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Furniture joints to enhance and showcase the piece

We recently made a storage bench settle, that I designed a nice little joint detail.
This is a through tenon that attaches the armrest to the legs.

Wedge tenon chair joint detail pewter

To give the bench a lift, I decided to utilise a wedge tenon technique. The tenon is cut in a way that has a timber wedge inserted in and this then splays the joint and gives it its strength within the mortice. As a interesting twist, instead of timber, I used a small hammered piece of pewter.

Throughout furniture history joints are used as key joinery holding techniques, but there is no need to hide these away. In fact the opposite can often lift a basic piece onto another level.

Rocking Chair Mallof design modern style

One of my favourite furniture makers Sam Maloof. His furniture is an amazing blend of sculpture and fine craft.sadly he is no longer with us, but his workshop continues to take commissions, but no doubt you will need to wait.

Maloof armrest chair joint detail design

His chairs are legendary for the sculpted seat to leg joint.

Pegged Maloof chair joint Walnut

Another famous joint detail is that often seen on Charles Greene and Henry Greene interiors.

Interior joinery staircase

Although their work mainly was to interior joinery within their stunning design Arts and Crafts houses, the pegged joint crosses well into furniture too.

Pegged tenon joint interior joinery detail

The joint detail uses a simple peg wedge that once cut and inserted locks the joint together.

ebony peg chair joint detail

Greene and Greene took a gat influence from Japanese joint techniques. A master of this technique can be seen in the beautiful organic style of George Nakashima.

Oak table top joint detail

Famed for his ability to use the natural shape of the timber.

Walnut Table Joint

With the large slabs of timber often sourced for his table tops, the natural splits are braced by a contrasting wedge, referred to as a Butterfly key. Although this joint is to prevent the spilt moving further along the timber a contrast wood is a great way of complimenting this joint.

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