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Ox Yoke Making

May 17, 2018 @ 8:00 am - May 20, 2018 @ 4:00 pm


Times: 8 am to 4 pm each day
Materials: Yoke blank will be $40, regardless of size. Bows & hardware will be purchased separately and cost is dependent upon the size of the yoke.
Meals:  Lunch featuring our farm grown food is included
Instructors:  Tim Huppe with guest instructors
Maximum Number of Students:  4


The making of a neck yoke has been carried on and refined in New England. The unique shape and proper fit of the neck yoke allows the ox to exert maximum power and not be injured in the process. Because cattle continue to grow through their lifetime, an ox teamster needs to have several sizes of ox yokes if he or she wants to be self-sufficient. Ox yokes can be expensive to purchase and at times, hard to find.  Therefore, it is beneficial for a teamster to know how to make them.



This workshop will take participants through the steps of making a good fitting neck yoke, beginning with identifying a good log and sawing out the “cant” and moving to laying out a specific size yoke without the use of templates and shaping it to fit an ox.


Ox yoke instructor Tim Huppe will discuss the advantages of using various species of trees to make ox yokes and what time of year is best to harvest woods. Commonly used woods include Yellow and Black Birch, hard and soft Maple, Elm, and Cherry.



So that participants can learn to scale ox yokes to different size oxen, the instructor will share charts listing cant sizes for the desired yoke and bow diameter, finish length, and drilling patterns. Using simple tools including a pencil, tape measure, square, and straight edge, participants will learn how to lay out whatever size or style yoke is needed.


The instructor will demonstrate the use of a power chainsaw to cut out the rough shape of the yoke. In making a good working ox yoke, it is important to form a properly shaped neck seat that allows the animal to engage in comfort. Each step in grinding away the ‘unwanted’ wood will be demonstrated and how to remove wood to lighten the yoke without affecting the strength will be discussed.


Examples of yoke hardware will be discussed in detail including staples, sliding advantage plates, internal and external gripes (reinforcements), and bolting for strength enhancement, etc. Final sanding and preservative treatment of the yokes will be demonstrated and if time allows, will be done during the workshop.


Each participant will go home with a working ox yoke. Prior to the workshop, each participant will be asked what size ox yoke they wish to make so that yoke cants (blanks) can be pre-sawn. The making of bows will be discussed in some detail but bows will not be made during the workshop. They will be ordered in advance to match the size of yoke that will be made. Bow pins can be purchased at the workshop.


Technique and safety will be explained in detail during the drilling of the bow holes and staple holes and in the safe use of a hand-held disc grinder.


The workshop will move along at a pace that is agreeable with the participants. Instructors will take time to work safely and explain each function in detail. Questions are encouraged!


All oxen workshop participants are asked to fill out a Questionnaire so that instructors can tailor the workshop to experience level and needs.

Download the Oxen Workshop Questionnaire:      MS Word    or   PDF

Note: Please use the back arrow to return to this page!

Please email or mail your responses at least 3 weeks before the workshop start date to:   tim@sanbornmills.org

Sanborn Mills Farm c/o Tim Huppe,  7097 Sanborn Rd,  Loudon, NH    03307



  • Oxen students are required to wear sturdy laced up work boots at all times.  Hard hats are required when working in the woods.  Eye and ear protection are required when working with power equipment. This workshop can accommodate up to 4 students and needs a minimum of 2 to be held.
  • Participants must be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • Breakfast & lunch will be provided daily and participants are encouraged to share stories and ask questions during meals.
  • We urge students to register at least one month before the workshop start date.
  • A minimum of a one-day deposit is required with registration.
  • Cancellations received at least 30 days before the start date of the workshop will receive a refund, minus a $25 non-refundable registration fee.
  • Classes without a minimum number of students may be cancelled and a full refund will be provided.




Click here to learn more about our instructors.


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May 17, 2018 @ 8:00 am
May 20, 2018 @ 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Sanborn Mills Farm


Sanborn Mills Farm
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, NH 03307 United States
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