Yesterday I filched some unused hardboard from work in an effort to make some templates for the square holes that I need to put into the stretchers. When clamped to the stretcher, the hardboard does an excellent job at preventing tearout from saws and chisels and things. Unfortunately, I didn’t cut the templates straight, so I got a goofy-shaped hole in the wood. That’s no tragedy, of course; I’ll just use that stretcher as one that’s out of sight, though I can probably fix it.
The bigger problem is that it really does take too long to make those holes. You really appreciate what a power tool can do after this, but I think all I need to do is find a more effective way to remove large amounts of wastewood. It’s hard to use a coping saw to get rid of most of it in wood this thick. So I think I’m going to try to drill more holes in it before trying to remove large pieces. Chisels seem to work fine once it’s a certain size.
A keyhole saw might be useful for getting at the corners. Not sure.