Square holes for G&G style square pegs?

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Forum topic by Tim posted 08-04-2010 03:03 AM 5131 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2845 days

08-04-2010 03:03 AM

I’d like to try using square pegs as seen on lots of Greene&Greene and other Arts and Crafts pieces…but I am not going to buy a mortising drill rig. Any good ideas on making the square holes?

8 replies so far

View miserybob's profile


88 posts in 2465 days

#1 posted 08-04-2010 03:13 AM

You don’t necessarily need to make square holes. A hard wood like ebony [square] can be carefully pounded into a round hole. Or you can round over the bottom portion of the plug a little bit to help it ease in.

Or you can drill a round hole and then use a chisel to square it up.

FWIW, I saw a Blacker House Chair in an exhibit in Chicago… one of the square plugs was missing… yep, you guessed it – the hole was round!

View rhett's profile


734 posts in 3088 days

#2 posted 08-04-2010 03:18 AM

You don’t need the whole set-up, you just need one of the chisels. A quick tap makes a square guide.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 2824 days

#3 posted 08-04-2010 03:25 AM

Lee Valley sells a set of chisles for this purpose.,41504,41541&ap=1

They are expensive, but I guess if you’re doing a lot of them it might be worth it. Otherwise I’d just go with the mortise chisel idea. Probably works just as well.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View boyneskibum's profile


76 posts in 2890 days

#4 posted 08-04-2010 04:40 AM

Have you checked these out yet? I can’t remember which magazine I saw them in, but they looked pretty nifty.

And here’s the mortising tool they use

If any LJs have used these, I’d be curious as to your opinion on them!

-- Always keep a stash of band-aids in your workshop!

View 's profile

593 posts in 3393 days

#5 posted 08-04-2010 08:50 AM

As araldite said, get yourself a couple of Darrell Peart's Square Punches from Lee Valley. Not only you’ll be supporting who might be the most talented LumberJock but I, simply, can’t think of anybody else alive who understands and masters better the G&G style.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1407 posts in 2979 days

#6 posted 08-04-2010 05:29 PM

You can just get a square chisel a la carte that would fit into a mortiser. Pound it into your work like a stamp so that it establishes the four corners and four straight sides, then follow up with a chisel that’s smaller than the sides and finish her up. It makes perfectly clean, square holes. If you taper your ebony plugs, they’ll wedge themselves into the holes and they’ll look perfect every time.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View SRWoodworker's profile


34 posts in 3472 days

#7 posted 08-06-2010 05:12 AM

I second the recommendation for Darrel’s punches sold through Lee Valley. Before using these, I’ve used a hollow chisel mortising bit. Pre-drill with slightly undersized drill bit, then using a square align the chisel and tap in. Use a dental style pick to remove the waist. Cut plugs 1/32nd oversize. Taper with chisel and tap home. Use daddo shims or equivalent to made sure plugs not seated too deep.

With Darrel’s punches, there is room to put drill bit down center. Tap in lightly to seat, drill though center with slightly undersized bit, then tap the punch home. Couldn’t be easier.

-- Jerry

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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3154 days

#8 posted 08-07-2010 02:54 AM

And I was going to suggest that he get 1/4” or 1/2” square router bits to cut a square hole. :—))


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

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