Green wood : what is it and why use it?

low bow windsor chair

Green wood is from a recently felled tree that still has the moisture from the living plant in it. The wood is relatively soft and easy to work and does not produce dust while working. Green wood can be cleft easily, enabling rapid sizing. Using green wood negates the need to “season” the wood before working it. The worked pieces can then be dried very quickly and assembled when dry. Green woodworking  is cheap , safe and immediate.

Pole Lathe

The pole lathe is a primitive and ancient device that uses leg power to spin the timber blank so a sharp tool can be held against it and the wood “turned”. It uses a long flexible pole as a return spring, hence the name. It has been used for centuries to make chair parts.

Shaving Horse

A shaving horse is a leg operated clamp that is designed to be used in combination with a draw knife, which is essentially a strong knife with a handle at each end.

The user sits astride the horse and clamps the work piece by pushing the feet forwards while drawing the blade towards themselves. This sounds dangerous but it’s actually very hard to cut yourself when using it in the correct way.

The shaving horse is used for many green woodworking tasks.


Chair making brings together several interesting and unusual woodworking techniques – Learn to:

  • Cleave wood with axe and maul.
  • Use a bodging axe
  • Use a shaving horse and draw knife
  • Use the pole lathe
  • Use an adze , spokeshave and travisher
  •  Steam bend wood
  • Use a brace and bit for hole boring
  • Master complex multi-angle assembly
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