HTT016 – Are Hand Tools Really That Slow?

On today’s show, I discuss keeping green wood green, marking tapered octagonal legs, when to throw in the towel and re-cut a miscut tenon, and efficiency with hand tools.

From the Shop

  • Work continues on the log cabin so I’ve gotten no shop time over the last few weeks.

New Supporters

Thanks to Joe Deslauriers, William Elliott, Arkadiusz Cwikowski, Bill Warnock, Krister K., Lawrence Pylinski, Jeff Skiles, Jens Rosendahl, Matt McGrane, Jared Tohlen, and Chris Barnes for your continued support on Patreon.


  • Jim had some feedback on a recent article of mine that was recently published in Popular Woodworking Magazine.  See H.L. Chalfant for more information on the piece.
  • Aleksander had some feedback on methods for making serpentine front furniture.

The Mailbox

  • Chuck wants to know how to keep green wood green for future projects.
  • Scott is looking for help marking the tapers for octagonal tapered chair legs.
  • Bill is having trouble making flat tenon shoulders and wants to know if he should try to re-cut them.

Main Topic

Today’s main topic is efficiency with hand tools.

Feedback, Questions or Topic Suggestions?

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Posted in Cutting Joinery, Repairing Mistakes, Wood and tagged , , , .


  1. Hello sir! Another mention of in canel gouges ! Do you have a specific company to look for? I went to Lee Valley and did not see one . Only Narex on Amazon for now .

    Cheers !


    • Old ones are the best. But they can require a good deal of work to restore. If you want new, your best options are Two Cherries and Henry Taylor. I use the Henry Taylor but the place where I bought them closed their doors. Lee Valley and Tools for Working Wood may carry the Two Cherries.

  2. Another question … you suggest to build the furniture while it’s green… but will it not twist or split when it dries ? How will de glue react on wet joinery ?

    Thanks again !

    • When building with green lumber, it’s usually riven out of the log, not flat sawn. Riven lumber won’t warp as it dries. As Peter Follansbee says, riven lumber is what quarter sawn lumber wishes it was.

      As for the glue, I use hide glue and it works fine. I also mechanically reinforce the joint. Mortise and tenon joints are drawbored so even if the glue fails, the joint holds. Many period drawbored joints were assembled without glue and still survive.

      I would not cut dovetails in green wood. They will shrink and open up gaps. For this situation, I plane the lumber close to final size while it’s green. Then let it dry a few months to a year. Once it’s dry, I plane it to final dimension which is much easier than planing from rough since much less material needs to be removed. Then I cut the dovetails.

    • Also, check out Peter Follansbee’s book Make a Joint Stool from a Tree. He goes over the process of working from green oak and why. He also has another coming out on building a joiner chest from green oak.

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