary says:

    It smooths out the concave depresssions in a chair seat after those depressions have been made with other tools. Some consider it to be a finishing tool like a scraper. Benjamen’s description was pretty accurate. If you’re not familiar with spokeshaves, then I can see how it might not be clear.

    Travishers are not as common as other handtools – unless you make a lot of chairs.

  3. fred says:

    @ Gary

    And the chairs need to have scooped out seats – like reproduction Windsors.

  4. Old Coot says:

    Looks like a much better method than gluing some sandpaper to your rear and squirming around for a few hours. 😉

  5. dave p. says:

    @Old Coot:

    yeah, but nowhere near as fun.

  6. Wayne D. says:


    It’s a butt indentation scraper

  7. Shopmonger says:

    I like these for the feel, but for time and ease, a angle grinder with a 40 or 6t0 grit flap disc is much easier. Please wear a mask and face shield when doing this though….


  8. fred says:

    @ Shopmonger

    Hve you ever tried any of those power carving wheels like the King Arhur for this purpose?

    Of course the traditionalist starts with a green slab of wood and a gutter adze to do the rough out work:


  9. Shopmonger says:

    No, but i have looked at them and asked my self if i need that much more speed. i know they work well and some of my Wood working community buddies have said they are wonderful, i know some of the guys who build maloof and neo classical rockers love them…


  10. Rob1855 says:


    Thanks. Now I understand.

  11. Rob says:

    I haven’t seen the tavishers before, I’m more familiar with the scorps: http://www.woodcraft.com/Family/2001825/PFEIL-Swiss-Made-Scorp/videos.aspx

  12. Rob says:

    oops..and right there in the first sentence you mention the scorps..

  13. fred says:

    @ Rob

    Travishers are to Scorps and Inshaves – as Planes are to Chisels.
    The travisher produces a more controlled shaving since the cutting edged is “backed-up” a bit like how a plane body backs up the plane iron

  14. JMDenker says:

    Next time you carve a chair seat, try a DENKER Carving Shave. This hand tool can remove over 10 lbs of wood in an hour, makes no dust, and generates perfectly-faired contours ready for hand-sanding to finish. You do not need a travisher or anything else to do a chair seat in a half-hour. If you produce chairs with carved seats, try one of our rotary carvers, They can make a pound of chips in a minute, but no dust at all, and can rough carve a chair seat in 5 minutes ready for hand finishing with a carving shave.
    These tools are safe, need no guards, cannot kickback like the multi-toothed diak type cutters do. DENKER tools make the work pleasant and fun!

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