Friction stir methods are disclosed for processing at least one workpiece using a rotary tool with rotating member for contacting and processing the workpiece. The methods include oscillating the rotary tool laterally with respect to a selected propagation path for the rotating member with respect to the workpiece to define an oscillation path for the rotating member. The methods further include obtaining force signals or parameters related to the force experienced by the rotary tool at least while the rotating member is disposed at the extremes of the oscillation. The force signals or parameters associated with the extremes can then be analyzed to determine a lateral position of the selected path with respect to a target path and a lateral offset value can be determined based on the lateral position. The lateral distance between the selected path and the target path can be decreased based on the lateral offset value.