Choosing the right tools for your green woodworking adventure is an important decision. Here we outline the core tools you’ll need for your green woodworking journey.
What is green woodworking?
Green woodworking offers a fun, natural and wholesome experience when working with wood. Using largely traditional tools, it’s an incredibly accessible and enjoyable craft with only a minimum of tools required to get you on your way. As the name suggests, green woodworking uses unseasoned (green) wood to create almost anything from furniture sculptures to spoons and bowls. If you are looking to get outside and be creative green woodworking could be for you.
What green woodworking tools should you buy?
Traditionally used with a shave horse, drawknives are a versatile tool for any green woodworker. It can be used for rough cuts when breaking down green wood into rough shapes. It can also be used to produce more refining cuts. There are a variety of sizes and shapes of drawknives to satisfy any preferences you might have.
Axe and Hatchet
The axe is largely used in green woodworking to get the wood pieces to a manageable and usable rough state. However, a smaller axe or hatchet can be used for carving work. Many axes in green woodworking will have a finger notch in the axe head. This allows a grip where your hand can be placed almost straight above the centre of the cutting edge, for increased precision when carving.
There are many different types of carving knives available. However, a good place to start is with a craftsman’s knife or straight knife. It can be used to make spoons, handle bowls, and be used for both rough and more detailed work. The hook knife is another consideration. These knives allow you to work effectively in hollows and are a must for spoon carvers!
A froe is used with a wooden mallet to split timber along the grain. This is not only quicker than sawing, but the stock produced is much stronger and more durable. The Romans used froes to make oak shingles for roofing which, on account of being riven, showed no short grain, making them long lasting and weatherproof. Bodgers, however, will use them to prepare stock for chair spindles.
Choose either a large or a small adze. The small adze is intended for single-handed use, it makes a great tool for carving out hollows, Windsor chair seats, rustic style dough bowls and similar items. A larger adze, however, makes a great tool for carving out wide or deep hollows.
Sawhorse or Shave Horse
The sawhorse or shave horse is the workbench of green woodworking. A foot operated clamp holds the wood in place allowing it to be worked. Typically, it’s used with a drawknife to remove large amounts of stock or to hold in place for more detailed carving. It can also be a fantastic project in its own right. The Veritas shaving horse plans are based on a shaving horse used by chair maker David Fleming, this is both a shaving horse and a traditional chairmaker’s low bench.