Thursday, May 23, 2013
What’s in a Joint?
Furniture comes in all shapes and sizes, with wide variations in quality and appearance. Some pieces are made to withstand outdoor elements, others for portability, and still others for longevity. The choices in furniture are as numerous as the reasons you use it.
How do you shop for new furniture? Do you turn to family members or friends for hand-me-downs? Visit the local thrift shop to turn someone’s castoff into your family’s treasure? Drive to the local furniture megastore to browse the mind-boggling selections available? Or, perhaps you turn to our friend Google and surf the web to find what you’re looking for.
No matter your shopping method, you should educate yourself about the materials used to construct the pieces you are acquiring. If the furniture is made from real wood, whether reclaimed, rough sawn, or full log, pay close attention to the type of joints used to hold it together. Mortise and tenon is the strongest and most durable type of joint available, and is the hallmark of high quality wood furniture. The cornerpost and footboard joint of the Timberwood Little Jack Barnwood Bed pictured above is a good illustration of this type of joint. One piece fashions a protrusion, called the tenon, and it fits into a groove into the other piece, called a mortise. Once the two pieces are connected, they create a sturdy joint that will withstand years of use and abuse.
Education is key when doing any type of shopping for a high-ticket item, and furniture is no exception. Do your homework before you bring new or new-to-you pieces home. If you expect your new addition to last for more than five or maybe ten years, consider all-wood furniture with mortise and tenon joinery.