What is green woodworking, and why do people love it? Let’s explore the most primitive and traditional craft in carpentry. Read on together.
A guide on green woodworking
If you’re interested in carpentry, you’ve come across the term “green woodworking.” So, what does green woodworking mean? What is green woodworking?
Green woodworking is a method for processing wood that has not been treated and machined to form finished products with only hand tools.
Unprocessed logs are wood that has been recently felled or stored in a pond or trough filled with water to keep moisture high.
Not only stopping at the materials used, but greenwood processing also differs from traditional carpentry in tools and processing methods.
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What Is Green Woodworking?
Freshly cut wooden logs
Greenwood is freshly harvested or wet wood. After a while, the water vapor in the wood will evaporate, causing shrinkage. To have seasoned lumber, one needs to air-dry the wood for at least a year.
This “wetness” is sometimes very handy in woodworking to create a cohesive texture after a period of use.
Not only is there a difference in materials, but greenwood processing also requires a deep understanding of the characteristics of different types of wood. It would help if you also had various tools for the machining process.
Instead of sawing through the wood, green carpentry techniques involve splitting and working in the grain. It keeps the surface soft but increases durability and reduces deformation during shrinkage and seasoning.
Advantages Of Green Woodworking
Unseasoned woodworking has unique benefits. In this section, let’s refer to them to understand why so many people love this form of carpentry.
You can control your woodworking process
Ease Of Processing
Unseasoned woods often contain vast amounts of water. As a result, it has a soft texture for effortless fiber separation. These dry woods have a more brittle texture, and the surface is more prone to cracking during splitting.
You will not need to use a saw during processing. Thanks to this, the wood shape is preserved naturally. Compared to sawn timber, this material is more durable due to its continuously stretched grains.
The second advantage of this carpentry process is the shrinkage of the wood.
Professional artisans often combine both seasoned and unseasoned blocks of wood in their crafting process. They create tight joints without the help of glue.
The finished product you receive will be highly aesthetic, thanks to the finishing and bonding between the joints. It is also quite sturdy and does not come apart quickly after a long time.
Green wood processing brings absolute satisfaction to the craftsman.
You have complete control over your workflow. There will be no more worries like buying poor quality materials.
Although this processing is quite time-consuming and labor-intensive, the results are often well worth it. Transforming a natural wooden log into a finished work also teaches us interesting things about woodworking.
Essential Tools In Green Woodworking
The froe is a traditional woodworking tool
To craft unseasoned timber, you will need the help of simple hand tools. The number of tools necessary for this process is exceptionally modest and enough to satisfy those who follow minimalism.
Even so, you can also diversify your collection by choosing different sizes and models. There are three types of tools needed, they include:
- A knife is the first choice, such as the sloyd knife. This blade is two to four inches long with a long, flat main chamfer with no secondary bevel. You can also use it for sculpting or marking.
- The second choice is an ax. The ideal weight of this tool is about a pound and a half, and the blade is long and curved. The ax has a wide chamfer and a flat lower angle than the convex side. You should choose a tool with a bearded head so that the user can control and hold the ax more firmly.
- A hook knife is the third essential tool. The curved blade allows the craftsman to hollow out a spoon.
If you want to produce dishes, you can equip adzes. Another aid is a foot-operated pole lathe or a lighted bench.
Spokes, cutlery, punches, and froes will aid in the drilling and splitting process to produce the chair.
Along with drawknives, craftsmen can also use shaving horses.
The Process Of Green Woodworking
Once you understand the benefits and tools for green woodworking, you’ll want to know the details of the process. We will answer it for you in this section.
For an overview, refer to the following video:
The first thing that you need to do is split the wood vertically. This process is also known as riving or cleaving.
It doesn’t take too much effort as you need to follow the grain lines. The only tool required is the traditional hand-held froes. Another way to split timber is to use an ax or a hammer.
After tearing the timber along, use the ax to hew your material.
This tool rarely appears in modern woodworking, thanks to the presence of wood milling. But for the traditional machining method, it still plays an important role.
To clean and scrape wood, use shaving horses and drawknives. In the hands of a skilled woodworker, they can do anything with just these two tools. Whether you want to perfect a small detail or smooth out a heavy stock, they do it.
The turning process is quite similar to the modern carpentry process. The only difference is that instead of using electrical equipment, traditional artisans use reverse pole lathes.
The advantage of this type of machine is to turn and craft products with high quality and a smoother surface.
Green woodworking is a craft that requires meticulousness and care from the craftsman. Although it requires more time and effort, the satisfaction you get in the machining process is unmatched. Thank you for reading!