Furniture Construction

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Nowadays we can make a piece of study furniture by glue and nails or bolts as jointing materials. However, that is not enough for a durable and solid piece of furniture. If you want to buy a piece of furniture which lasts long for everyday use as firm and solid, you should learn and know furniture constructions as base knowledge, including joinery, solid wood and craftsmanship.

Since wood is sensitive to heat and humidity, floating joints must allow for expansion and contraction. For the same reason, all joints are not only glued but are held by glue and nail.

 

Joinery

Floating joint systems allow wood to expand and contract with humidity. All joints should also be glued and nailed.

 

Mortise and Tenon

Two pieces of wood are joined at right angles. One is a rail and another is a post, or solid end panel. Rail ends are prepared on a tenoner, or cut to fit a socket, usually square, that has been cut into the post or panel. The joint is glued.

Mortise and Tenon construction
Mortise and Tenon construction
Dovetail

Dovetail joints tightly interlock, creating a sturdy connection. Woods with minimal expansion characteristics generally are used for dovetail joints.

Dovetail construction
Dovetail construction
Miter

Used frequently on bonded case and tabletops, miter joints connect pieces of wood with glue, reinforced by hidden wood or metal wedges, or by wood dowels.

Miter construction
Miter construction
Dowel

This joint performs a function similar to the mortise and tenon. It uses a wood or composition peg that fits into borings to join the two pieces of wood.

Dowel construction
Dowel construction
Tongue and Groove

The joint is so deftly constructed that it is barely noticed by an untrained eye. These are generally used as corner blocks for chair seat frames.

Tongue and Groove construction
Tongue and Groove construction

 

Solid vs Veneer

The term ‘solid’ as used in the furniture industry may be confusing because both types of processes, solid and veneered, are of solid wood construction.

 

Solid Wood Furniture

This describes furniture with drawer fronts, tops, panels and other like surfaces made of whole wood, or of one piece, without plies of veneer.

This is composed of narrow solid wood planks, bonded permanently together, side by side. These planks serve to prevent splitting and warping when temperatures change and when the wood naturally expands and contracts. They also provide decorative variation.

 

Veneered Wood Furniture

This describes that layers of woods are permanently bonded to a center core on a solid wood frame.

Veneering permits matching and repeating grain patterns that are impossible in solid lumber.

Veneering is used in about 80 percent of wood furniture, from the least to the most expensive, because of its strength and added versatility.

 

Craftsmanship

Fine furniture is more than just a pretty face. It is a work of art and engineering that is evident right down to its core. Let’s discover the hallmarks of craftsmanship for fine furniture as follows.

  • Mortise and tenon joints
  • Dowel joints
  • Heavy-duty center drawer guides
  • Drawers dovetailed front and back
  • Durable dust panels between drawers
  • Durable drawer bottoms held rigidly in grooves
  • Strong case backs recessed into end
  • Well mounted top and sides
  • Smooth finish without any rough spots
  • Drawer interiors and unexposed parts sanded and sealed
  • Chests and tables remain rigid when you place your hand on the top surface and try to rock it
  • Doors and drawers operate with ease and are flush with the surface when closed

 

So now you know and understand furniture constructions that could help you choose a piece of durable and quality furniture.