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On the chest, you will need to pull open the drawer and look at the joint where the front meets the sides. ” Is so, look closer — if the dovetail is a tight "V" shape it is an early antique. Butt joints are used in primitives and poor reproductions.
In the 1890s, American furniture began to be mass-produced and it was too time- consuming to hand cut the dovetails.
Asian countries like China and Japan would often use such intricate designs that trying to assemble them yourself today, would be like trying to assemble one of these 3D puzzle toys.
Other regions opted for brute force over fiddly designs, and would use a mallet to drive the pieces together or wedges and pins into place.
Both variations while vastly different from one another, still followed the same principles, in that they would join the timbers in such a way that they couldn’t be pulled apart.
Even today, many of these joints are still in use and have remained popular among many cabinetmakers, builders, and carpenters.
Sadly this is a skill that has been lost to time, thanks to our reliance on modern tools and machinery and less on an individual’s skill.
Most quality antique furniture has been made using the mortise and tenon joint, in one variation or another.
Carpenters use the mortise and tenon joint technique to make a male and female connection between two pieces of timber.
Enter joinery – various joining methods that utilize shapes, wedges, and bindings to apply enough force/pressure to hold two or more different pieces of wood together.
Skilled carpenters of old were able to craft beautiful structures and objects all by hand.
These joints are more looking to be clean cut and even, with a smoother finish.