Step Stool #7: I Don't Need No Stinkin' Jigsaw

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Blog entry by Eric posted 2194 days ago 856 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Hand-Chopping a Mortise (with Video) Part 7 of Step Stool series Part 8: Giving the Tenon a Wedgie »

When I was contemplating my curves and complaining about my coping saw, Marco suggested that I could easily make a curve by first making a series of cuts, and then cutting the waste away with a chisel.

I had learned that technique at Homestead Heritage (Waco, TX) but hadn’t yet had enough confidence to try it. It seemed too easy. But doing the curves for the supporting piece, I decided to give it a go. So here is the piece after I’ve made my cuts:

curve 1

And here it is after my chiseling:

curve 2

I pretty much just chiseled until the kerfs were barely noticeable any more, and then I took out my trusty spokeshave and smoothed it out. Outside of really needing to watch the grain flow, this was a pretty simple technique!

-- Eric at

7 comments so far

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 2194 days ago

Very intresting!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2248 days

#2 posted 2194 days ago

Thanx for the Post Eric, very interesting indeed!

which way did you chisel away the waste? standing up your chisel aligned with a kerf and down? or perpendicular to it? was it a long process? there seems to be quite a bit of kerfs to work on with a chisel and I was never aware of this technique before…curious.

got a picture of the finished planed curve?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Betsy's profile


2913 posts in 2495 days

#3 posted 2194 days ago

Eric that looks good, just some filing and away you go.

Did you scribe a line to get the curve? I see your pencil line but was curious if you used a marking knife to give you a knife wall to stop filing/sanding/scraping at.

You’ve almost got this project whipped!

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Eric's profile


873 posts in 2383 days

#4 posted 2194 days ago

PurpLev: Good question, I should have mentioned that! I started the chisel at one end of my pencil line, bevel down, and pointed the bevel at the bottom of the next kerf. Hit with mallet, move on. Sometimes I killed a couple kerfs with one blow. Had to be sure to go with the grain. At one point the grain pattern changed and I started burrowing into the piece. Whoops.

And no, it wasn’t really a long process at all. My ryoba made pretty quick work of the kerfs, and chiseling took no time at all, and was fun as well. I could have maybe gotten away with fewer kerfs, since I was going with the grain, but I didn’t mind it.

Pictures to follow!

Betsy: Hey, that’s a good idea. No, I did not scribe, just used a pencil line. Since the curve didn’t need to be very precise, I didn’t worry about an exact line. But hey, thanks for that little tip! I’m sure it’ll come in handy on a future project.

-- Eric at

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13337 posts in 2272 days

#5 posted 2193 days ago

Nice work on the curve.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2587 days

#6 posted 2193 days ago

Fred Flintstone would be proud! :-)

That’s using the old noggin!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 2367 days

#7 posted 2190 days ago

very cool technique! i have heard of making the little relief cuts mostly on the bandsaw but this is a very, very cool technique too! thanks for the post.

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