Drilling straight holes in crooked wood (rustic log and stick furniture)

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Forum topic by ScaryDAve posted 09-03-2008 09:48 PM 9663 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 3817 days

09-03-2008 09:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rustic log stick crooked mortise tenon cedar bent

Hey gang.
Ultra new guy here. I searched for quite a while for the answers to my questions and didn’t find them so I hope I am not repeating past questions.

I have been building log (aromatic red cedar) furniture for a while now. Mostly large, unfinished, half log benches and straight(ish) 4-5” log/stick furniture. I am pretty good at carving tenons with a heavy machete and a draw knife since I really don’t care for the look of tenons made with cutters. So far most everything I have ever made sold within days so I figure I ain’t to horrible at it.

I have had a great old, backwoods, fur faced, hillbilly teachin me how to do this an so far it’s worked out very well. Now I would like to graduate into makin more stuff out of crooked logs and branches but he just shakes his head an thinks I am crazy for wanting to. The thing I find hardest to do is getting the holes drilled correctly. Compound curves in each piece I am trying to join just makes it extremely difficult thus far.

It there is one thing I loath, its ruining a piece with a hole drilled at an incorrect angle. Especially after I went through the hassle of pickin it out, harvesting it, luggin it home, (often on my back), peeling it and so on. Of course the stuff I do ruin can always be used on somethin else or for firewood but that doesn’t really make me feel better when stuff doesn’t fit together.

Does anyone have any advice on drilling and assembling one curly-q branch/log into others? I have see many pictures on the net of chairs, swings, bed frames and such where every single piece of material is crooked and twisted an different form all the others with angles goin off in every direction. Not the air nailed, willow, stuff but the Mortise an tenon stuff. I have had a little success with it but I am still ruining stuff as well. Any advice or links to videos showing how to do this more accurately and consistently?

Please refrain from shakin yer head an tellin me I am crazy for wanting to make this stuff, or I’ll photoshop your last project into a crooked, warped poorly finished, catastrophe and re post it! > :)


-- Failures are successes in training.

5 replies so far

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 09-04-2008 02:16 AM

I don’t think any one here is going to say you’re crazy. Especially if they know anything about what you’re doing. Depending on where you try to sell that kind of stuff, you can make a fortune. I don’t have an answer for you and just in case none of the LJ’s know, check out
I know someone on this site will be more than happy to share their knowledge.

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4342 days

#2 posted 09-09-2008 01:41 AM

How about posting a pick of what you are trying to do. A visual would be great.

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View Mick's profile


78 posts in 4172 days

#3 posted 09-16-2008 04:25 PM

Here is the tenon cutter setup I use and a link to the internet company (Bosworth Tools) I used. All total it was about $1000 (including the cutters).

-- The name is "Splinter"... I'm the son-of-a-son-of-a-carpenter

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4392 days

#4 posted 09-16-2008 05:05 PM

1. Use a drill press
2. Use a jig to guide your drill

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4579 days

#5 posted 12-18-2008 02:29 AM

Good luck…thats why we call it art. Call me if you figure it out.

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