Friday, September 29, 2006

Fashionable woodworking

"The frame is joined to the legs either by the mortise and tenon joint or by dowelling. The former joint was the old way of framing, but since the introduction of dowels the tenon has largely gone out of use among furniture makers. They consider it old-fashioned. And owing to the shrinkage of the tenon or the carelessness with which it is made, it does not seem as strong or equal to a dowel-joint."


"The top of a table may be solid or veneered. When small and cheap work is desired, it can be made of solid wood; but otherwise it should be built-up and veneered."

I've been enjoying reading the Algrove reprint of "Furniture Design and Draughting" by Alvin Crocker Nye (a name to conjure with, that one), originally published in 1907. Well the second edition was anyway. And those are quotes from it.

There's an awful lot more fashion involved in woodworking than just the furniture style of the time, isn't there?


  1. But I suspect it had more to do with economics than fashion. It was probably cheaper, and required less manpower, to replace M&T joints by machine made dowel joints and solid wood tops by veneered plywood and that in turn led to it becoming fashionable.

  2. Interestingly the option isn't for veneered plywood but veneered pine or similar, cross veneered under the show veneer too, so more work. Not sure about the dowels (can't recall if it says or not), but I don't get the impression it was preferred for economic reasons but rather as being a better option all together.


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