Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hollow Square Punches

As a furnituremaker, working in the style of Greene & Greene, I have chopped out more than a few square holes for ebony plugs. The accepted method for this has been to drill a round hole and use the chisel from a hollow chisel mortiser (hand held) to square up the holes. This has worked to some degree, but with limitations. One of those limitations being that a 3/16” hollow chisel was not available. Since I employ quite a few 3/16” square ebony plugs in my designs, this meant chopping out those holes by hand, with a lot of patience (and time).
This prompted me to design my own hollow square punch – not only because I needed a 3/16” size, but also one that is specifically designed to be hand held.
My early attempts did not meet expectations, but after a few tries, the new tool was actually outperforming expectations. Dozens of these were machined and made for me, by my friend Bob Hadley. Thanks BOB!
Once I had a working tool in hand, I submitted the idea to Lee Valley Tools. They liked it and turned it over to their R&D department. The Lee Valley folks made improvements and sent me the prototypes for testing. My friend George Knutson helped me run the punches through their paces. I then returned them along with comments and suggestions. We went through this process twice. I was greatly impressed with the Lee Valley R&D people – they really brought the tool to perfection!

Later this month Lee Valley Tools will have available for purchase the hollow square punches in six sizes -3/16” - ¼” - 5/16” - 3/8” 7/16” - ½”.
Use the product code 50K5920 to check on the punches availability.
I will follow up soon with a blog that details the use of the punches.


  1. I will be following this closely.

    If it has your stamp of approval on it, I have no doubt that the quality is high.

  2. Congrats Darrell. I have been using one of your 3/16" early prototypes on EVERY G&G inspired project to date. It is absolutely indispensable for this kind of work. I will order a set the minute they are available!

  3. Very cool. Fun to hear about working with the Lee Valley R&D dept too; that's awesome.

  4. You mean I will no longer destroy mortising chisels to make G&G plugs? The fine folks at Jet won't be happy but I sure will! :)
    Thanks Mr. Peart and LV.

  5. Does anyone sell the ebony plugs already made? I just purchased the 3/8 punch and was wondering if plugs to go along with it were available..

  6. Hi Darrell,
    Steve Haas here in Houston. I am SO excited about my Rocker which you are currently working on. I thought one year would never get here but it is close! You have a great website and your furniture looks fantastic. I am trying to figure-out what to get next? Keep up the good work. And as soon as I recieve my Rocker you can raise your prices! Just kidding. Just saying hello and thank you.
    fred haas toyota country