Utility Dovetails – Nancy Hiller on furniture in the wild

Over the Wireless

IMG_8006These dovetails (which Jim McConnell joked may have been cut with an axe) are rough in the extreme, but the drawer still moves smoothly after many decades in use.Whenever we stay in holiday cottages I find myself drawn to the old pieces of furniture you usually find in these places. I open the drawes to check for fit and look at the dovetails, peek inside casework to look at joinery and for evidence of whether the maker processed their stock by hand. As I’ve written about before, such pieces can be a useful education in furniture that was made for daily use by ordinary folk, I have found that such exploration can be really useful to illustrate, and ground, the principles that Joshua and the team write about in Mortise & Tenon. The Cotswolds cottage we stayed in earlier this month was stuffed with furniture that had…

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3 responses to “Utility Dovetails – Nancy Hiller on furniture in the wild

  1. I enjoyed this article very much. I wonder sometimes too, if maybe these were learning pieces for the apprentices?

    • Perhaps, though from the fineness of the dovetails on my dresser, combined with my own experience of working in one particularly down-to-earth English shop that valued traditional craftsmanship, I think not–which is to say that sometimes the fine and the (very slightly) crude can co-exist quite beautifully.

  2. Yes! A.K.A craftsman Angst. The angst about immaterial flaws is the creation the craftsmen.

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