Build a Shaving Horse Weekend

March 20-22, 2020 

Turtle Island is honored to welcome renowned instructors Ervin and Willie Ellis of Ellis Brothers Builders to this weekend workshop where a small group of adults will build their own traditional German-style shaving horse.


Hailing from the banks of the ol' Clinch River in Castlewood, Virginia, the Ellis Brothers have been teaching traditional woodworking for the last decade. Past visitors may recall, the brothers have been a favorite among demonstrators for years at our annual "Families Learning Together Outdoor Expo". As they become more and more in-demand at universities and craft schools around the southeast, we feel even more fortunate to be able to host the duo this spring in teaching this hands-on class here at Turtle Island Preserve. 


Over two days (that include hot meals and overnight lodging) on our rustic, off-grid campus each student will create his or her own shaving horse from beginning to end using an assortment of traditional hand tools. All students will have the opportunity to handle and use:

framing squares for layouts

froes and mauls for riving

an antique barn beam hand drill (pictured)

hand hewing, hole-boring, and peg-making tools for fabrication, and lots more! 



One unique aspect of this class is that students have the option to take the finished piece home OR donate it to the camp for a reduced tuition. Be mindful, students that intend to take their project home need to have space in their vehicle to acommodate an object 5'x2'x3'. Turtle Island is the only education center in the southeast that offers this class with no materials fee with meals and lodging included for under $1000. A new or antique shaving horse ranges anywhere from $250 - $600. You will not find this class for this price anywhere else! Limited to 8 students and pricing varies, so please explore the options below...



Date/Time: 5pm March 20 - 5pm March 22, 2020

Available Spaces: limited to 8 adults (no unchaperoned minors)

Cost: Sliding Scale: $360 - $650 (hot meals & overnight rustic lodging included)

Cancellations: non-refundable deposit (1/2 of total) is retained for all cancellations

Road Conditions: 1.5 miles off-road gravel - watch the video(link is external)

Location: 8 miles east of Boone, NC - Base camp at Turtle Island Preserve is just 2 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway - Bamboo Gap Exit

Schedule: Orientation begins at 5pm Friday for students to get acquainted with campus and settled into sleeping quarters with plenty of daylight, before supper is served. Breakfast is served at 8am Saturday morning, class officially begins at 9am Saturday. The last meal served is lunch on Sunday and class is over by 5pm.


How To Register:


Option 1 "Makey-Takey" Build and take your new shaving horse home with you:

Pay $650 online w/ credit card by clicking the yellow "Buy Now" button below- then email these forms to: 


Pay $600 w/ check or money order by Postal Mail - print and enclose these forms to the address below




Option 2  "Create it - Donate it" Learn the skill, donate the tool to the camp for future guests to use:

Pay $375 online w/ credit card by clicking the yellow "Buy Now" button above - then email these forms to: 


Pay $360 w/ check or money order by Postal Mail - print and enclose these forms to:

Turtle Island Preserve

Attn. Shaving Horse WorkshopRogers Cabin - open air wood floor overnight shelter

2683 Little Laurel Road

Boone, NC 28607




After You've Registered:

Driving Directions

What to Bring on overnight stays

CRITICAL Orientation Info


Please note, your registration is your official acceptance of this liability waiver: 

ATTENTION ALL VISITORS: Be aware that Turtle Island Preserve is NOT LIABLE for your safety, health or any impairment of it. Enter at your own risk. Your presence represents your acknowledgement that you accept full liability for any damage to you/your children’s person or property. This applies to everyone on the premises or associated with Turtle Island Preserve programs.


WARNING: Under North Carolina law, a farm animal activity sponsor or farm animal professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in farm animal activities resulting exclusively from the inherent risks of farm animal activities. Chapter 99E of The North Carolina General Statutes.


WARNING: Under North Carolina Law, There Is No Liability For An Injury To Or Death Of A Participant In An Agritourism Activity Conducted At This Agritourism Location If Such Injury Or Death Results From The Inherent Risks Of The Agritourism Activity. Inherent Risks Of Agritourism Activities Include, Among Others, Risks Of Injury Inherent To Land, Equipment, And Animals, As Well As The Potential For You To Act In A Negligent Manner That May Contribute To Your Injury Or Death. You Are Assuming The Risk Of Participating In This Agritourism Activity.