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One of the hallmarks of Greene & Greene-style furniture is the square plug. It’s a detail that shows that the maker is willing to go the extra mile. If you’ve ever made a project with a bunch of square plugs, you know that extra mile can turn into many extra miles. There are several ways to go about it, and once you perfect a method you have plenty of time to think as you work away at the task. Darrell Peart has been making Greene & Greene-style furniture for a long time, and written about it in his book and in articles for Popular Woodworking Magazine. Along the way he came up with a great method for making square holes.
These new punches, available from Lee Valley Tools, are used with a common drill bit to pare all four sides at once, and excavate the junk from down inside the hole. When I first learned about these I ordered a set (they are available in sizes from 3/16″ up to 1/2″), and I’ve been using them for the last couple weeks. To make a long story short, they work and they work very well.

Place the points of the punch on your layout lines and tap the end a few times with a hammer. This sets the location of the hole. The next step is to use the punch as a guide for drilling. The hole in the center of the punch takes a drill bit (not included) that’s 3/64″ smaller than the outside of the punch.

The drill bit slips inside and removes most of the waste. I found it best to alternate a couple times between drilling and smacking. It’s easy to get the punch back to where it was and I couldn’t find a way to goof up the process. The punches are in two pieces; the short cutting part threads into the longer end. In some sizes, I needed to unscrew the punch to get my drill bit to the right depth.

We shot a brief video this morning, showing the punches in action. If you’d like to learn more about Darrell and his work, his web site is worth a visit. While you’re there, you can also order a copy of his book “Greene & Greene: Design Elements for the Workshop” or get information on classes he teaches.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Drew

    Hey Ron,

    To view the videos on this blog and on the Popular Woodworking Magazine website, make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player installed (it’s free):

    Drew DePenning

  • Ron

    I have yet to see any of the video’s mentioned in any of the articles. None of them function. What do you need to do to see them?

  • Bob Lang

    With most of the sizes you don’t need to take the punch apart to drill. It’s a function of the length of the drill bit. In the video, I’m making a 3/16" square hole with a 9/64" bit.

  • Dan Donaldson

    If you were making a lot of these holes, this looks like a place to have two of them so you do not have to keep taking it apart to drill. The few seconds to take it apart would add up over a large project.

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