Shafts are sometimes referred to as ‘fills’ or ‘staves’ and are designed for single horse driving, either on a two wheeled cart or a four wheeled vehicle. Different styles of vehicles require different styles of shafts and these styles are determined primarily by the shape of the bend at the back, or heel, end. Typically shafts are made out of hickory, but on occasion one will see lesser qualities made from ash. We stock only hickory shafts because of their authenticity and superior strength. All shaft styles are available either as blank sets, kits, or complete assembled. Blank sets include two sides and the cross bar; kits include all hardware and a sword end or hook end single tree; complete are assembled, but unfinished, ready to use. (Premium spring-clip singletrees and Bradley Coupler irons are available also, but additional.) Four sizes are available and are measured in length from the front of the cross bar to the tip of the shafts.
Miniature sizes are 48” or 54”
Pony sizes are 65”
Horse sizes are 75”
Draft sizes are 87”
SINGLE BEND BUGGY SHAFTS
Shafts often used on runabouts, piano box and similar vehicles are of the drop heel, or single bend, style. Mortises are precut for the cross bar.
Available in Miniature, Pony, Horse and Draft sizes
DOUBLE BEND BUGGY SHAFTS
The double bend buggy shaft is designed to position the cross bar and single tree further ahead of the point of attachment of the shafts to the axle. This is necessary on vehicles that have the body positioned ahead of the front axle, as is common on spring wagons, so when the shafts are turned extreme right or left, the cross bar will not hit the corner of the box or driver’s foot board.
Available in Pony, Horse and Draft sizes
The two main differences between buggy shafts and cart shafts are their length and method of cross bar attachment. Cart shafts are longer, to facilitate the footboard for the driver, in front of the axle and the cross bars are mounted either above or below the shafts themselves, instead of being mortised like the buggy style shafts. These are provided as blanks only and include both sides and the cross bar.
DROP HEEL CART SHAFTS
Available in Pony, Horse and Draft sizes
DOUBLE BEND CART SHAFTS
Available in Horse and Draft sizes
STRAIGHT HEEL CART SHAFTS
Unlike buggy shafts, cart shafts are also available in a straight heel style. These are commonly used on Meadowbrook carts and Village carts.
These are available in two styles; the heels are rectangular in shape and are available where the rectangle is in a vertical position or in the horizontal position. Because of their straight heel design, horse and draft sizes are the same and are adjusted for length simply by shortening the length of the heel. We have straight heel styles also in a pony size.
Available in Pony, and Horse/Draft sizes
(We also have gig shafts available in drop heel and straight heel styles)
CART SHAFT BRACES
Due to the nature of attachment of the cross bar to the shafts on carts, it is imperative that a circle brace be added ahead of the cross bar. This triangulates the point of attachment of the cross bar to the shafts giving the necessary strength side to side. The mortise on buggy shafts, along with the iron placed underneath, strengthens this joint, but cart shafts need this extra bracing. These are extra long and can be trimmed to match the width of the shafts.
BUGGY SHAFT BRACES
Buggy shafts can also be strengthened by a brace that fits inside the shafts, just ahead of the cross bar, but it is not a mandatory issue as it is with carts.
We carry an assortment of shaft tips to fit most shaft sizes. We have tips in brass, steel, and chrome from ¾” to 1 ¼”.
These tee plates are used with carriage bolts, placed under the head of the carriage bolt when used near the end of a piece of wood, such as the end of a cart circle brace. These help prevent the bolt from splitting the wood by bending around the contour of the wood.
SHAFT REPAIR HORNS
Sometimes the tip of a shaft will be broken and one way to repair the tip is with a repair horn. This is a tapered metal sleeve filled with a wood plug near the tip and hollow near the large end to fit over the broken shaft. By sawing off the broken shaft tip to appropriate length you can slip the repair horn on to replace the broken section. These measure about 30” in length.
Shaft shackles are fastened to the front axle of the vehicle and are where the shafts or pole attaches. These have either a 3/8” or 7/16” bolt to attach the shafts to. Standard placement width on the axle is 43” center to center; this way both shafts and poles are interchangeable. (Specify bolt size)
When you get tired of looking for a wrench to take your shafts on and off, these quick pins are a real nice replacement for the bolt on the shaft shackles above. These are only available is a 3/8” pin size and are hardened steel.
If you like premium shaft and pole attachments, this Bradley Coupler is the Cadillac way to go. This is a ball & socket style of attachment where the shaft or pole ends fasten to the ball end (left) and the spring loaded socket attaches to the axle (right). The spring clip catches or releases the top of the socket as the shafts or pole needs to be attached or taken off of the vehicle. This ball is also surrounded by a piece of leather to prevent any rattle. This Bradley Coupler is the best of all attachment styles. (These require 1 axle clip each to attach to the axle.)
If you have further questions about what shafts should fit your particular vehicle, don’t hesitate to Contact Us!