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An Introduction to Jointing

By ercol on 18 July 2019

Bosco finger joints

At ercol, we’re passionate about crafting furniture that’s strong, durable and beautiful. To do so, we need far more than nails and screws alone. Our team uses a wide range of artisanal practices, some of which have been used to craft stunning wooden furniture for centuries and even millennia.

Penn chairs
Penn chairs

Wood jointing is one of the our most important techniques, used to connect pieces of wood on a vast range of ercol furniture. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the time-served practice of wood jointing, the different types of joints and some beautiful examples of how they’re used.

Wood Jointing – the basics

Wood jointing has been used for over 5,000 years, with evidence of dovetail joints on ancient Egyptian furniture. Put simply, it’s a way of connecting two pieces of wood by butting them together, overlapping them or interlocking them. In some cases, the wood joint will even hold without the use of any glue, nails, screws or other fasteners.

Despite pre-dating written history, wood jointing is far from rudimentary – and there are a wide range of joint types to choose from. To create joints that are strong and attractive, craftsmen need to understand the properties and characteristics of different types of wood and how they will work with different joints.

At ercol, we strive to make the most of all the wonderful wood jointing techniques at our disposal. You would be surprised at how much can be achieved with joints alone.  Here are some examples to give you a better idea…

Joints on drawers

We use dovetail joints on the majority of our drawers. These are formed by cutting a series of ‘dovetail’ shapes into two pieces of wood, which can then be interlocked. When slotted together and glued, they create a tight, strong a long-lasting fit without any screws or nails, as seen on the Shalstone 4-drawer chest.

Shalstone dovetail joints

Similarly, our Bosco range uses finger joints to create a sturdy connection between two pieces of timber. Like dovetail joints, they use interlocking fingers which are glued in place. In many cases, this prominent detailing can be left exposed to add to the design and character of the finished piece.

Bosco finger joints
Bosco finger joints
Bosco bureau
Bosco bureau

Tenons on tables and chairs

The mortise and tenon is another effective jointing method. A tenon is essentially a stub cut into the end of a piece of wood, which slots tightly into a hole in another piece, known as the mortise. This kind of joint is one of many methods used on the Windsor Gate Leg Table, allowing a variety of designs to be created. A peg through the tenon makes the joint even more secure without the need for any nails, providing a table that’s both stylish and functional.

Windsor gate leg table

Mortise and tenon joints are often used on chairs too, along with wedged tenon joints. For a wedged tenon, a small wooden wedge is driven into a slit at the tenoned end of the wood. In doing so, the top of the tenon expands to form a more robust joint. This can be seen on the Originals stacking chair, which has angled legs – held in place by wedged tenons – for a smooth vertical stack.

Originals stacking chairs
Originals stacking chairs

Combining beauty with function

Jointing is just one of many techniques we use at ercol to create furniture that combines beauty and function. To see more stunning examples of jointing, take a look at our full range of wooden furniture.

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