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Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Joints

When a customer purchases their solid oak furniture, perhaps something like a wardrobe, or computer desk, the last thing they should expect to happen is for something to fall apart, obviously. Fortunately, when experienced craftsmen build high quality solid hardwood furniture, they employ only the very best construction methods. Key to this is the dovetail joint.

What is So Special About a Dovetail Joint?

Dovetail joints are an essential feature of solid hardwood furniture because of the high tensile strength that they provide. Tensile strength refers to the critical stress point at which a material will break or permanently deform. Oak furniture is obviously crafted using solid hardwood, which is inherently strong, but of course the joints between timbers have to be equally strong in order to provide adequate support. An item of hardwood furniture, such as an oak chest of drawers, is in particular need of high tensile strength because the drawers must be crafted in such a way as to cope with constant pulling (as the drawer opens) under the load of whatever is contained inside the drawer.

How Are Dovetail Joints Made?

As described above, dovetail joints are typically used in box constructions such as drawers in solid oak furniture. The high tensile strength is provided by the way in which the dovetail joint is crafted. Dovetail joints are made using wooden tails and pins, which are cut out of the ends of the solid wood which are to be joined together. Indeed, using a simple example of a solid oak furniture drawer, the tails are found on the side pieces of wood and the pins are found on the front and rear pieces. The tails and pins interlock, which in itself provides a flush and secure fitting, but are also bonded together using highly adhesive wood glue in order to make the dovetail joint extremely strong.

The use of dovetail joints in your solid oak furniture is a hallmark of high quality craftsmanship. Indeed, dovetail joints have been the method of choice for crafting wooden furniture drawers and wooden box structures since the days of Ancient Egypt.

How Can I Tell If Dovetail Joints Are Being Used?

In conclusion, dovetail joints are a sign of high quality furniture design. Whether concealed or exposed, the dovetail joint provides high tensile strength without compromising on the aesthetic appeal of the finished item of solid hardwood furniture. Indeed, it often enhances it. Customers looking for exceptional quality and long-lasting solid wood furniture will do well to inspect drawers and shelves before purchase in order to check for the signature dovetail joint. A quality furniture retailer will be keen to point out the dovetail joints, so if there is no mention of them they probably do not use them. Ask if in doubt.

Related Articles

As well as this article we also have articles providing information on Oak furniture, Ash furniture, Birch furniture, Pine Furniture, and Indian Furniture. If you like these articles you may also find our article on the characteristics of hardwood furniture article invaluable.

If you already have a range of hardwood furniture in your home, our articles on treating hardwood furniture, repairing hardwood furniture, joinery and specifically dove tailed joints will help you get the most out of your furniture, and spot quality when shopping in furniture.

Other articles on offer at Oak Furniture Land include our rustic furniture, teak furniture, wood and hardwood furniture, classic traditional furniture and contemporary modern furniture will also help you differentiate between the different styles of hardwood furniture available.

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